FreedomBox/Tips and Tricks
- 1 Tips and Tricks
- 1.1 Software
- 1.2 Hardware
- 1.3 Unsupported Software
- 1.4 Development and Debugging
- 1.4.1 start from scratch
- 1.4.2 To uninstall diaspora
- 1.4.3 To run in debug mode (doesn't work for files under actions/ folder)
- 1.4.4 To open a file in emacs as root@vagrant
- 1.4.5 Run only one test
- 1.4.6 Vagrant box download for plinth-dev
- 1.4.7 To use the local box instead of downloading from repo
- 1.4.8 Turning off mac address randomization in Network Manager
- 1.4.9 Login into ttrss Postgresql database
Tips and Tricks
- Matrix Synapse works for voice and video calls over LAN. It seems to be P2P.
- Use Syncthing with Orgzly/Emacs for writing lists.
- Use Boostnote with Syncthing for note-taking and lists if Orgzly seems too weird. Boostnote has Github-flavored markdown.
- Use Privoxy for ad-blocking on all the Android devices on the Wi-Fi by setting it as a proxy.
- Use MediaWiki for taking notes as I'm doing right now and as a personal knowledge base.
- Since MediaWiki on FreedomBox doesn't have the Visual Editor extension yet, use Wikipedia's Sandbox to write your content in the Visual Editor, and after you're done, switch back to source code editing mode. You can then cut and paste the content into your MediaWiki instance.
- If you want to use an Indic language in your MediaWiki installation, you will need the extension UniversalLanguageSelector
Manually install the VisualEditor extension
The following instructions assume you're using the Debian package for MediaWiki 1.30
- Install the Debian packages
- Follow the setup instructions given for Debian in the Parsoid Setup page.
- Make this change for MediaWiki 1.30 (and remove it after upgrade to 1.31)
- The url in
- Restart parsoid service by running
systemctl restart parsoid
- Download and install VIsualEditor extension for MediaWiki 1.30
- Add the following lines in your
# VisualEditor config wfLoadExtension( 'VisualEditor' ); $wgDefaultUserOptions['visualeditor-enable'] = 1; $wgVirtualRestConfig['modules']['parsoid'] = array( // URL to the Parsoid instance - use port 8142 if you use the Debian package - the parameter 'URL' was first used but is now deprecated (string) 'url' => 'http://localhost:8142', // Parsoid "domain" (string, optional) - MediaWiki >= 1.26 'domain' => 'localhost', // Parsoid "prefix" (string, optional) - deprecated since MediaWiki 1.26, use 'domain' 'prefix' => 'localhost', // Forward cookies in the case of private wikis (string or false, optional) 'forwardCookies' => false, // request timeout in seconds (integer or null, optional) 'timeout' => null, // Parsoid HTTP proxy (string or null, optional) 'HTTPProxy' => null, // whether to parse URL as if they were meant for RESTBase (boolean or null, optional) 'restbaseCompat' => null, );
Tiny Tiny RSS
- Tiny Tiny RSS web UI is unpalatable for people used to things like Medium, but the official Android app is really good.
- Follow medium blogs using Tiny Tiny RSS without having to create an account.
- Follow activity feed from GitLab sites (e.g. Debian Salsa) using TT-RSS.
- Backup Tiny Tiny RSS feeds list (the opml file) to a Syncthing folder.
- Add feed subscriptions to Tiny Tiny RSS from Firefox.
Other use cases
- Public file sharing from FreedomBox
FreedomBox comes with the Apache userdir module enabled by default. You can create a directory for your user called public_html in your user's home directory and place your files there. See my publicly shared files at https://njoseph.me/~joseph/
- Personal website for each user
Every user on a FreedomBox gets the option to host a website by default.
1. SSH into your FreedomBox 2. Create a directory called ~/public_html 3. Place the files of your website in the above directory
Your website will be available on the path ~username on your FreedomBox, e.g. https://familyname.host/~username
- Make sure the device is getting adequate power supply (e.g. 2 Amp for a Raspberry Pi) or the performance will suffer.
- Your microSD card's speed impacts performance of your FreedomBox more than anything else. Make sure to buy something fast enough (UHS 1 or more).
- microSD cards are unreliable in general. Make sure to keep a dd backup of the entire SD card to another computer frequently.
Raspberry Pi 3 Wi-Fi Access Point
Raspberry Pi 3 comes with a built-in Broadcom Wi-Fi module. The firmware for this is non-free and must be installed manually on FreedomBox.
Run the commands in the following steps on the FreedomBox using ssh.
- A file must be added to the firmware directory first.
cd /lib/firmware/brcm/ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/RPi-Distro/firmware-nonfree/54bab3d6a6d43239c71d26464e6e10e5067ffea7/brcm80211/brcm/brcmfmac43430-sdio.txt
- Make sure that non-free is enabled in
- Install the package
rmmod brcmfmac && modprobe brcmfmac
After this, if you run the 'ip addr' command, you should see a new 'wlan0' interface come up.
Go to Plinth -> Networks -> Add WiFi, select device, give any name, set ssid, set infrastructure mode, ipv4 shared mode and set access point password. Then activate connection to get Wi-Fi access point from FreedomBox.
NextCloud is a Google Drive replacement that
- can update itself
- can play a lot of multimedia formats and display epub files
- has a simple project-tracking tool similar to Trello
- can be a personal content server with streaming capabilities
- can be used as a CalDAV/WebDAV server (contacts and calendar sync)
- can store your bookmarks
- has cool mobile apps
Development and Debugging
start from scratch
vagrant destroy -f; vagrant box remove freedombox/plinth-dev; vagrant up; vagrant provision
To uninstall diaspora
apt remove --purge diaspora diaspora-common && echo "delete from plinth_module where name='diaspora';" | sqlite3 /var/lib/plinth/plinth.sqlite3
To run in debug mode (doesn't work for files under actions/ folder)
rm /etc/plinth/plinth.config cd /vagrant systemctl stop plinth ./run --debug
To open a file in emacs as root@vagrant
mkdir /root/.ssh cp /home/vagrant/.ssh/authorized_keys /root/.ssh
Run only one test
./setup.py test -s plinth.modules.sso.tests.test_auth_pubtkt_util.TestAuthPubTKTUtil.test_create_key_pair
Vagrant box download for plinth-dev
wget -O ~/FreedomBox/plinth-dev.box https://app.vagrantup.com/freedombox/boxes/plinth-dev/versions/<version>/providers/virtualbox.box
To use the local box instead of downloading from repo
vagrant box add --name freedombox/plinth-dev <box name>
Turning off mac address randomization in Network Manager
Add this line to all files in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections under wifi or ethernet or whatever.
Login into ttrss Postgresql database
sudo -n -u postgres /bin/bash postgres psql -d ttrss -U ttrss -h localhost