[clug] Using a laptop as a firewall

Jacinta Richardson jarich at perltraining.com.au
Fri Feb 22 02:09:21 GMT 2008

Nathan O'Sullivan wrote:

> Has anyone had any experience with this? Are there any downsides I'm not
> seeing, and does anyone have suggestions on old laptop brands I should
> look into that will work well with linux?

I don't know how "old" you're planning to go, however my Dell Inspiron 8600 (4+
years old) runs Ubuntu Feisty without a hitch (wireless, power management and
all), and I'm sure would be more than up for replacing our server if it got to
that.  I've generally heard good things about Dell laptops + linux so it would
probably work fine if you went older too.

The big thing you'd want to be sure about is battery life and charger quality.
Batteries will die over time, but they're replaceable.  Chargers can fail too
where they pass through power, but won't *charge* the battery.  These too are
replaceable (I've got one).  Note it's hard to tell whether you've got a crap
battery or a crap recharger if you've only got one of each.

I know servers are generally plugged in all of the time, but one is more likely
to rely on the battery if it's available, and you don't want to kill your server
just by pulling it out of the cupboard when you wanted to turn the screen on and
find out what's wrong.  (Power cables come out of laptops much easier than towers).

All the best,


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