Marco Marongiu's articles

Firewall consistency with Firewall Builder

(This article was edited by Mike Horn)

In the past I've already published articles and interviews on FSM about Firewall Builder (or FWB in short). The reason is simple: the tool kept evolving during the years, improving the features it already had and adding interesting new ones.

During these years I've not being using the tool regularly since I am not a Network Administrator. But I can say that every time I had a firewalling problem at hand, where I needed to prototype and test iptables configurations quickly, this tool never betrayed me!

This time we'll talk about how FWB helps you to configure multiple firewalls in a consistent way. We won't be talking about firewalling per se, so you can still benefit from reading this article even if you don't have deep firewalling, networking or security knowledge.

The examples in this article are based on Firewall Builder v4.2. NetCitadel recently announced the release of Firewall Builder 5 which includes some minor changes in the GUI, so some screenshots in this article may look slightly different from what you would see in v5.

Firewall Builder: an interview with Vadim Kurland

About two years ago I published an article about Firewall Builder. Now that the version 3.0 is out I had a catch-up interview with its creator, Vadim Kurland, and I discovered a number of new interesting features.

MM: Hi Vadim, and thanks for answering my questions. You are the main author of Firewall Builder (FWB), but your name seldom appears even on the website www.fwbuilder.org. So, just before we start diving deep in FWB, would you like to briefly introduce yourself?

Free software is not politics: petitions for the Italian elections

I have been saying this for many years: free software must not be associated with an ideology or political party. Doing that would:

  1. be an utter falsity;
  2. damage our ability to advocate.

I am not the only one with this opinion! As you may know, we'll have elections in Italy next Sunday and Monday, and the Italian Association for Free Software is now promoting two remarkable initiatives.

Skype now has no free software competitor. Or has it?

The word is finally out. It was just a suspicion about a month ago, but it was finally, sadly, confirmed.

The OpenWengo project ceased to exist last November, and all the developers have been laid off. You may want to read the whole thread and see how much sadness there is amongst the developers and the community. All of the developers have to find other jobs, while we, the community, have to find some good alternative VoIP & IM software.

And it's going to be hard.

Customizing your screensaver in GNOME

One popular screensaver in Ubuntu is “Floating Ubuntu”, which displays a number of Ubuntu logos floating around the screen. This screensaver exists in many different flavours; for example in Ubuntu you can also find “Floating Feet”, that has the GNOME logo instead of Ubuntu’s; or, on Debian you have Debian’s “swirls” floating around. I thought that it would probably be easy to customize it and have an image of my choice floating around instead. Unfortunately, screensavers in Ubuntu are not configurable using the GUI so I had to hack the screensaver myself. Here’s how I did it.

Vodafone goes free software and does it very, very well!!!

Days ago I was appointed as the on-call support on our TIBCO installation. So I have been given a personal mobile phone, a personal laptop and, lastly, a Vodafone Mobile Connect Super UMTS card. You may well be interested in the fact that Vodafone Spain developed a Linux driver, the card seems to work very well with Linux, and that it was quite easy to configure it!

I am going to describe how I configured it to work with Vodafone Italia as the provider. Please feel encouraged to comment on this entry and fill in the configuration you made for your own Country or distribution. What follows is the configuration for Ubuntu 7.04.

Firewall Builder

Have you ever wanted to configure a personal firewall for your GNU/Linux box, but were scared of the complexity of iptables? Well, I might not be able to make you a security expert, but I can show you a tool that will help you to configure your personal firewall the easy way. The secret? Firewall Builder (also known as fwbuilder for short).

Life and death in the IT world: a two-month summary

For the few that liked my blog and, after a couple of months of silence, thought that I was dead... well I am alive and kicked (no that’s not a typo; I know it should be “kicking”, but the reality is that I feel like I’ve been kicked in my back). What happened... well, a lot of work and, finally, a two-week holiday in Brittany kept me out of the real World. And, now that I am back, I am taking a look around. A number of new interesting news items stand out from the rest.

Towards Wengophone 2.1 - an interview with Philippe Bernery and Dave Neary of the OpenWengo project

On March 23rd the OpenWengo project released the second release candidate of their Wengophone, a free software VoIP client with integrated support for SMS, video calls, conferencing, and Instant Messaging for many protocols. So, while they are steadily moving towards the final 2.1 release and I am filing bugs on their trouble ticket system, I had the pleasure of interviewing two of their “frontmen”: Philippe Bernery and Dave Neary.

Wengophone getting ready for round 2(.1)

Update: March 12th, 2007: The 2.1 RC1 is officially out. Go get it

With voice and video calls, file transfer capability and support for almost every instant messaging system on the planet, Wengophone candidates itself as the main free software competitor to Skype. With the 2.0 release, a pretty unstable, beta quality release, they failed the first attempt. What about the second?

MP3: What’s piracy, what's not (at least in Italy)

This post is actually a continuation of the two I posted in December, which left a couple of open questions:

  1. Is it legal to create MP3 files out of music CDs you legally own, to take them away with you and listen to them more comfortably (e.g.: with an iPod, or an MP3-enabled car stereo)?
  2. Is it legal to create MP3 files out of music CDs you legally own and then lend the original CDs to someone else?

The answer, of course, depends on the laws of the country you live in.

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