Best/Easiest Linux firewall/router

Bruce L

Active Member
I keep reading about how great running freeware Linux routers/firewalls are. I have several PII 286s that would run linux just fine. I searched for linux firewall/routers on the web and there is a confusing number of them.

What are your opinions of these and which ones do you like and why?


if you aren't too familiar with linux, I would look at Smoothwall. If you have a hard drive, Astaro Linux is another nice option, not sure if they still have a free version, but check out their demo admin interface. IPcop is similar to Smoothwall, but not as good imo.

I personally run a barebones version of RedHat, and built my own iptables script. If you would like a nice interface to building IPtables based firewall scripts, check out FWbuilder, which allows you to create rules and such, using objects (similar to the Checkpoint interface if you are familiar with it

I would also take a look at redWall, which looks very impressive, runs from CD as well, and offers many options. I will probably give this one a shot myself, I just haven't had the time yet.
Yep, Smoothwall is excellent - I've been running it for a few years now. I want to give Astaro a go as it looks to have more functionality, but like Electron time is a constraint.....
Smoothwall appears to run on (include) a limited linux distro. Can I add other programs like mail servers later if I want.
not sure, if I am not mistaken, it runs from CD, but I would recommend against running anything on the firewall machine, as it will only open the machine up to security risks. I suggest you run the mail server on another machine, and just use port forwarding.
Smoothie is pretty specialized - probably kinda hard to load up other server and as Electron said - not advisable.

Fortunatly Richard Morrel has left the project so now it's not taboo to at least talk about these things. To find out more search here.
Ok thanks guys - just was trying to limit the total number of machines running. I have 10 in use almost daily, 4 run 24/7 now, all Win XP. I was hoping to only run 1 linux machine.
In that case, take Electron's advice, and roll your own with IPTables and your favorite stripped down distro....