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Mobile advice
Using Email
Syncing to the Cloud


After the system has installed a README file will be generated which contains passwords and some brief advice on using the installed systems. You can read this with the following commands:

ssh username@domainname -p 2222
emacs ~/README

You should transfer any passwords to a password manager such as KeepassX and then delete them from the README file. To save the file after removing passwords use CTRL-x CTRL-s.

To exit you can either just close the terminal or use CTRL-x CTRL-c followed by the exit command.

Improving ssh security

To improve ssh security you can generate an ssh key pair on your system and then upload the public key to the Freedombone.

On your local machine:


For extra security you may also want to add a passphrase to the ssh private key. You can show the generated public key with:

cat ~/.ssh/

Log into your system and open the control panel.

ssh username@domain -p 2222

Select Administrator controls then Manage Users then Change user ssh public key. Copy and paste the public key here, then exit.

It's a good idea to also copy the contents of ~/.ssh/id_rsa and ~/.ssh/ to you password manager, together with the private key password if you created one.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using ssh keys for logins. The advantage is that this is much more secure than a memorised password, but the disadvantage is that you need to carry your ssh keys around and be able to install them on any computer of mobile device that you use. In high security or hostile infosec environments it may not be possible to carry or use USB thumb drives containing your keys and so memorised passwords may be the only available choice.

If you wish to only use ssh keys then log in to the Freedombone, become the root user and open the control panel with the 'control' command. Select Security Settings then keep hitting enter until you reach the question about allowing password logins. Select "no" for that, then apply the settings. Any subsequent attempts to log in via a password will then be denied.

Administrating the system via an onion address (Tor)

You can also access your system via the Tor system using an onion address. To find out what the onion address for ssh access is you can do the following:

ssh username@freedombone.local -p 2222

Select Administrator controls then select "About this system" and look for the onion address for ssh. You can then close the terminal and open another, then do the following on your local system:


This will set up your ssh environment to be able to handle onion addresses. In addition if you use monkeysphere then you can do:

freedombone-client --ms yes

Then you can test ssh with:

ssh username@address.onion -p 2222

Subsequently even if dynamic DNS isn't working you may still be able to administer your system. Using the onion address also gives you some degree of protection against corporate or government metadata analysis, since it becomes more difficult to passively detect which systems are communicating.

Play Music

With the DLNA service

An easy way to play music on any mobile device in your home is to use the DLNA service. Copy your music into a directory called "Music" on a USB thumb drive and then insert it into from socket on the Beaglebone.

ssh into the system with:

ssh -p 2222

Then mount the USB drive with:


The system will scan the Music directory, which could take a while if there are thousands of files, but you don't need to do anything further with the Beaglebone other than perhaps to log out by typing exit a couple of times.

If you have an Android device then go to F-Droid (if you don't already have it installed then it can be downloaded here) and search for ControlDLNA. On running the app you should see a red Debian icon which you can press on, then you may need to select "local". After a few seconds the list of albums or tracks should then appear and you can browse and play them.

The DLNA service will only work within your local home network, and isn't remotely accessible from other locations via the internet. That can be both a good and a bad thing. Another consideration is that there are no access controls on DLNA services, so any music or videos on the USB drive will be playable by anyone within your home network.

Microblogging (GNU Social)

Initial setup

To log into your GNU Social site first obtain your username and password from the "microblogging" section of the readme file.

ssh username@domainname -p 2222

Navigate to your site and log in. You may then want to select Admin and check or change the details. You may also wish to change the license for the site to be either Creative Commons or private.

GNU Social has a clutter-free mobile user interface which can be accessed via a Tor compatible browser (make sure to add a NoScript exception). Unlike similar proprietary sites there are no bribed posts.


Direct Messages (DMs) and privacy

One important point about GNU Social is that although direct messages (DMs) are treated as being private their security is quite poor. If you want real communications privacy then use other systems such as XMPP+OMEMO/OTR, Tox or email with GPG. GNU Social is primarily about fully public communications.

