minutes · freenas bsd prey · 2011-01-20 · stevenix


Siouxland Libraries Oak View Branch, Room 3 at 6:30 pm.

The room opened at 5 pm for setup.

A general help session began at 5:30 pm.


To get to the Oak View branch from the west, take Sixth Street east to North Bahnson Ave. Turn left at the light, and drive three blocks north to Third Street. The library is located at the northeast corner of the intersection.

From the east, drive west from Sycamore Avenue on Third Street until you near North Bahnson (about six blocks). The library will be on your right.

There is no cost to attend the meeting or to join. New members are welcome!



Glenn spoke about installing and using FreeNAS 1, a FreeBSD-based network-attached storage distribution. FreeNAS is a dedicated distro, which means it completely takes over the computer. It is not a candidate for dual booting.

The two basic installation options are:

  • A full platform install. FreeNAS is written to the hard disk; ideal for low-memory installs and customization with FreeBSD packages.
  • An embedded install. The FreeNAS image is installed and runs entirely in RAM. An embedded install includes an option for USB stick installation: only the FreeBSD image is written to the USB device; all data is written to other media.

At the end of the installation, just before booting into the fresh install, FreeNAS presents a screenful of device names and settings that are essential to making the system usable. Make sure to jot down this information before rebooting, Glenn said.

When the system is rebooted, the FreeNAS computer console is no longer needed, as all configuration and services are administered through the FreeNAS web interface.

There are a few steps to setting up the FreeNAS box before use:

  • Change the default local IP address (, if desired.
  • Change the default administrative username and password.
  • Enable https, which is necessary to enable the ssh server.
  • Turn off Bonjour (zeroconf), if the FreeNAS box is to be exposed to the internet.
  • Add and mount disks.
  • Add users (and grant access to services).

FreeNAS offers a number of servers, including http, ftp, ssh, rsync, Samba, NFS, torrents, uPNP, DynamicDNS, and streaming iTunes/DAAP. Documentation for configuring these services varies from very good to non-existent, Glenn said.

When compared to an off-the-shelf NAS server, such as CoolmaxNAS, FreeNAS offers more services, although with a bit more setup. If all you need are Samba, ftp, and maybe bit torrent, the Coolmax device will take less power, Glenn said. If you need anything more complex, FreeNAS is a free solution that can be installed on modest hardware, he said.


Steve presented a brief demo of Prey, open source software that lets you track your own laptop or smart phone, in the event of theft.

Once Prey is installed, the user manages it from the Prey website 2. The software supports Mac, Windows, and Linux, as well as Android. The iPhone and iPad versions of Prey are in the works.

Steve showed the web interface and spoke about the limitations of the free plans, as well as the benefits of paying a \$5 (or higher) monthly fee for encrypted communication, more frequent reports, and access to active hardware scans.

To take advantage the software, the Prey user needs to enable a guest account on the device so the thief can connect to the internet, Steve said. If the phone or laptop is locked down too much, it will prevent Prey from filing its reports.

Program Ideas

The group kicked around program ideas for 2011:

  • Data recovery / forensics
  • Clonezilla
  • Using Xen for virtual machines
  • Security testing techniques
  • Jinzora media server demo

Anyone interested in presenting these or giving any other free software demos should contact Glenn at dakota.son at gmail.com.

Ten people attended.

--Submitted by Glenn