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  1. #1
    Regular Coder stevenmw's Avatar
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    Going to be changing up my network configuration and want to try a diferent Distro

    I've bee using Debian for a long time now. So far I can't find anything I like better.

    I'm looking for suggestions for some distros to try out on my VM to see which I want to implement on my server. I'd just want toplay around with another another Distro. It doesn't do me any good to only know Debian fairly well.

    My server is simply a file share right now. It has two NICS, and I want to learn about having two networks coming from it. So I'm looking for something with good LDAP features, or a good LDAP based package.

    I want features that make it easy to block incoming and outgoing packets from ports to help protect my things.

    I've heard nothing but good things about Smoothwall.

    Does anyone else have any suggestions based on my needs?

    I will run certain things on it that are pretty simple to implement like DHCP server, and a file share.

    Other than that I want to focus on port control, and LDAP.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Regular Coder patryk's Avatar
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    you need system with iptables so in another words any distro
    i personaly use ubuntu server which is slightly modyfied debian. i've chose it only because of faster development these days.
    for serious server - stick to debian

  • #3
    Regular Coder stevenmw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patryk View Post
    you need system with iptables so in another words any distro
    i personaly use ubuntu server which is slightly modyfied debian. i've chose it only because of faster development these days.
    for serious server - stick to debian
    I currently use Debian on my main server. I'm thinking about setting up FreeNAS for a NAS server. I can't learn different things simply sticking to Debian.
    Last edited by stevenmw; 10-13-2012 at 06:19 PM.

  • #4
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    I have a smoothwall for my network router/firewall. I've been happy with it, I've been using Smoothwall for about 6 years now. There isn't much to it since it is designed to be a network appliance. There are tons of mods for it though if you check out their forums.

    On my servers and HTPCs I run Gentoo, I like the high degree of customization. The machines only run the exact software needed for their purpose and those packages only have the features in them that I need.
    OracleGuy

  • #5
    Regular Coder stevenmw's Avatar
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    Oracle, I don't want to get too nosey, but.. I've been thinking of using Smoothwall as a router. I have a box with a few NICs in it, and I was thinking of running Smoothwall on it, and useing it as a router. Do you do something similar?

    If so do you feel it works out pretty well for that purpose? (Do you know where I can read up on doing something like this. I'm a beginner, and currently in school so I want too learn as much as possible. I'd be very interested in reading more about this.)

    Thanks.

  • #6
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    My smoothwall setup is pretty basic. I have an atom ITX board with two gigabit NICs, 2gb of RAM and an 8GB SSD. I like this setup because it doesn't use very much power and there is only one small fan.

    However previously for about 4.5 years it was running on a Pentium II 333MHz with 384MB of RAM and a 8GB spinning disk HD. It worked fine on that hardware, the only reason I upgrade is that the CPU fan and the power supply fan were starting to give me trouble. (And I wanted to build and play around with those ITX atom boards.)

    The software is pretty easy to use, as long as the NICs are supported by Linux you shouldn't run into any real difficulties. It supports up to 3 different network zones. I'm only using one zone. The other two are for a DMZ and wireless. The idea being you can keep those isolated from your primary network for better security.

    If you want to play around with it, you can run it in a virtual machine. And they even have premade VM images too: http://www.smoothwall.org/download/g...al-smoothwall/

    There are also install guides and such: http://www.smoothwall.org/download/ but at least to me it is pretty straight forward. Once you have it up and running there is a web interface that can control everything. The only time you ever need to SSH into it is if you want to install a mod. There are a lot of mods: http://community.smoothwall.org/foru...p?f=26&t=23845
    OracleGuy

  • #7
    Regular Coder stevenmw's Avatar
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    What are some other advantages to using a box with multiple NICs as a router like this other than separate network zones and security. Or is that about it? (I'm trying to see why someone might want to use a box with NICs as a router is why the questions are so redundant.)

    What do you use for the DHCP server?

  • #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenmw View Post
    What are some other advantages to using a box with multiple NICs as a router like this other than separate network zones and security. Or is that about it? (I'm trying to see why someone might want to use a box with NICs as a router is why the questions are so redundant.)
    Are you asking why someone would build a smoothwall instead of just using a premade router?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevenmw View Post
    What do you use for the DHCP server?
    I'm not sure what you are asking. If you are asking what is my DHCP server, the smoothwall has a DHCP server built into it.
    OracleGuy

  • #9
    Regular Coder stevenmw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oracleguy View Post
    Are you asking why someone would build a smoothwall instead of just using a premade router?
    Yes, what are some advantages to it. Besides the obvious network zones. Does it allow you to have more control on the incoming and outgoing packets on the ports?

    Quote Originally Posted by oracleguy View Post
    I'm not sure what you are asking. If you are asking what is my DHCP server, the smoothwall has a DHCP server built into it.
    That is what I was asking. Thanks you.

    [I've been reading about the Portage Gentoo package management system. It's very interesting.]
    Last edited by stevenmw; 10-14-2012 at 07:20 AM.

  • #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenmw View Post
    Yes, what are some advantages to it. Besides the obvious network zones. Does it allow you to have more control on the incoming and outgoing packets on the ports?
    Yeah it can do that. And not just between your network and the internet, if you use multiple zones you can setup specific ports that are open between each network. For example you could allow access to a file server on the green network from the purple network but the purple network couldn't access any other clients on the green network.

    Smoothwall uses colors to define the interfaces. Red is the internet, green is the main network on the inside. Orange is the DMZ and purple is the wireless network. Though you could use purple for something other than wireless if you wanted. Red and green are required, the other two are optional.

    Smoothwall also has a proxy server with caching that you can turn on which can help if you have a low bandwidth connection. There is also anti-virus functionality to scan email to stop viruses before they even reach the clients. There is a VPN mod you can add in so you can VPN into your home network from the outside. There are also tons of monitoring functions. Back when I had to worry about monthly bandwidth usage the smoothwall was very helpful because I had a mod on it that tracked usage per IP address and could keep on eye on things.

    There are other little things you can do too. Like on mine the DNS server configuration is setup to know what IPs my ISP uses for their custom search page if an address doesn't exist. That way instead of saying something exists and having that silly search page, it properly returns an address not found error.

    Some of these things you can do with a consumer router running custom firmware like DD-WRT.
    OracleGuy

  • #11
    Regular Coder stevenmw's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks! That is definitely something I am going to try out after I switch some hardware around.

    I'll definitely be reading around the Smoothwall forums to find out more.

    Thanks again!


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