SmoothWall Express is a freely distributed and open source distribution of Linux founded by Lawrence Manning, Richard Morrell, Jon Fautley and Tom Ellis in summer 2000. It has been designed from the ground up to be used as a powerful and secure firewall or router.
Designed for ease of use, as well as to be simple to install by home users with no knowledge of Linux technologies, the distribution can be configured via a web-based user interface using any modern web browser.
Availability, boot options and supported platforms
The project is available for download as two CD-size ISO images that can be used to install the operating system on a local disk drive. The ISOs can be burned onto blank CDs or written to USB thumb drives. Both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware platforms are supported at this time.
The boot menu allows users to install the SmoothWall Express firewall with default settings or in advanced mode. In addition, it lets you to convert the ISO image to bootable flash, run the OS in single-user mode, as well as to explore the hardware and system.
The entire installation process takes place in the Linux console (text-mode). If you choose the standard installation method, you will only have to partition the hard disk drive in order to install the operating system.
Keep in mind that this is a server system and it has no graphical environment. Therefore, in order to enter the configuration interface, users must access the http://smoothwall:81 or http://smoothwall:441 using a web browser on another machine. The default username is "dial" and users should set a password for it from the get-go.
All in all, SmoothWall Express is a great little distribution capable of transforming any low-end computer into a hardened Internet firewall. It is easily installable and configurable by anyone, without prior knowledge of Linux technologies.