More specialty Linuxes to the rescue

Whether your focus is security, storage, music, or religion, there's a flavor of Linux that fits the bill

IPCop has no specific hardware requirements other than that the host be i386 based. (An earlier release supported the Alpha processor.) Documentation even boasts that obsolete hardware is frequently used to host an IPCop system. The system comes with a number of services: intrusion detection via Snort, the IPSec VPN system, and Web caching via squid. Perhaps its strongest feature is its wide range of status and logging information. IPCop produces real-time scrolling graphs of CPU usage and memory usage, as well as traffic statistics on each of the colored networks. You can also view a table of all connections established on each network.

Setup time is less than a half hour (depending on the complexity of your network), and the online documentation is sufficient even for someone setting up a firewall for the first time.

m0n0wall

With m0n0wall Linux, the hardware platform of choice is an embedded x86 PC, so it's no stranger to small memory spaces and modest processor power. The system officially supports embedded PCs from Soekris Engineering and PC Engines. Nevertheless, m0n0wall can run on a stock x86 PC. Documentation indicates that m0n0wall will live happily on a 486 with only 64MB of RAM.

When m0n0wall boots, the host system's screen displays a rudimentary text-based menu good only for setting fundamental parameters such as network cards' IP addresses, the administration GUI's password, and so on.

m0n0wall assumes two networks, WAN and LAN, each on its own NIC. The WAN is the unprotected, outside world; the LAN is the protected, private network. As with IPCop, interaction with m0n0wall is via the administration Web user interface, webGUI, available at a pre-defined IP address on the LAN side. The webGUI is well arranged in a two-frame format: The left frame holds the navigation pane, while editing takes place in the right frame.

From the webGUI, you have complete control over the system. This includes operations such as creating VPN and PPTP tunnels (m0n0wall comes with a PPTP server); configuring the DHCP server; and defining firewall and traffic shaping rules

The last item is the most interesting. You define firewall rules through a fill-in-the-blanks-style Web page form. Select the action (Pass, Block, Reject), the associated network interface, and the protocol to which the rule applies. You then enter filtering restrictions. For example, you can specify that a particular rule block packets coming from a range of source IP addresses or bound for a range of destination IP addresses.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Linux

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Grehan

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?