Essential software for your home linux lan

I’ve just finished upgrading my sister’s pc, which we use to share a dial-up connection, to Mandrake 9.1. ( Yes-dialup, I’m 2 miles from AOL’s headquarters and the closest to broadband that I can get is wireless or satellite.) I can’t say that the install was a piece of cake – the installer crashed on me a couple times until I ran it in advanced mode, and although I did an upgrade first I had to go back and do a complete install for the distribution. Upgrade pains aside, the KDE 3.1 desktop looks very nice and polished, and the system feels more resposive.

I wanted to highlight two software packages that anyone using NAT over linux should be running:

  • First, if you are running Mandrake stay away from DrakConnect’s Internet Connection Sharing Wizard and uninstall the Shorewall firewall package. Instead go over and grab Firestarter. After spending hours trying to get drakconnect to share our connection I gave up. Firestarter had our connection shared and secured in under 5 minutes thanks to its setup wizard.
  • Second, you should be running the Squid Web Proxy Cache with this ad-zapping perl script. Thanks to it, our connection is used much more efficiently, keeping cached copies pages and images locally while avoiding most banner ads altogether

While I can’t claim our connection feels like a DSL connection, it definitely has more responsiveness to it and as I watch ms-rpc scans being blocked I can feel a bit more secure.