m0n0wall vs pfSense; similarities & differences

pfSense logoA 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.

M0n0wall logopfSense 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)

pfSense 1.2 RC4 released

pfSense logo 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:
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m0n0wall tipped, screencasts and beta9

M0n0wall logoThe m0n0wall project now offers a couple of screencasts that walk you through different configuration steps of a m0n0wall. Since pfSense is based on m0n0wall, some of them apply to pfSense as well.

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.

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).
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Where is pfSense 1.2?

The release of pfSense 1.2 has been delayed which has been caused by a number of minor issues. The developers want 1.2 to be the beste release ever, hence their concentrating on (potential) bugs.

1.2-RC4 can be expected some time in the next couple of weeks and then final tests for a week or so, followed with the final release. So if all goes well, 1.2 should be released around the 3rd week of January.

Source: pfSense blog (29/12/2007)

Interested in a pfSense training course?

Chris and Scott, 2 pfSense developers, are considering putting together a 4 hour training course on pfSense, starting from an introduction and installation, and covering as much material as possibly can be done in 4 hours (4 hours is the max duration of a training slot at BSDCan 2008). The tutorial cost in previous years was something like $50. If the proposal is accepted, the course will take place in May 2008 in Ottawa, Canada.If you’re interesed in this course, just drop Chris an email.

LinuxReality Podcast: M0n0wall and pfSense

LinuxReality.com (a site with Linux related podcasts – similar to the BSD focused bsdtalk.blogspot.com) has posted a podcast (episode 84) that focuses on Linux and (network) security. In this episode Paul Asadoorian and Larry Pesce of the Pauldotcom Security Weekly Podcast are interviewed.

Amongst the many things discussed, M0n0wall and pfSense are also mentioned.

Download the podcast: MP3 or OGG