These are two more pfSense related news items:
Scott Ullrich from pfSense Project
is looking for anybody willing to donate a hardware or a fast server to speed up building and compiling of pfSense.
It seems more and more that I spend 90% of my time waiting for pfSense builds to validate code changes, kernel changes, etc
Here’s a rundown of parts that would be ideal:
- quad core cpu, or dualquad core if possible
- 4g ram (not strictly necessary, but useful for cache)
- 6 sata disks (western dig raptors would rock), and an areca or similar card with 256M-1G battery backed cache
Is there anybody able to help the pfSense project?
I News & Articles
FreeBSD for Web and E-Mail Servers
I’m not touting FreeBSD over Linux. Within the Unix-like community, and even within the Linux world, it’s easy to find heated arguments over the various versions of operating systems. It seems that no matter what software or computer system some people use, they will fight to the death to prove theirs is the best. I can only tell you that FreeBSD works well for us. For years, ComputorEdge.com ran well on a Linux box. The only reason that we didn’t continue was concerns for the age of the hardware. When we brought in new servers, we installed FreeBSD. Once Apache—the same Web server we used on the Linux computer—was installed, the movement of the site to the new machine was fairly simple.
I had to learn to use FreeBSD, but now I’ve developed a certain comfort level. I could go to a Linux computer and do many of the same things I do now, but there are just enough differences for it to feel foreign to me. I’m sure that this is true to some extent even when moving between versions of Linux.
The Linux world is taking many more steps toward making the individual user more comfortable with using it as a replacement for Windows. If I were looking to do that, then I would probably start with Linux. However, if your primary objective is to build a server—for the Web, e-mail, or another intensive application—it would be difficult to go wrong with FreeBSD. More…
pfSniffer? A non-firewall use for pfSense
Several years ago my company looked into getting Distributed Sniffer Appliances, made by Network General. These are devices that attach to an Ethernet segment (at a branch office) and allow you to remotely connect and pull traces. Ideally, we would have loved to have these in each remote location so that we could more easily troubleshoot problems that seemed to crop up regularly. They looks like very nice appliances, but Network General wanted an arm and a leg for each one, so we passed.
We recently had a need for this sort of thing and I had a great idea. Many months ago, I noticed that pfSense had added a very nifty feature called Packet Capture. Essentially, the pfSense WebGUI has an interface to tcpdump, allowing you to put in some simple filter criteria (source/destination IP Address) and have a trace executed on a particular interface. This is a really nice feature for troubleshooting your firewall, but I thought that this could be used to make a distributed “pfSniffer”. More…
New PC-BSD PBI Builder released
The PBI builder is a powerful command-line script system, which can be used to convert a FreeBSD port into a PBI file. The configuration for this process is stored as a module, which can then be used to rebuild the PBI automatically. Developers can then submit these finished modules to PC-BSD Software, where they will be added to a build server, which rebuilds the PBI every time the underlying port is updated. More…
Portscout Services Started!
Time to make my Portscout public for all.
What is Portscout? Portscout is a tool which looks for new versions of software in the
FreeBSD ports tree and potentially other software repositories. More…
SpamAssassin Installed in 10 minutes.
In our example we are going to install SpamAssassin from the ports. This example is suitable for a small company with up to few dozen of mailboxes. More…
For our Portugese speaking readers, here’s a 35 minutes pfSense Tutorial. Unfortunately not in Engish :-(
The pfSense development team has announced the release of version 1.2! This brings the features and bug fixes from more than 16 months of development since the 1.0 release. Already widely tested and deployed throughout the Release Candidate phase, this release provides the finishing touches on releases already proven in a wide range of network environments. The Release Candidate versions have been downloaded more than 250,000 times.
Wayne Richardson reviewed in total 7 different Linux and BSD firewalls back in Nov 2007 (ClarckConnect, Endian, Gibraltar, IPCop, m0n0wall, pfSense, SmoothWall) and compared them on basis of the following categories: setup, web-gui, extensibility and speed.
Since this is a FreeBSD blog I’ll just quote (with his kind permission) what he wrote about pfSense and m0n0wall. If you’re interested in the whole article and want to see how the BSD firewalls compare to Linux firewall, please refer to Wayne’s article.
pfSense was named the best firewall with a 95% pass rate; m0nowall received a 77% mark and was the smallest of the bunch.
A common misconception about pfSense is that it is intended as a rival to m0n0wall as a BSD-based firewall system, since they are similar in structure and goals. This is not the case; some developers even contribute to both projects. m0n0wall is targeted at a specific level of hardware platform, which is the Soekris or Wrap (a 486 133MHz with 64 or 128 Mb RAM and low power consumption). pfSense requires 128 Mb ram. Likewise, m0n0wall gets away with a >= 10Mb CF card, while pfSense really needs a 256Mb card or bigger.
pfSense is better in that it has more features, however m0n0wall is better in that it is smaller and simpler. Which of the two, m0n0wall or pfSense, you need, just depends on your (system/business) requirements.
Interesting link: BSD Firewalling, pfSense and m0n0wall (PDF – paper delivered at BSDCan2006)
The pfSense development team is happy to bring you the final release candidate in the 1.2 series (RC4)! The FreeBSD based pfSense firewall is designed to be a secure and easy to setup firewall server appliance. pfSense 1.2 promises a number of great features to make setting up a firewall easier and faster.
RC4 will be the last 1.2 release candidate. The final 1.2 release will come before the end of the month.
This is a summary of the changes since RC3:
Carla Schroder from Serverwatch.com recommended m0n0wall in the Tip of the Trade series
m0n0wall is a specialized implementation of FreeBSD + pf designed for routers and firewalls. It weighs in at well under 10 megabytes, while still delivering a complete operating system, a firewall, Web administration, traffic shaping services, a DNS and a DHCP server, SNMP, support for DynDNS updates, and a whole lot more. m0n0wall offers a nice pointy-clicky interface for setting up your stout pf firewall, but for ultimate power, you must write rules the from scratch. more…
The 9th beta of M0n0wall 1.3 was released yesterday. This beta release corrects problems with large configuration files, fixes an issue with bridging interfaces that support hardware checksum offload, and adds a kernel patch to allow m0n0wall to boot on Nokia IP110/IP120/IP130 boxes.