Chris Troutner Chris.Troutner at
Thu Mar 10 10:54:49 EST 2011

Wow! I'm sorry I missed that post. You raise some very good points. Here
are a few of my own:

1. Thank you for pointing out the difficulties in building Disruption
Tolerant Networks (DTNs). I don't have a lot of in-depth knowledge about
mesh networking, but I know enough that it is not the easiest thing in
the world to pull off. I also had suspicions that the Freedombox people
didn't understand mesh networking and your explanation confirms my

In fact, the difficulties in mesh networks was why I thought of Qi and
open hardware. I'm familiar with mesh networks from working with 8-bit
microcontrollers and using Zigbee. The kind of low level, robust network
you talk about is used in sensor networks making use of low level
electronics. These networks have failed to hit their maximum potential,
in my opinion, because there hasn't been enough incentive to write
extensive and robust high level software. You're right that they are
low bandwidth, but from a hardware standpoint the handshaking, address
generation, initialization is robust and a high level software project
can build on that. However, this is definitely an area where high level
and low level software meet.

2. It sounds like initial versions of the Freedombox are going to use
plug computers with traditional 802.11 protocols for traditional
networking, which as you point out is very different from mesh
networking and ultimately self-defeating. They recognize the flaw of
using the existing network, but the argument is that they need to start
somewhere in order to get the ball rolling. The advantage I see is that
an open hardware company could work independently and take their
knowledge of low-level mesh networking and work with the Freedombox
Foundation to design an interface for connectivity to their system. This
way the Freedombox begins to create redundant data paths, which is
ultimately where they will need to take this project if it is to succeed
long term. Which brings me to my final point...

3. This is a very commercial and lucrative opportunity. The concept
behind the FreedomBox is not new. In fact it's really just a natural
evolution of project like this: 

Right now controversial things are happening in the world, and Eben
Moglen is using that spotlight to get the ball rolling with Freedombox.
I would argue that this business opportunity is not controversial
though. Maybe this isn't the best opportunity for Qi, but it is for
*some* open source hardware company. They are planning on using Debian
and they have made clear statements as to the desire to use open source
hardware. A company with expertise in low-level hardware could build the
peripherals they need. Existing hardware companies have already
expressed the desire to work with them and the whole business model/use
case is based on high volumes. Additionally the public is behind it
because Moglen was able to raise $60K in 5 days for the project. Sounds
pretty synergistic to me.


Chris Troutner


-----Original Message-----
From: JDH services [mailto:jaydeeaich at]
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:06 AM
To: English Qi Hardware mailing list - support, developers, use cases
and fun
Cc: Chris Troutner
Subject: Re: FreedomBox

On Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 2:56 PM, Chris Troutner
<Chris.Troutner at> wrote:
> Have you heard of the FreedomBox? Check it out:


Here is what I had to say the first time FreedomBox was mentioned of the
Qi-Hardware list

On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 1:34 AM, JDH services <jaydeeaich at>
> On Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM, jon at <jon at> wrote:
>> Where's the info on that project? Man, that's an ugly index.php blah
> Ask the ben-wpan people. the Web era internet is extremely fragile by
> design. You aren't going to get a Disruption-Tolerant Network that
> will work transparently with your software that was designed to work
> only on networks that have instantaneous high-data-rate end-to-end
> paths.
> The ability to transport, or route, data from a source to a
> destination is a fundamental ability all communication networks must
> have. Delay and disruption-tolerant networks (DTNs), are characterized
> by their lack of connectivity, resulting in a lack of instantaneous
> end-to-end paths. In these challenging environments, popular ad hoc
> routing protocols such as AODV and DSR fail to establish routes. This
> is due to these protocols trying to first establish a complete route
> and then, after the route has been established, forward the actual
> data. However, when instantaneous end-to-end paths are difficult or
> impossible to establish, routing protocols must take to a "store and
> forward" approach, where data is incrementally moved and stored
> throughout the network in hopes that it will eventually reach its
> destination. A common technique used to maximize the probability of a
> message being successfully transferred is to replicate many copies of
> the message in the hope that one will succeed in reaching its
> destination. This is feasible only on networks with large amounts of
> local storage and internode bandwidth relative to the expected
> traffic. In many common problem spaces, this inefficiency is
> outweighed by the increased efficiency and shortened delivery times
> made possible by taking maximum advantage of available unscheduled
> forwarding opportunities. In others, where available storage and
> internode throughput opportunities are more tightly constrained, a
> more discriminate algorithm is required.
> Wolfgang Spraul has repeated said that qi doesn't want to become known
> for hosting controversial projects.
> "Nobody likes to have their freedom of speech restricted, or what they
> can hack into their devices. I would not want the Qi servers to become
> known to try to blur the line between free and proprietary software,
> irrespective of the intentions. Fair use? No. Non-commercial? No.
> Links to sites where you can download binaries with questionable or
> disputed ownership issues? No.
> Would I spend my own time to make it 'hard' to go underground, or to
> go to the maximum that is allowed in your country? No, definitely
> not."
> Name one Police-state that didn't claim to be protecting "public
> morals" and/or "national security" to justify their use of Coercion?

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