Current situation of the PirateBox - Project

Posted by Matthias 
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Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
May 19, 2015 07:49PM
Hello PirateBox-Followers,
I'll apologies in upfront, if some parts may sound like blackmailing the reader- but I come to the point, where I have to address a few things.

Some of you may already noticed the increasing time of getting answers on your questions. That has a some reasons I come to it later.

I am not very glad how the things are going forward on the project- and I'm not talking about development, but I'm talking about community movement.

Wait community movement?!

Since February 2014, I'm busy with doing an additional training beside my 40++ hour/week job to increase my skill.. since them I'm doing development & support on the PirateBox (LibraryBox) on top of that. But with the beginning of this year, alot of additional tasks overwhelm me, so I'm even more busy then ever. That is a problem, so I already dropped some particular regular todos- including checking forums daily.
With the slowly decreasing interval, I hoped someone will come over and help answering the support-request from the new users on the forum.

That did not happen.

Last year, I created with another developer makefiles to make developing easier on the project. I hoped that will help people contributing to the project. That didn't really helped to get more regular contribution.
End of last year, I merged & fixed the development branch - claimed "Mesh is working technically on dev.". I created a bunch of long posts about it- and added the steps we need to do for finalizing the user experience. We automatized the regular development builds.

I hoped to get at least test feedback and some contributions for the development stage... or at least some questions.

That did not happen.

I created a post beginning this year how the new modular start-stop should work, I invested alot of work in it- never got any feedback upon it.

I "dropped" the ongoing work on the RPi image, and tried to handover it to a guy who started to give very helpful posts on the RPi-Section.. he vanished again.

I created howtos and scripts helping working on the UI-Frontend. I tried to summarize tasks on github.

For me, it is extremely frustrating to answer nearly the same questions week per week. The technical level of our users is low, and the most questions should be solvable with reading forum and sourcode. I feel frustrated of answering any post of it over the years.
For me, it is extremely frustrating to work on my own.
I can't do the UI work, which is needed to improve / adjust the frontend to our new backend features. I don't want to learn JavaScript, CSS or HTML5 on top of my other work. I can't handle it.

Back in 2011, when I started to work on the project, it was challenging me and my skill. I needed to learn daily new things. Alot of the problems were related to my work- (conceptional) mistakes and bugs. Currently, the focus is more on user-problems then issues I created, the wind changed for me. It is not about improving, it is only about helping.

I tried to raise up the new PirateBoxCamp for 2015, wrote down a lot of ideas and did upfront work together with David. But my request for help to the current organization team was like a shot in the air... no help there.
Now David and I are trying to find a solution to let it happen even without additional help.

In addition, I try to kickstart another project for having a generalized Framework for PirateBox-alike projects... but, maybe it is my mood today, but I think there will be no big response on the hard work.

I'm tired of all of this. I'm tired of these disappointments.

I'm considering to drop the work on the project more and more, because I see no real benefit from it anymore.

Benefit in terms of
- I can learn something (new)
- I have fun playing around with hardware
- Can release new cool stuff

And technically, we have a bunch of challenges, I don't WANT to solve on my own on top of the regular work on the forum.

I really love the project, the idea behind it and the user base coming up with very impressive ideas, but the current situation is slowly hitting a wall.
My personal anti-climax this year is the situation of the PirateBoxCamp.

Looking forward to your replies,
best regards


PS: Any help is appreciated, even it is only writing down a list/page on
PPS: I know, that my mood today is floored... but after summarizing all these things in another mail today, I though, I that I should communicate some recent thoughts and experiences.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
May 20, 2015 07:25PM
Firstly, thank you Matthias for the all the work that you do for this community. Speaking personally, I think there's no need for you to apologize or feel guilty about the lack of community movement. I think your concerns will be heard and be taken seriously and hopefully members can take up some more responsibilities.

Speaking of helping, I recently had the opportunity to properly learn how to build websites so my HTML/CSS/PHP skills have improved dramatically since I first started hacking on the Piratebox/Librarybox interface. I was in the early planning stages of contributing some work to the interfaces of Piratebox/Librarybox. My plan was to quietly and slowly release some new design and how-to's. Those plans for the most part have not changed and I don't think will change in the foreseeable future.

I hope that this helps even it is a small and indirect.

I admire you and your hard work....sry I can't support you more...
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
May 21, 2015 08:05AM
Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to say THANK YOU to Matthias. He has been extremely generous with his time and expertise over the last few years and the project couldn't have moved forward without him! The code is now at a stable state and most of the key features of the project have been implemented and fully tested. I think it's fair to say that we've accomplished most of the things we set out to do.

