A look back at FreedomBox project in 2022

This post is very late, but better late than never! I want to take a look back at the work that was done on FreedomBox during 2022.

Several apps were added to FreedomBox in 2022. The email server app (that was developed by a Google Summer of Code student back in 2021) was finally made available to the general audience of FreedomBox users. You will find it under the name “Postfix/Dovecot”, which are the main services configured by this app.

Another app that was added is Janus, which has the description “video room”. It is called “video room” instead of “video conference” because the room itself is persistent. People can join the room or leave, but there isn’t a concept of “calling” or “ending the call”. Actually, Janus is a lightweight WebRTC server that can be used as a backend for many different types of applications. But as implemented currently, there is just the simple video room app. In the future, more advanced apps such as Jangouts may be packaged in Debian and made available to FreedomBox.

RSS-Bridge is an app that generates RSS feeds for websites that don’t provide their own (for example, YouTube). It can be used together with any RSS news feed reader application, such as TT-RSS which is also available in FreedomBox.

There is now a “Privacy” page in the System menu, which allows enabling or disabling the Debian “popularity-contest” tool. If enabled, it reports the Debian packages that are installed on the system. The results can be seen at, which currently shows over 400 FreedomBoxes are reporting data.

A major feature added to FreedomBox in 2022 is the ability to uninstall apps. This feature is still considered experimental (it won’t work for every app), but many issues have been fixed already. There is an option to take a backup of the app’s data before uninstalling. There is also now an “operations queue” in case the user starts multiple install or uninstall operations concurrently.

XEP-0363 (HTTP File Upload) has been enabled for Ejabberd Chat Server. This allows files to be transferred between XMPP clients that support this feature.

There were a number of security improvements to FreedomBox, such as adding fail2ban jails for Dovecot, Matrix Synapse, and WordPress. Firewall rules were added to ensure that authentication and authorization for services proxied through Apache web server cannot be bypassed by programs running locally on the system. Also, we are no longer using libpam-tmpdir to provide temporary folder isolation, because it causes issues for several packages. Instead we use systemd’s sandboxing features, which provide even better isolation for services.

Some things were removed in 2022. The ez-ipupdate package is no longer used for Dynamic DNS, since it is replaced by a Python implementation of GnuDIP. An option to restrict who can log in to the system was removed, due to various issues that arose from it. Instead there is an option to restrict who can login through SSH. The DNSSEC diagnostic test was removed, because it caused confusion for many users (although use of DNSSEC is still recommended).

Finally, some statistics. There were 31 releases in 2022 (including
point releases). There were 68 unique contributors to the git
repository; this includes code contributions and translations (but not
contributions to the manual pages). In total, there were 980 commits to the git repository.