SmoothWall - Project Update and Thanks

This is an update on where we're up to with regards the project. This is a brief report so bear with me, the updated monthly PDF which will now become a regular feature on the 5th of each calendar month will be freely available from SourceForge and the SmoothWall website later this week.

SmoothWall has continued to get really good editorial cover this month in the IT press and Linux media both online and also traditional printed press. Lawrence and I were very proud to see SmoothWall described in such glowing terms and are both grateful for the solid backing of Wildfire PR and Renauld Larsen at VA Marketing, and the advice and support of Nick Veitch of Linux Format and Trevor Parsons and Maggie Meer of Linux User in the UK.

Windows NT Show

Some of you may be surprised to hear that SmoothWall went down very well at this weeks UK Windows NT Show which ran this week at Olympia. A big box of SmoothWall CD's was snapped up by eager punters very quickly and we also managed to clothe a lot of subscribers to Linux User magazine in VA Linux shirts much to the consternation of several MS related companies.

ISDN:

Eicon contacted us on Friday and have been amazing in giving us free a wealth of Eicon ISDN hardware as a donation to the project. Thanks to Adrian at Eicon and Steve Newcombe at PCS for their help. This will enable us to move ahead very quickly now. We've also been approached by Mark Wormgoor of Cistron in Holland who is a key developer of the ISDN code portions in the Linux Router Project. We are hoping that this will allow us to push ahead with splitting the ISDN scripting out of our project plans and into a new avenue of development that will compliment where we are going.

Dual Ethernet:

Eric J and Chris McMahon have been finding time to weave some
transatlantic magic and are working on the dual ethernet bits and
pieces. This is no mean feat if you take into account Eric hasn't slept
properly since 1982 and must be surviving on caffeine.

User Interface and features

Lawrence is burning the midnight oil to come up with new feature
management tweaks in the SmoothWall web interface, a new menubar, new colour scheme, SSH management tweaking, and is currently working on Multiple ISP stuff. We are hoping to work towards a release of 0.9.6 on Sourceforge and our mirrors towards the end of this week.

CD availability

UK - CD's of 0.9.6 will be available after Christmas on the front cover
of Internet Works magazine and will also be available at a very cost
effective price from CheepLinux via their website at http://www.cheeplinux.com in the coming weeks, we will be releasing them an ISO image in the next four or five days so give them some time to get an announcement out via the SmoothWall website, the UKLINUX website and we'll also get this carried in Linux Magazine, the ever helpful Linux Format and Linux User and also in Micro Computer Mart.

We are interested at talking to any US or North American Linux outlet
who is interested at creating ISO's for the marketplace from our code.
All enquiries back to me directly.

US CD's

We are talking to Kenn and Brian from Maximum Linux who are carrying the 0.9.4 image on this months front cover. We are featuring in an editorial article in either the next issue or an upcoming issue and we will be doing some co-branding with them towards getting a CD on the front cover with a good PR launch in the US during January extending into Canada.

The Rest of Europe

We are looking to get the internationalisation engine built into an
upcoming release of SmoothWall - this will allow us to add in the
multi-country support modules that we are designing/contemplating. We are low on resources and need help from C and Perl programmers in the following countries:

France
Germany
Italy
Norway
Sweden
Portugal/Brazil
Spain

We are also aware that there has been a take up of SmoothWall in China and Japan. I have had several emails from users in mainland China and even seen two websites on Smoothwall in Chinese territories - frightening.

Hardware assistance

We're reached a plateau. I can free up some spare old P100/P133's this week and have just given Lawrence an old PPro200 server for testing for multiple ethernet. We also may try and rescue a Compaq Proliant server of mine and a K6-2 powered Prosignia for the Dual Ethernet stuff. I may have some Dells I can recycle if I have time.

I'm digging deep and spending more cash on infrastructure hardware for the project and would like to try and re-emphasise once more that this project survives on our ability to recycle old hardware. So far I've
been buying redundant PC hardware from www.commonside.co.uk and Morgans and donating it to the project. Nick Veitch from Linux Format sounded the right note by printing our request for redundant hardware in the editorial feature this month but we've had no replies or responses and we need to be able to supply old P75/P100 workstations to the likes of Tom Gilbert (of Enlightenment), Dan Cuthbert on the security team, Jon Fautley and the documentation team that we're building as well as to any other developers who need/want it. I already have a full enterprise level network in my lab at home but have reached a point where I can't donate any more hardware without losing a server that I actually rely on for my work.

NEW hardware is not our request: what we want ideally is ex-corporate hardware P75/P100 upwards. These are ideal SmoothWall servers and there must be companies out there looking to push this stuff out or even 2 / 3 yr old IT inventory that we can get patch tested, and then deployed to developers who need kit.

Use your eyes and ears and tell people about our needs.

We also need to re-affirm our commitment stateside to the SmoothWall US team and find them resources and hardware and increase their profile. That is very high on my agenda.

Beg, tell people about SmoothWall, barter, trade your children (joke),
we need to find hardware to keep this moving at a pace where we can
effectively look to March to release a 1.0 release with the VPN, Dual
Ethernet and all the features we want. We reckon that if 0.9.6 has the
visibility that we hope it deserves on the back of our last two releases
that by the New Year we'll have penetrated 100,000 homes, small offices and businesses. That would more than re-iterate our position as the number 1 OpenSource security project on the planet right now and would enable us to really concentrate on putting resource into LUG's who desperately need it and into the community to help start and secure the future of new OpenSource projects as well as the future of SmoothWall.

We already have approaching 65,000 users and with over 200,000+ CD's in circulation this month it means we can really get some huge groundswell in getting people to understand the power of "embracing" Open Source.

This is a project that has made a lot of people feel good, none of us
anywhere have made a dime out of SmoothWall and if you're using
SmoothWall and you've taken time to sit and read some of the cool things that people are saying about it then I guarantee that you are going to like the way we are going.

We all do this in our spare time and when we hit the marketplace with a product developed in a community of people who enjoy doing this stuff, then it proves that we're putting our shirts on the right horse.

I'm very proud of all of your achievements in the growth of SmoothWall
and I hope you are all pleased with the new look and feel of 0.9.6 and
the direction and focus we are taking.

Regards

Richard Morrell
Project Manager and co-author - SmoothWall
SE - VA Linux Inc.
email: richard@linux.com
http://www.smoothwall.org
http://sourceforge.net/projects/smoothwall

Posted by Richard Morrell 2000-11-25