We'll both still be checking in on the forum and will continue supporting and hosting the PirateBox though the amount of time that we can devote to developing the project will need to be reduced for awhile so that we can spend more time developing and building other cool things. Stay tuned!

Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
May 23, 2015 03:40AM
thanks you Matthias for your help. please let us know how we can help you
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
May 24, 2015 09:46PM
Thank you for all you've done Matthias, regardless of the current situation. It wouldn't even be here if it weren't for you. smiling smiley
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
May 25, 2015 03:51PM
The last few days I have spend trying to get my piratebox working. I have learned more about openwrt and the openwrt scene than I imagined. Just three days ago I could barely follow direct commands provided to me in the FAQ and today I managed to "brick" myself out of my router, telnet my way back in, flash original firmware, reflash openwrt, edit a text file using vi, because my MR3040 wasn't reading USB 3 I tested many USB drives. What I'm saying is this was a major learning experience for me and I feel very strongly about the piratebox project not only for what the box itself means and is but because I had to FIGURE something out it wasn't just handed to me. Please we have to figure out something to help this project continue. Now I don't have a ton of money but if money would help we can start campaigns like kick starter or go fund me. If its just that we need more support then I'm not sure what the answer is, I'm in no position to teach anyone haha. Every time the Piratebox is mentioned on sites like torrentfreak or reddit I feel like there is a huge swell of new users maybe reach out to those sites for more users.
I just "discovered" PirateBox and am REALLY imipressed with what has been done so far. My hat is off to everyone, and I would love to help in any way I can. My background is more in HAM radio and avionics, but I am really interested in MESH networking (although I am totally new to the field). I don't know what I can do to help, but I am willing, so if there is something I can do please let me know. I'd love to help out on this amazing project and would love to see the PirateBox develop a MESH communication mode to create the PirateNet. With active as well as store and forward messaging and data exchange it wold be great to have an infrastructure that can be deployed and suppord communications. I have long toyed with the idea of using aircraft as psudolites to transmit updated information to ground stations and to receive messages and requests from them. Not fast, but better than nothing. Trucks, busses and other secheuled vehicles could similarly be used, as well as ships in the shipping lanes which could update and receive information from bouys and sondes. All of these things could grow out of the PirateBox so there are still plenty of new things to learn and do. I hope I can help do them. - v/r Ken A.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 03, 2015 08:05PM
Hello Matthias,

I found your website and this great project just yesterday and downloaded the raspberry pi Image.
Today I had to create the sd card and to find out how to get my wireless adapter up and running.
After installing the missing image forum on my pi, uploading a few Images and files and writing test messages into the chat, i wanted to know more.

I could jump in and learn all the stuff required to fix the raspberry pi Image (1.0.2) to include the forum and maybe more.
This would take a while, but it would be a sad thing to give up right now.

I am ready to take this challenge.
Do you want to go this route (raspberry pi) again?

I tell you more about me and my background if you want.
In order to install my first Linux I had to download single Images for floppy disks like a1, a2, a3...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2015 08:26PM by BlueSpider.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 05, 2015 09:45PM
Hello PirateBox followers,

thank you for your nice posts.
Any help is appreciated and the project has enough room for growing with your tasks. Some already add an entry on our webpage what can be done.

@BlueSpider, I think creating a new RPi image including the imageboard would be great. an image for the RPi2+ would be cool, too

best regards,

This is only my signature.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 10, 2015 05:58AM
Hey Matthias,

Ive pretty much got an RPi2 image on raspbian complete, im just trying to get the image box working right now.
Will spend some time searching the forum, once ive figured it out i will release the image and installation instructions.

Hope this will help.. :-)

Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 11, 2015 04:45PM
Hi Pace,

I am working on the old archlinux image in order to create an updated version with imageboard.

We could work together and make sure we don't do the same things twice. grinning smiley
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 12, 2015 02:57AM
Yeah sounds great, I was thinking of doing a build on ArchLinux after this one, but lets swap notes and get a stable build out there. :-)
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 12, 2015 04:26AM
I currently have a raspbian image working, how is the arch linux image coming along?

Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 12, 2015 12:47PM
I got a new archlinux image up and running on a real device. smileys with beer
Some hints from Matthias about pacman mirrors helped me to finally solved the problems.

I will test the image this weekend before I give it to the community for additional testings.
Some minor things like updating releasenotes... and we are ready to provide a new torrent link.

Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 12, 2015 01:24PM
That sounds good smiling smiley
Can you continue the discussion in the RPi or the development forum (I would prefer the last) winking smiley

This is only my signature.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 17, 2015 03:38PM
Hello Matthias,

I just created an account on here as I've been a long time lurker. I wanted to thank you for all the work you've put into this project.

The piratebox has become a great tool that I have used over the past little while. I've used it on my greyhound rides between cities to watch my DVD collection as well as internationally. As well as being able to share some public works with people around me.

Upon reading your first post above I'm saddened that you haven't received the support or traction that this project deserves from a community effort. I plan on trying to help out on the forums as much as I can. While my skillset may be rather limited I'l do my best to at least try to contribute back.

If you were to launch a kickstarter I would certainly be interested in contributing to the project in a monetary sense.

I wish you luck on the project and I appreciate all the hard work you've put in. I'd like to contribute in any way I can moving forward

thanks smiling smiley
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 23, 2015 04:21AM
Hi Matthias,
Thank you for your work on this project. I'm sorry it's been frustrating for you. Hang in there! This project is too cool to die. I'm currently teaching myself html/css specifically so I can better contribute here. Once I get going with that, I'd like to try to build and ship preconfigured PirateBoxes at cost for anyone who'd like one. I think this system has a lot of potential and think there will be a massive social need for systems like this in the future. Also, I may still have some Bitcoin laying around somewhere. Do you accept donations?
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 24, 2015 07:39PM
Thank you for your offer.
As you can decline incoming transaction, I have to accept those winking smiley
But without doing work, I won't be very glad about those bitties. Feels like getting something for nothing :/

regards Matthias
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 25, 2015 06:14AM
Just got around to reading this post. I'm sorry to see that you may be at a crossroads. I think this is a fascinating project. The minute I heard of it I came here, bought the hardware, and in about a day, had the thing running.

I'm a fairly unsophisticated user, so it's a testement to the hard work that's been done on this site to make it pretty easy for me to get up and running. I wish I could do more than say "thank you." Perhaps if there are some really dumb common questions you keep seeing, I can help you update the FAQ? I'm a native English speaker and can help update some of the documentation to be more readable.

For what it's worth, the two questions I asked here I was not able to find the answer to by forum searches, so you have at least one guy out here who is using forum search. winking smiley
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 25, 2015 07:08PM
FAQ updates are always welcome smiling smiley
Checkout your mails/spam folder, I invited you/created an account for you on

Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
June 26, 2015 01:44AM
That's a spambait address, I'm going to PM you with a better one.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
July 04, 2015 01:31PM
I just saw the first edits done by Wholve on the different howtos.

Many thanks for that!
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
July 12, 2015 03:25PM
Within the past couple weeks, I've been reorienting myself with the Piratebox project. While I am interested to contribute to development, it felt like things were on hold somewhat as Matthias worked on the Librarybox project.

I am a professional web developer (with no graphic design talent...) with a thorough knowledge of HTML/CSS, and plenty of advanced JS. I'll take a look at the GitHub issues this week but please let me know if you have larger concerns that are on a different roadmap and might need someone to take a lead on fixing them.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
July 13, 2015 08:23PM
Any help is appreciated !
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
July 14, 2015 08:43PM
Lets talk in Berlin at the PirateBoxCamp about the next steps.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
September 01, 2015 09:35PM
Hi Matthias,

I'm just a teacher. I will try to use the piratebox in my class this year for the first time. So, I'm not sure I could be of any help... But you have any idea, don't hesitate to let me know!

Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
January 11, 2016 11:56AM
Hi Matthias,

First THANK YOU for all the work you have done developing and helping people out smiling smiley

I would love to help out but I need to become more proficient what programing languages should I learn PHP BASH ? and as a beginner how can I help ?


Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
January 11, 2016 08:39PM
thank you for your kind words.
We are working on the development images to make a good integration of a new PHP/JS/JQuery based uploader. If you know php & JS, you might want to make a nice implementation on our start page?
There are also some Github issues open, which you might want to look at, like this: [] - this can be a simple script which can also be tested and created outside a running piratebox first- that would require some bash skills smiling smiley

Best regards

This is only my signature.
Re: Current situation of the PirateBox - Project
January 16, 2016 04:36AM
I just started this last week and have been looking for opportunity to expand my knowledge. I may be of little help at first but I learn quick. This is my first experience with any type of linux or open source. Maybe I started a little eager but I willing to assist. Let me know. smiling smiley