Federation of Freedom is live

Leah Rowe

25 December 2022

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Article published by: Leah Rowe

Date of publication: 25 December 2022

I’ve been mulling over the concept behind Fedfree for just over a year, contemplating exactly what I want the site to be. This month, of December 2022, I decided to just launch it, with a simple set of goals to start off with. As of today, I’m still fuzzy about it, which is why I haven’t launched it until today. Some of you who talk to me on IRC will have seen me talk about Fedfree before, with the ideas I have… I’ve decided to just roll with it, and see where the road takes me.

Free Federation, Free Society

Fedfree is a website aimed at teaching people how to run their own servers, of various kinds, on libre operating systems e.g. Linux and BSD. It aims to do this, using libre software exclusively, teaching people about the importance of libre software and hardware as it pertains to freedom; the right to use, study, adapt, share. The right to read. Universal access to knowledge… education. Education is the goal.

At the time of launch, one guide existed on Fedfree, the one that teaches you how to create an L2TP tunnel router for static IPv4 and IPv6 subnets on your home or business internet connection. More guides will be written, today and on other days in the future, teaching you how to set up all kinds of servers. The next priority is also to make a much simpler tunnel tutorial, simply showing how to forward ports in autossh.

The goal is to spread libre software ideology, while providing a practical means for people to know how to conduct themselves, such as:

The mentality behind Fedfree is that all the organisations out there, like SFC, GNU, EFF, FSF… April… all these organisations are good, but they can only do so much. We as libre software activists must organise, but how? First, we need infrastructure, our own infrastructure that we control, and we need a charter that defines our movement. By definition, the libre movement is loose and free, where people can do whatever they like, but most people today use centralised hosting services like Github, which means we have huge single points of failure.

Seriously. Microsoft owns GitHub, yet millions of projects out there all use it. It’s nuts.

Most of the internet’s problems exist, precisely because of such centralised infrastructure. When one person can cancel your service and take your project offline, you don’t have freedom; you have a loaded gun pointed at your head.

So many libre software projects exist today, but they’re all using centralised gatekeeper services like GitHub or GitLab.com. Information is available online, but dotted sporadically across the internet, for how to run your own servers, but nothing really concise exists. What we lack on the internet is a good one-stop shop for any sort of information you need. Fedfree aims to fill that gap.

This website is hosted in Git, and (at least the version released today) all of it is under Creative Commons Zero (including this news post).

People are encouraged to submit their own tutorials and other resources to the website, to help it grow. More information about on the git page - the Fedfree website is written in Markdown, compiled by a static site generator that I wrote myself.

Fedfree’s mission is to bring back the real internet to normal people, the one where you can have your own unique voice on the internet, without plugging into the hive mind that is websites like twitter or youtube.

The real internet exists. Fedfree’s mission is to teach you how to use it. Every part of it. To most people, it is hidden. Your ISP might put you behind a CGNAT for example, or outright ban you from opening ports; one of Fedfree’s goals is to teach you how to set up various kinds of tunnel connections e.g. SSH port forwarding, PPP over L2TP, Wireguard/OpenVPN, etc.

The idea is this:

Fedfree will also provide advice in general about liberty-minded services like Mastodon, as opposed to Twitter or, say, peertube instead of Youtube; in some cases, you may not want to host servers, but you do want to use something that respects your privacy and civil liberties, where you won’t be randomly censored because a south african billionaire nazi doesn’t like what you tweet.

Another aim of Fedfree is to link to resources about programming, and other topics pertaining to computer science, also electronics. Anything tech-related, with the aim of putting you in control, not some company that wants to control you.

Information, education. Education, education, education… that is what Fedfree is all about.

Fedfree’s aims are vast, and this is a very young project just starting out, so it’s starting out small, but the scope will grow, over time.

This news page is kept brief, because otherwise it would be overly repetitive, since the rest of the website will go into detail about each topic it covers, or will cover.

What more is there to say? Feel free to navigate the rest of this website. I’m starting out small, but this website will expand over time.

Fedfree is chaos on the internet, in the form of written tutorials, launched on Christmas Day as a gift to the world. Happy holidays!

This website is hosted on a ThinkPad R500 running Libreboot, hooked up to an L2TP tunnel router in my lab. It’s the same server that hosts libreboot.org, a project I started in 2013. I’ve been self-hosting for years, and now I want to teach everyone else how to do that. This is a learning exercise for me aswell, because there are always new technologies coming about.

If you want to help out, write a guide! Patches welcome!.

Markdown file for this page: https://fedfree.org/news/launch.md

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