Software Overview

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There's a lot of open source software available for helping a place like Free Geek run. Here are the choices we made:

Off the shelf software choices

Base Distribution

Our choice for default linux distribution is Debian.


A wiki is used to develop documents collaboratively. We've chosen MediaWiki as our official wiki.

Issue Tracker

An issue tracker helps you keep track of items that need to be followed up on, like a big community todo list. We use RT for this. It helps us run tech support, keep track of grants, and even assists us in planning some of our meetings agendas.

Email List software

This allows us to set up discussion lists for various purposes. In general, each committee or working group has at least one email list. We use Mailman.


We give people email accounts and let them use Squirrelmail to access them. An IMAP allows us to offer this server. We use Courier Our SMTP server is Postfix.

Web server

To serve up our web pages, we use Apache.

Database server

To manage most of our database needs we use PostgreSQL. Some other applications (like Mediawiki) use MySQL, so that's installed as well.

Custom software

Inventory and General Database

FGdb -- The database we use for maintaining gizmo inventory, contact information, volunteer work, and sales and donation receipts. Written in PHP against a PostgreSQL database backend.

Hardware Testing

FGdiag -- Scripts that our volunteers use to test incoming gizmos. Written in python. (Also updates FGdb.)

End User Distro

FreekBox -- Our customization of debian that we load on computers we give away.