By on January 2, 2006

I’ve installed hot-rodded Linksys routers in a couple of places now, and while they work great, there was one feature I missed from the Cisco PIX box I had used previously: the handy GUI that the PIX provided to manage firewall rules. The GUI on the PIX was very nice, even if it did have a tendency to break every time a new Java version came out (it’s a Java applet).

The other day I found FWBuilder, which is a beautiful GUI for managing your firewall rules. It supports my Linksys routers, as well as a bunch of other firewall products, including the ol’ PIX, and even Mac OSX (sorry, no Windows, but you wouldn’t use that for a firewall, right? right?).

You can build your firewall rules from scratch, or start with a few templates that are provided for common configurations. When you’re done, the program saves the rules in an XML file, then compiles them into a script that can be run on the target device. It will even SSH into the firewall and load the rules for you. Very slick.

One of the best pieces of open source software I’ve come across in a while. It’s obviously written by someone who’s eating their own dog food, since it does the right thing at every turn. It even lets you version-control the rules file, so you can revert back to an old version when you realize too late that you have shut off all net access.

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