Sunday, August 3, 2008

What The Heck Is This?

This is an experiment.

My IPCop firewall died yesterday (hardware I think - it's been flawless for years but bad the last couple of days).

Of course using a white box as a firewall is a bit of a waste of hydro, and overkill for the job in a lot of ways. It's kinda noisy too, although I just installed mine next to the furnace so one more fan is no big deal :-)

I moved my wireless NAT router so it's the main firewall for our home network, but it's missing so many features I'd like that I immediately started thinking about putting a PC back in there.

Yes, I could by a better wireless box that does everything I want, or buy one and put DD-WRT or something similar on top, but hears the rub (and RULE NUMBER ONE FOR THIS BLOG)

My budget is $0.

Ooops, time for RULE NUMBER TWO.

My time is free.

OK, with those rules out of the way, and a bunch of old whitebox PCs floating around not doing anything, that resolves the 'why not use something designed to do that job' argument. Oh, and I plan on going beyond what a box with 8 meg of ram and a USB port can do anyway.

So, what am I going to use?
Well, let's start with RULE NUMBER THREE

Propriatery sucks. If you qualify or identify with rules 0, 1 and 2 - then by golly you should be able to do exactly the same things I do and get the same results. Anything that gets in the way of that is the enemy. So, Windows is out - so is Mac OSX. I don't know much about the BSDs, so I'm going linux. Ubuntu specifically because I want to learn more about that flavour.

Last but not least is RULE NUMBER FOUR

I'm making this up as I go along. Or, stated differently - what you see is what you get.

I really don't intend this blog to be readable, or pretty, or grammatical.

If you find something here, cool, but I don't intend (at least at this point) to try and make this make sense. It'll likely be a combination of a bunch or URLs for further info, stream of consciousness thoughts and specs, and records of what I did when.

If we end up with something useful, then we pretty up the documentation and give it to the world - after all, PROPRIETARY SUCKS!


  1. From a fellow ubuntu list member.... curious to see how you come along with this project, your bookmarked. Alot like myself, I have mostly a zero budget as well.... Ive actually pieced together a decent NAS with freenas over the last few weeks. Used a bunch of usb drives I had laying around, and a p2 box with 256k. I tell you what, ive been pretty impressed with the package. does a nice job.

  2. Thanks Steve! Nice to know there's at least one person reading this :-)

    Lots of people seem to like FreeNAS. BSD based IIRC, and quite small. It feels good to make old equipment useful again doesn't it!

  3. IPCop : have you found an equal?

    Yes?, FreeBSD: o please name me some..

    NetBSD does have some tinyfloppy thingies

    Still IPCop..
    it doesnt kill resources as other b-wares