Low Spec Linux Firewall
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Thread: Low Spec Linux Firewall

  1. #1

    Question Low Spec Linux Firewall

    This has probably been asked before, but here goes......

    I'm looking to set up a linux box on an old machine (P100/32MB RAM/500MB HDD) to use as a Router/Firewall, but I need to find a distro that is:
    a) able to run at a decent spped on a P100
    b) stable
    c) fairly light on the HDD Space

    also, what is a good frontend to set up my IP Tables?

    Any info Would Be appreciated.
    [gloworange]If At First You Don\'t Succeed... Try, Try Again...
    If You Still Don\'t Succeed... Give Up...
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  2. #2
    some time ago i wrote a basic tutorial how to install linux as a firewall, I hope it'll help you to set up a linux firewall, but is more for a "always on" connection
    the file is linux as a firewall

    \"Knowledge is Power\"

  3. #3
    Senior Member problemchild's Avatar
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    I will address your points in order:

    a) Really, any *nix should run fine on a P-100 because you won't be running a GUI or anything. Command line-only *nix is always pretty light. Some Linux distributions like Gentoo allow you to compile the system with flags that remove unneeded funtionality and optimize the binaries for your specific architecture. Unfortunately, since the compile times are quite long, you would be looking at for-freaking-ever to build a system on a P-100. Days, at least. It may not be worth it for you, and I probably wouldn't do it myself unless I just didn't have anything better to do.

    b) Any *nix will be as stable as anything can be, in the absence of hardware errors.

    c) Debian, Gentoo, and Slackware are all pretty minimal in their default installs. I think the BSDs take a pretty minimal approach, too.

    One thing I'll point out that you may not have thought of is how you're going to administer the box and keep it updated. If it's going to have a monotor and keybord and be a full-fledged computer, it's not much of an issue. However, if (like me) you're going to run it headless and administer it remotely, a good command line package management is a big plus. One of the reasons I replaced Red Hat with Gentoo on my firewall is that I can just ssh into it and "emerge -u world" to keep my packages current. Debian has equivalent functionality with "apt-get dist-upgrade" As update utilities and package managers become increasingly GUI-based, this is something to consider for your firewall.

    As for your firewall, try http://www.hideaway.net/iptables/ for a start.
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  4. #4
    Senior since the 3 dot era
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    If you want an easy to setup linux firewall with low specs (real low specs, even a 80386 without hdd would work!) try a Free linux on a floppy firewall. They are almost all fast, secure and stable, reliable.

    http://www.zelow.no/floppyfw/
    http://www.freesco.org/
    http://www.bbiagent.com

    easy to install and adminstrate (remotly)

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    You want to setup a router right? Something you can use to firewall? Well, lots of packages for linux will let you setup something like that, google it, there are lots. And as for your comp specs, get pretty much any distro, and just install the minimum which is usually under 150 megs, (that includes utils that you won't be needing). You might want to look into zipslack from slackware, its a minimal linux distribution, its free, its small and it has pretty much all you're going to need, you can get it @ slackware.com Just one word of advice, see how well your machine runs, I had the same thing as you going for a while, I had 3 computers and a *nix box as a router, unforunately, my machine was too old, and it started to have hardware errors and that kind of thing, it also slowed down my network. Go out there, and buy the cheapest new components, and make a computer with that, it'll probably work better.

  6. #6
    Thanks For the info peoples.
    I've downloaded a couple of the distros you mentioned and i'll try them out and post the results.
    and thanks for the heads up on the tutorial whitedragon.
    [gloworange]If At First You Don\'t Succeed... Try, Try Again...
    If You Still Don\'t Succeed... Give Up...
    There\'s No Need To Be A Damn Fool About It!
    [/gloworange]

  7. #7
    Just Another Geek
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    Originally posted here by problemchild
    c) Debian, Gentoo, and Slackware are all pretty minimal in their default installs. I think the BSDs take a pretty minimal approach, too.
    My freebsd firewall with IP-Filter runs quite happely on an P90/24MB RAM/500MB HD and I still have lots of room to spare.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Re: Low Spec Linux Firewall

    Originally posted here by LargePortions
    This has probably been asked before, but here goes......

    I'm looking to set up a linux box on an old machine (P100/32MB RAM/500MB HDD) to use as a Router/Firewall, but I need to find a distro that is:
    a) able to run at a decent spped on a P100
    b) stable
    c) fairly light on the HDD Space

    also, what is a good frontend to set up my IP Tables?

    Any info Would Be appreciated.
    This is not really the answer to your question but I wanted to tell you about some other alternatives.. Prebuilt firewalls and cd distros which runs with quite small amount of system resources.

    Smoothwall
    Astaro
    Gibraltar
    NetBoz
    Sentry Firewall
    IPCop

    You can also find some other good resources in my old "basic tutorial" over firewalls, it can be found here.

    ~micael

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