Publishing a Report of the 2019 FreedomBox Summit

Posted 2019-11-22

The FreedomBox Foundation is pleased to announce that we have published a report of our second annual FreedomBox Summit, which was held on Friday, November 15th, 2019 in New York City. The members of the FreedomBox core team — Sunil Mohan Adapa (Lead Developer), Joseph Nuthalapati (DevOps Engineer), and James Valleroy (Release Manager) — joined the Foundation’s staff for a full day of discussions about the project's future. Our report provides a summary of the Summit’s proceedings. You can download the full report here.

Eben Moglen, President of the FreedomBox Foundation, opened the 2019 Summit by commenting on the many meanings of the term “summit.” He observed one sense in which “summit” can be used to describe our gathering: the summit of a mountain is the best position from which to see the long view. Our objective, he said, was to make short-term decisions with a long view. In the ICT industry, companies are trying to oligopolize web services. Meanwhile, networks of activists and even the European Commission are trying to restore some equality to the internet by federating web services. FreedomBox, at this moment in history, has an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

At the 2018 Summit, we agreed that the project had so much breadth that it was time to improve what we already had. In the year since, we have kept our word and improved many of our features, like updating our user interface’s “Apps” page, improving the Backups module, and more. In addition, we also successfully patched several issues in time for the Debian Buster freeze and Buster’s subsequent release in July 2019, which has made the FreedomBox Buster release our most reliable release yet. The Buster release notably includes support for stable-backports, which enables the FreedomBox team to push feature updates to the stable branch on a biweekly basis. In April 2019, we launched a product with Olimex, fulfilling a long-held goal for the FreedomBox project. And in the summer after the product launch, the FreedomBox core team discussed, drafted, and ratified a code of conduct and a set of community governance principles for the first time since our project’s founding. 2019 was FreedomBox’s best year yet.

Now that the FreedomBox project has entered the product phase of its existence, expectations are higher. It is, therefore, more important than ever that our core team members operate as a cohesive unit. One of the chief goals of the inaugural Summit in 2018 was to unify the core team under a shared vision. At the 2019 Summit, discussions were noticeably more focused and linear than the previous year’s, which we took as a sign that we had achieved our goal of unifying the team. Unity is a precondition of collective action. And the Summit is our annual opportunity to create unity. This report represents our best efforts.


Thanks to the three members of the core team for making the time to participate in the 2019 FreedomBox Summit: Sunil Mohan Adapa, Joseph Nuthalapati, and James Valleroy. Additional thanks to the members of the FreedomBox community who contributed items to our Summit's agenda and to those who participated in our virtual Q&A session during the Summit.