GnuBee: Personal blobfree NAS/Cloud server for hackers

GnuBee is a personal NAS (Network Attached Storage) cloud server that is currently being funded on Crowd Supply. It is a low-cost, low-power, NAS device that runs GNU/Linux and it is claimed to be based on free, libre, and open source software. No proprietary drivers needed to use GnuBee.

From the project home page:

We designed the GnuBee Personal Cloud 1 with the Free Software Foundation’s Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification in mind and have already initiated the application process with FSF. The GnuBee Personal Cloud 1 is 100% free of binary blobs. Check out this campaign update to see some of the backstory of how this is possible.

Hardware specifications

  1. CPU MediaTek MT7621A – dual core, multi thread – 880 MHz, overclockable to 1.2 GHz
  2. 512 MB DDR3 RAM
  3. microSD card slot
  4. 6 x 2.5″ drives for NAS
  5. Software Linux RAID 0/1/10 support
  6. 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
  7. 1 x USB 3.0 port
  8. 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  9. Serial port
  10. Supported software : Debian Linux, openmediavault, LEDE, and libreCMC.
(Click to enlarge)

Comparison with commercial NAS server from Qnap and Synology

Here is a quick comparison with Qnap TS-431 and Synology DS416slim NAS server:


The project is great. The price is reasonable, and the device is fully hackable. I hope someone can port FreeBSD or OpenBSD Unix operating system to this device as well. I hope it works out and they get funded. Please note that only last two days left for funding. For more information visit project’s Crowd Supply page here.

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🐧 6 comments so far... add one

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6 comments… add one
  • SC May 2, 2017 @ 19:31

    Where’s the fan? I have one bare drive in an external mount on my desk. It runs so hot I keep a full metal water bottle on it as a passive heatsink.
    6 drives packed together sure seems like a recipe for trouble.

    • Haravikk May 3, 2017 @ 15:31

      Is it a 2.5″ drive? Most of those don’t run especially hot, and remember this is being billed as low power so the assumption is probably that you’ll be using reasonably efficient drives that should stay within their thermal limits on their own.

      Even so most drives are rated above 50ºC so should be fine in a passive setup like this as convection will draw heat away fast enough to prevent it getting out of control.

    • Jason May 3, 2017 @ 18:55

      ^^^ What SC said ^^^

      Even *with* fans, my array runs hotter than I’d like. When I was doing pre-install burn-in testing on the individual drives using a single-drive USB 3 SATA enclosure they got too hot to touch. I had to remove the fan grill on the enclosure to get better airflow.

      Maybe 2.5″ drives run *significantly* cooler than 3.5″ drives? I guess it’d make sense as they’re typically installed in laptops, game consoles, and in dense server configurations.

  • Colin McDermott May 4, 2017 @ 5:51

    I love so much about this. The only thing that stops me from clicking “Buy now” is the unavailability of 3.5″ disks.

    Yes move to SSD, move your laptops to SSD, move your Databases to SSD. But your home NAS where you may play 1 movie at a low file transfer rate…. What you want 4 512GB SSD drives or 2 4TB HDD’s?

    If you NAS is for storage, then 2.5″ is not the answer.

  • JamesK May 5, 2017 @ 15:04

    I don’t know what drives and what type of external USB enclosure you both are using but something is severely wrong if the drives are too hot to touch and you need to use a water bottle as heatsink

  • Dan May 16, 2017 @ 14:40

    Same here on the 3.5″ drives. The max WD Red 2.5″ is 1TB.. That makes this a peak 6TB box. I can do a single 3.5″ drive for 6TB in a synology d115f for less money.

    I love the idea, but 3.5″ drives are a must for a fileserver.

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