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3.2 release

September 13, 2018 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Commit: d326e580f3cf399fbe965df11a04357fbec12ae0

This is a minor release which continues on the base of Debian 9. The main change in this release is the introduction of a new web based user interface, which aims to make installation and management of the system easier. This is part of the bigger goal to try to push self-hosting into the mainstream and make it more accessible to a wider range of users with a reduced requirement for technical knowhow.

The new user interface was designed for minimum complexity, to operate on screens of any size and without any need to have javascript enabled. Installation may be carried out using only a smartphone running a stock browser. No secure shell logins are required, but that can still be enabled after initial setup if it is needed.

The website and logo have been changed to give it a more appliance-like look, and in future releases the descriptions of individual apps will be moved into the web user interface itself as context sensitive help. More support for languages other than English is also expected in the next version.

Images and source code are now obtainable via dat archives. This should be more scalable than the previous arrangement, because archives can be independently seeded by any number of peers.

On the hardware front there is now experimental support for a few additional single board computers: Beaglebone Green (the non-wifi version), Banana Pro and Beagleboard X15. Running from a SATA drive, rather than microSD card is now also supported, and this can improve system performance dramatically especially if you connect an SSD.

The backup system has been simplified such that there is no longer any need for separate keydrives or special formatting. This means that you can buy a USB drive in a shop, plug it into the server, select backup from the web UI and supply a password to encrypt with and it should then work. If you leave the USB drive attached then it will automatically do a backup once per day.

For installation instructions see the main site. Existing installs should upgrade automatically.

At the present time self-hosting is something only done by people with a high level of technical knowledge, but it doesn't have to remain that way. Version 3.2 is the first version of Freedombone which potentially could be deployable to a mass market - especially if the onion version was used which avoids the need for domain registrations or port forwarding.