SmoothWall Express is an open source firewall distribution based on the Linux operating system. Linux is the ideal choice for security systems; it is well proven, secure, highly configurable and freely available as open source code. SmoothWall includes a hardened subset of the GNU/Linux operating system, so there is no separate OS to install. Designed for ease of use, SmoothWall is configured via a web-based GUI, and requires absolutely no knowledge of Linux to install or use.
Crazyeddie: Given the price of hardware, you're generally better off with a regular soho router. Unless, of course, you 1) have the parts laying around and 2) want some geek cred. Also, smoothwall scales up better, so is a good choice if you have 10+ computers on your network.
The developers advertise the fact that SmoothWall can be administrated from the web interface. This interface is about as good as the interfaces for soho routers, but it is still useful to login through the regular console for troubleshooting, so keep a spare monitor close by. Also, you may need the monitor for troubles at boot time - one of my two smoothwall boxen throws a hissy fit about the hard drive every boot. If you do go through the the console, it is important to note that Smoothwall does not come with man.
Smoothwall can have troubles getting an IP from some broadband ISPs. This is because either the ISP or the broadband modem might be a bit stubborn about giving new IPs before the old one is released. My recommended solution: Shutdown the smoothwall. Power down the modem. Say a prayer to the deity of your choice. Power the modem backup, and then power up the smoothwall.
- Official Smoothwall website (smoothwall.org)