Using with Emacs

If you are an Emacs user it's also possible to set up GNU Social mode as follows:

mkdir ~/elisp
git clone git:// ~/elisp/gnu-social-mode
sed -i 's|"http"|"https"|g' ~/elisp/gnu-social-mode/gnu-social-mode.el
sed -i 's|http:|https:|g' ~/elisp/gnu-social-mode/gnu-social-mode.el
sed -i 's|http?|https?|g' ~/elisp/gnu-social-mode/gnu-social-mode.el
echo "(add-to-list 'load-path \"~/elisp/gnu-social-mode\")" >> ~/.emacs
echo "(require 'gnu-social-mode)" >> ~/.emacs
echo "(setq gnu-social-server-textlimit 2000" >> ~/.emacs
echo "      gnu-social-server \"yourgnusocialdomain\"" >> ~/.emacs
echo "    gnu-social-username \"yourusername\"" >> ~/.emacs
echo "    gnu-social-password \"gnusocialpassword\")" >> ~/.emacs

And as a quick reference the main keys are:

Key Function
i Show icons
CTRL-c CTRL-s Post status update
r Repeat
F Favourite
R Reply to user
CTRL-c CTRL-h Highlight
CTRL-c CTRL-r Show replies
CTRL-c CTRL-f Friends timeline

Sharing things

If you have the GNU Social microblogging system installed then it's also possible to share things or services between groups or with particular users. This can be useful for sharing items within a family, club or in a local sharing economy. Sharing things freely, without money, reveals the social basis at the root of all economics which money normally conceals or obscures.

Click on "share" or "my catalog" and this will switch to a screen which allows you to enter details for things to be shared or wanted.


The "catalog" button then allows you to search for shared things within the federated network.


Social Network


Both Hubzilla and GNU Social try to obtain certificates automatically at the time of installation via Let's Encrypt. This will likely mean that in order for this to work you'll need to have obtained at least one "official" domain via a domain selling service, since Let's Encrypt mostly doesn't seem to work with free subdomains from sites such as freeDNS.

Initial install

On first visiting your Hubzilla site you'll see the login screen. The first thing you need to do is register a new user. The first user on the system then becomes its administrator.


Chat Services


IRC is useful for multi-user chat. The classic use case is for software development where many engineers might need to coordinate their activities, but it's also useful for meetings, parties and general socialising.


The easiest way to use irssi is to connect to your system, like this:

ssh myusername@mydomain -p 2222

Then select IRC from the menu. However, other than via this method using ssh, irssi isn't a very good IRC client because it doesn't have the capability to onion route messages, and therefore leaks metadata. For the best security when using your IRC server, use HexChat, Emacs ERC or another client which supports socks5 proxying.


HexChat (formerly XChat) is compatible with proxying via Tor and so provides the best security when connecting to your IRC server. It will allow you to connect to your IRC server's onion address.

First install HexChat and set up its configuration file. This can be done on your local machine with:

freedombone-client --setup hexchat

Now look up the onion address for your IRC server

ssh username@mydomainname -p 2222

Select Administrator options, then About this system and make a note of the onion address for IRC. Also select the IRC Menu and take a note of the login password.

Run HexChat.

Within the network list click, Add and enter your domain name then click Edit.

Select the entry within the servers box, then enter ircaddress.onion/6697 or mydomainname/6697 and press Enter.

Uncheck use global user information.

Enter first and second nicknames and check connect to this network on startup.

If you are using the ordinary domain name (clearnet/ICANN) then make sure that Use SSL is checked.


If you are using the onion address then use SSL should be unchecked and the transport encryption will be handled via the onion address itself.


Within the Password field enter the password which can be found from the IRC menu of the control panel.

Select the Autojoin channels tab, click Add and enter #freedombone as the channel name.

Click close and then connect.


If you are an Emacs user then you can also connect to your IRC server via Emacs.

Ensure that tor is installed onto your local system:

sudo apt-get install tor

Add the following to your Emacs configuration file:

(setq socks-noproxy '("localhost"))
(require 'socks)
(require 'tls)
(setq socks-server (list "Tor socks" "localhost" 9050 5))
(setq erc-server-connect-function 'socks-open-network-stream)
(setq erc-autojoin-channels-alist
    '(("myircaddress.onion" "#freedombone")))
(erc :server "myircaddress.onion" :port 6697 :nick "yourusername" :password "your IRC password")

Changing or removing the IRC password

By default the IRC server is set up to require a password for users to log in. The password is the same for all users. If you want to change or remove the password:

ssh myusername@mydomain -p 2222

Select Administrator controls then IRC Menu and then change the password. An empty password will allow anyone to log in, so you can have a globally accessible IRC system if you wish, although you might want to carefully consider whether that's wise.


About XMPP

A well written article on the state of XMPP and how it compares to other chat protocols can be found here.

