[Wolves] Linux firewall in 16MB ?

Andy Wootton andy.wootton at wyrley.demon.co.uk
Tue Jan 4 23:45:04 GMT 2005

I have a choice of two highly desirable antique PCs to use as a 
firewall. One is a a 486/66 and one a P133. The P133 has 16MB of memory 
and the 486 40MB. Either would have done the job a year ago.

I want to use a distro that is still being security patched but nothing 
seems to run in less than 64MB any more. I've tried an Ubuntu "custom" 
install (starts to install with 40MB then randomly hangs after a few 
hours of hard labour - without giving me any chance to enable the swap 
file). I read the spec. of Fedora (64MB for a text install!) and 
Smoothwall. The new Debian installer booted off floppies won't even run 
in 16MB.

In desperation I tried OpenBSD as a colleague has been suggesting for 
about a year. It seems to work fine in 16MB once you get past being 
dumped at the command line to partition your disk using a BSD jargon 
dialect. So well in fact that I'm thinking of having a go at getting a 
workstation running on the 40MB box. I don't like throwing stuff away.

Before I put in any more effort learning a new flavour of Unix, can 
anyone suggest a sensible Linux config. or tell any reason why OpenBSD 
would be a bad choice? I'm not ready to try Gentoo on a PC with a BIOS 
that won't boot off a CD. I've already spent about 3 days on this. I 
have a nice collection of boot floppies for my troubles though.


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