Freedombone Blog / End of the year

It's an understatement to say that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. Usually I am quite level-headed, but I admit that there were times in the year when I was beginning to lose my cool and go into panic mode. I seem to have survived to the end of the year though, and some amount of gardening has helped to relieve anxiety.

At the end of 2020 the situation in the UK remains extremely bleak. Hospitals are at breaking point and running out of resources. Back in March I expected that the government wouldn't give a damn about the lives of most ordinary people, and that indeed has turned out to be true. Their policy has remained one of "herd immunity" without a vaccine, and attempting to use children and students as an immunity buffer zone.

I've spent most of the second half of the year on Epicyon, getting it into a condition where it's usable and has a few useful features above and beyond those of other fediverse servers, such as the Indymedia-style RSS feed integration, hashtag categories, easy to install themes, being free from javascript and using only debian packages as dependencies. The less obvious re-organization of the code and more rigorous static analysis should also mean that it is easier to maintain over the long term.

This year there have been new Freedombone images for Raspberry Pi 4 and Odroid C4, and work will soon begin on the next release based on Debian 11 (Bullseye).

The prospects for self-hosting in the early 2020s are mixed. I'm increasingly noticing that some people don't have control over their internet routers - i.e. where the router is exclusively managed by the ISP - and this can make self-hosting on the clearnet impossible. So a prediction is that development may go more in the direction of systems based upon onion addresses, or purely p2p (like the Freedombone mesh). I think abandoning the clearnet should only be a last resort though, if there is no other option to run on your own hardware in your own home.

Unless I'm interrupted by pandemic or political chaos I expect the first half of 2021 to be spent working on the next Freedombone release. I might change strategy and just use Armbian and vanilla Debian images as a base. That would remove a lot of the complexity of image building and the dependencies of vmdebootstrap.