Using with Gajim

In mid 2016 Gajim became the first desktop XMPP client to support the OMEMO end-to-end security standard, which is superior to the more traditional OTR since it also includes multi-user chat and the ratcheting mechanism pioneered by Open Whisper Systems. To install it:

su -c 'echo "deb unstable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gajim.list'
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install gajim-dev-keyring
sudo apt-get -y install git tor python-dev python-pip gajim-nightly
mkdir ~/.local/share/gajim/plugins -p
cd ~/.local/share/gajim/plugins
git clone
sudo pip install protobuf==2.6.1, python-axolotl==0.1.35

Open Gajim and enter your XMPP address and password.

Go to Edit/Preferences and select the Advanced tab. Under Global Proxy select Tor and the Close button. Then select Edit/Plugins and make sure that OMEMO is active (ticked), then select the Close button.

When you start a conversation make sure that the OMEMO box is ticked. You can also click on the keys button and trust various fingerprints. Both sides will need to do that before an encrypted chat can start.

If you wish to make backups of the OMEMO keys then they can be found within:


If you wish to use OpenPGP to encrypt your messages then go to Edit/Accounts, select your account and then the Personal Information tab. You can then choose your GPG key. When initiating a chat you can select the Advanced button and then select Toggle OpenPGP Encryption. OpenPGP is not as secure as OMEMO, but does allow you to use XMPP in a similar style to email in that the recipient of the message does not necessarily need to be online at the same time that you send it.

Using with Profanity

The Profanity shell based user interface and is perhaps the simplest way to use XMPP from a laptop. It's also a good way to ensure that your OTR keys are the same even when logging in from different laptops or devices, and it also means that if those devices later become compomised then there are no locally stored OTR keys to be found.

ssh username@domain -p 2222

Then select XMPP. Generate an OTR key with:

/otr gen

Then to start a conversation using OTR:

/otr start otherusername@otheruserdomain

or if you're already in an insecure chat with someone just use:

/otr start

Set a security question and answer:

/otr question "What is the name of your best friends rabbit?" fiffi

On the other side the user can enter:

/otr answer fiffi

For the most paranoid you can also obtain your fingerprint:

/otr myfp

and quote that. If they quote theirs back you can check it with:

/otr theirfp

If the fingerprints match then you can be pretty confident that unless you have been socially engineered via the question and answer you probably are talking to who you think you are, and that it will be difficult for mass surveillance systems to know the content of the conversation. For more details see this guide

When accessed via the user control panel the client is automatically routed through Tor and so if you are also using OTR then this provides protection for both message content and metadata.

Using with Jitsi

Jitsi is the recommended communications client for desktop or laptop systems, since it includes the off the record (OTR) feature which provides some additional security beyond the usual SSL certificates.

Jitsi can be downloaded from

On your desktop/laptop open Jitsi and select Options from the Tools menu.

Click Add to add a new user, then enter the Jabber ID which you previously specified with prosodyctl when setting up the XMPP server. Close and then you should notice that your status is "Online" (or if not then you should be able to set it to online).

From the File menu you can add contacts, then select the chat icon to begin a chat. Click on the lock icon on the right hand side and this will initiate an authentication procedure in which you can specify a question and answer to verify the identity of the person you're communicating with. Once authentication is complete then you'll be chating using OTR, which provides an additional layer of security.

When opening Jitsi initially you will get a certificate warning for your domain name (assuming that you're using a self-signed certificate). If this happens then select View Certificate and enable the checkbox to trust the certificate, then select Continue Anyway. Once you've done this then the certificate warning will not appear again unless you reinstall Jitsi or use a different computer.

You can also see this video as an example of using OTR.

Using with Ubuntu

The default XMPP client in Ubuntu is Empathy. Using Empathy isn't as secure as using Jitsi, since it doesn't include the off the record feature, but since it's the default it's what many users will have easy access to.

Open System Settings and select Online Accounts, Add account and then Jabber.

Enter your username (username@domainname) and password.

Click on Advanced and make sure that Encryption required and Ignore SSL certificate errors are checked. Ignoring the certificate errors will allow you to use the self-signed certificate created earlier. Then click Done and set your Jabber account and Empathy to On.

Using Tor Messenger

Tor Messenger is a messaging client which supports XMPP, and its onion routing enables you to protect the metadata of chat interactions to some extent by making it difficult for an adversary to know which server is talking to which. You can download Tor Messenger from and the setup is pretty simple.

Using with Android/Conversations

Install F-Droid

Search for and install Orbot and Conversations.

Add an account and enter your Jabber/XMPP ID and password.

From the menu select Settings then Expert Settings. Select Connect via Tor and depending on your situation you might also want to select Don't save encrypted messages. Also within expert settings select Keep in foreground. This will enable you to still receive notifications when your device is in standby mode with the screen turned off.

