Does anyone have a particular preference for a Linux ditribution to use as a firewall. I have VERY basic needs and I am new to the world of Linux. Planning on trying out a Linux firewall as my DSL gateway here at home to try setting Linux up as a server/firewall. Wanted to know if there were distributions better suited than others for this sort of thing? My only Linux experience is with a current edition of Red Hat running on one of my clients.
If what your after is a simple Linux distro which will act as a firewall, then you should perhaps check out Smoothwall.
Smoothwall is a "custom" linux distro which has been created for people like you, who simply want a linux firewall, with a nice GUI accessable via your web browser [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif
The ISO download is about 20 mb's and its free !!
Let us know how it went ! [img]images/smiles/icon_cool.gif
Well, I thought I would report back to anyone that might read this post in the future. I have successfully installed Smoothwall. It does exactly what it advertises, provides a small easily configured basic firewall. I originally installed an older version, but with limited success (later discovered that my NIC was bad). I have now installed the latest beta version and it works almost flawlessly.
Of course I can never be satisfied with leaving well enough alone...I discovered that the firewall was pingable from the outside. I have DSL which seems to get constantly scanned, so I thought it would be best to have a firewall that was not pingable. Unfortunately, from Smoothwall's web administration page you can not disable ICMP (or at least I couldn't figure out how). So, armed with virtually no knowledge of Linux, I ventured into the world of IP tables. After one night of hacking and research on the web, I was able to successfully change the IP tables that Smoothwall uses to drop all ICMP packets from the PPP adapter. Awesome!
While I had been having problems with Smoothwall (as I said they weren't really problems with Smoothwall, but my hardware), I discovered some other cool Linux firewall solutions. The most notable was Astaro. It does basically what Smoothwall does, but with many more configuration options. Unfortunately when I tried to install Astaro, I ran into problems which I believe were from that same damn NIC card... By the time I figured out it was hardware giving me problems, I had switched back to the Smoothwall. I haven't personally tried it, but probably will sooner or later.
But anyway, you can check it out at
They have an online demo which looks pretty cool and appears to be very configurable. Also, it might be worth noting that Astaro has open source and proprietary components although is free for personal us. Meanwhile Smoothwall has a completely open source version and a commercial version (not free) for more advanced features (i.e. more VPN options).
The bottom line is Smoothwall works and I agree...