m0n0wall, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Once again, I’m afraid I must sing the praises of m0n0wall. In recent releases, the developer has added support for traffic shaping, something I’ve never seen in a point-and-click style firewall. Despite knowing nothing about traffic shaping, I was able to read some examples on the m0n0wall website and set up some rules that have greatly improved the perceived speed of my connection. It’s so easy, I feel guilty that I didn’t have to pay for it.

Well, okay, maybe I don’t feel guilty.

A few years ago I paid around $120 for a Linksys BEFSR41, which has limited support for DHCP, NAT, and one or two other things via an ugly and unfriendly web interface. The software is proprietary and riddled with security holes. Meanwhile, I could have downloaded m0n0wall for free, thrown it on any old machine I had sitting around, and I’d have had a real firewall running a real operating system with developers who actually care about security.

It’s not uncommon for an open source product to be better than a competing commercial product, but it is uncommon for an open source product to be both better than and easier to use than a competing commercial product. m0n0wall rocks.