From the menu select Manage accounts and add a new account.

Jabber ID: myusername@mydomain
Password:  your XMPP password
Hostname:  mydomain
Port:      5222

Then select Next. When chatting you can use the lock icon to encrypt your conversation. OMEMO is the recommended type of encryption. It's also going through Tor, so passive surveillance of the metadata should not be easy for an adversary.


Tox is an encrypted peer-to-peer messaging system and so should work without Freedombone. It uses a system of nodes which act as a sort of directory service allowing users to find and connect to each other. The Tox node ID on the Freedombone can be found within the README within your home directory. If you have other users connect to your node then you will be able to continue chatting even when no other nodes are available.

Using the Toxic client

Log into your system with:

ssh myusername@mydomain -p 2222

Then from the menu select Tox Chat. Tox is encrypted by default and also routed through Tor, so it should be reasonably secure both in terms of message content and metadata.


VoIP (Voice and text chat)

Text chat

In addition to voice it is also possible to do text chat via mumble. The security of this is pretty good provided that you do it via Plumble and Orbot on mobile, but compared to other options such as XMPP/Conversations or Tox the security is not as good, since the mumble server currently doesn't support forward secrecy.

Using with Ubuntu

Within the software center search for "mumble" and install the client then run it. Skip through the audio setup wizard.

Click on "add new" to add a new server and enter the default domain name for the Freedombone, your username (which can be anything) and the VoIP server password which can be found in the README file on the Freedombone. Accept the self-signed SSL certificate. You are now ready to chat.

Using with Android

Install F-Droid

If you don't have Orbot installed then enable The Guardian Project repository from the drop down menu and install it.

Search for and install Plumble.

Press the plus button to add a Mumble server.

Enter a label (which can be any name you choose for the server), the default domain name of the Freedombone, your username (which can also be anything) and the VoIP server password which can be found in the README file on the Freedombone.

Open the settings. Select General, then Connect via Tor. This will provide better protection, making it more difficult for adversaries to know who is talking to who.

Selecting the server by pressing on it then connects you to the server so that you can chat with other connected users.

Note: if you don't know the default domain name and you did a full installation then it will be the same as the wiki domain name.

SIP phones

Freedombone also supports SIP phones The username and domain is the same as for your email address, and the SIP password and extension number will appear within the README file in your home directory. Various SIP client options are available, such as CSipSimple on Android and Jitsi on desktop or laptop machines. Ideally use clients which support ZRTP, which will provide the best level of security.

About ZRTP

ZRTP appears to be the current best standard to end-to-end encrypted voice calls, combining good security with simplicity of use. When the initial cryptographic negotiation between phones is done at the start of a call a short authentication string (SAS) is calculated and displayed at both ends. To check that there isn't anyone intercepting the call and acting as a man in the middle - as stingray type devices try to do - the short authentication string can be read out and verbally confirmed between the callers. If it's the same then you can be pretty confident that the call is secure.

Using with CSIPSimple

Add an account. Under General Wizards choose Expert and enter the following details:

Account name Your username
Account ID sip:username@yourdomain
Registration URI sip:yourdefaultdomain
Realm *
Username Your username
Data (Password) Your SIP password
ZRTP Mode Create ZRTP

If everything is working the account should appear in green with a status of Registered.

Using with Ring

From the menu select Manage accounts.

Add an account with the following details:

Alias Your full name or nickname
Protocol SIP
Hostname yourdefaultdomain
Username Your username
Password Your SIP password

Select the Security tab. Under SRTP Key Exchange select ZRTP. Unde SRTP Preferences select Not supported warning and Display SAS Once.

RSS Reader

The way that RSS reading is set up on Freedombone gives you strong reading privacy. Not only is there onion routing between you and the server but also between the server and the source of the RSS feed. The only down side is that many RSS feeds are still http only, and so could be vulnerable to injection attacks, but it's expected that more of this will go to https in the foreseeable future due to a combination of growing recognition of security issues and systems like Let's Encrypt which make obtaining certificates much easier.


Finding the onion address

See the control panel for the RSS reader onion address.

ssh username@domainname -p 2222

Select Administrator controls then select the About screen.

The RSS reader is accessible only via an onion address. This provides a reasonable degree of reading privacy, making it difficult for passive adversaries such as governments, corporations or criminals to create lists of sites which you are subscribed to.

To set up the system open http://rss_reader_onion_address and log in with username admin and the password obtained either at the beginning of the install or from the README file in your home directory. You can then select the Actions menu and begin adding your feeds.

On mobile

To access the RSS reader from a mobile device you can install a Tor compatible browser such as OrFox. It will try to automatically change to the mobile version of the user interface. Remember to add the site to the NoScript whitelist, and you may also need to turn HTTPS Everywhere off.

A note for the paranoid is that on mobile devices you get redirected to a different onion address which is specially set up for the mobile interface, so don't be alarmed that it looks like your connection is being hijacked.

With Emacs

If you are an Emacs user then you can also read your RSS feeds via the Avandu mode.

Add the following to your configuration, changing the address and password as appropriate.

(setq avandu-tt-rss-api-url "http://rss_reader_onion_address/api/"
      avandu-user "admin"
      avandu-password "mypassword")

If you don't already have Emacs set up to route through Tor then also add the following:

(setq socks-noproxy '("localhost"))
(require 'socks)
(require 'tls)
(setq socks-server (list "Tor socks" "localhost" 9050 5))

And ensure that the Tor daemon is installed:

sudo apt-get install tor

Git Projects

Github is ok, but it's proprietary and funded by venture capital. If you been around on the internet for long enough then you know how this story eventually works itself out - i.e. badly for the users. It's really only a question of time. If you're a software developer or do things which involve the Git version control system then it's a good idea to become accustomed to hosting your own repositories, before the inevitable Github shitstorm happens.

A Git hosting system called Gogs can optionally be installed. This is very similar to Github in appearance and use. It's lightweight and so well suited for use on low power ARM servers.

Navigate to your git site and click the Register button. The first user registered on the system becomes the administrator. Once you've done that then it's a good idea to disable further registrations. Currently that's a little complicated, but you can do it as follows:

sudo username@domainname -p 2222

Select Exit to the comand line.

sudo su
sed -i "s|DISABLE_REGISTRATION =.*|DISABLE_REGISTRATION = true|g" /home/gogs/custom/conf/app.ini
sed -i "s|SHOW_REGISTRATION_BUTTON =.*|SHOW_REGISTRATION_BUTTON = false|g" /home/gogs/custom/conf/app.ini
systemctl restart gogs
exit; exit

This will stop any spam accounts being created by random strangers or bots. You might want to mirror existing repos, and at any time a mirror can be converted into the main repo.

Adding or removing users

Log into the system with:

ssh username@domainname -p 2222

Select Administrator controls then User Management. Depending upon the type of installation after selecting administrator controls you might need to enter:

sudo su


Blocking Ads

Everyone except for advertisers hates adverts. Not only are they annoying, but they can consume a lot of bandwidth, be a privacy problem in terms of allowing companies to track your browsing habits and also any badly written scripts they contain may introduce exploitable security holes. Also if you're poor then adverts often make you want things that you can't have.

You can block ads for any devices connected to your local network by installing the pihole app from Add/Remove Apps on the administrator control panel. This may help to improve overall performance of your devices by not wasting time downloading unwanted images or scripts.

Also don't expect perfection. Though many ads may be blocked by this system some will still get through. It's a constant cat and mouse game between advertisers and blockers.

Set a static IP address

Ensure that your system has a static local IP address (typically 192.168..) using the option on the control panel. You will also need to know the IP address of your internet router, which is usually or

When that's done select About this system from the control panel and see the IPv4 address. You can use this as a DNS address in two ways:

On each client system within your local network

sudo chattr -i /etc/resolv.conf
sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Comment out any existing entries with a # character and add:

nameserver [IPv4 address from the About screen]

Normally resolv.conf will be overwritten every time your reboot, but you can prevent this with:

sudo chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf

On your internet router

If you can access the settings on your local internet router then this is the simplest way to provide ad blocking for all devices which connect to it. Unfortunately some router models don't let you edit the DNS settings and if that's the case you might want to consider getting a different router.

Edit the DNS settings and add the IPv4 address which you got from the control panel About screen. Exactly how you do this will just depend upon your particular router model. You may also need to set the same address twice, because two addresses are conventional.


On a router running LibreCMC from the Network menu select DHCP and DNS. Enter the static IP address of your Freedombone system within DNS Forwardings, then at the bottom of the page click on Save & Apply. Any devices which connect to your router will now have ad blocking.

Configuring block lists

You can configure the block lists which the system uses by going to the administrator control panel, selecting App Settings then choosing pihole. You can also add any extra domain names to the whitelist if they're being wrongly blocked or to the blacklist if they're not blocked by the current lists.

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