Potted History of Smoothwall, by Senior Developer – Lawrence Manning

July 2000

Richard Morrell and I form the basic idea and choose the name Smoothwall. I send a mail with subject “F*ck me it works!” after getting a basic web-based dialer (with config) to work on my desktop.

August 2000

Web front end is ‘specced out’. Toni Kuokkanen produces the Smoothwall logo & work begins on a stripped down (50mb) version of the Redhat distro. Smoothwall 0.9 is released on 30th August 2000.

Lots of bugs but it works! Modem only.

September 2000

I discover a nasty bug in 0.9 (forgot joliet support in kernel), release versions 0.9.1, 0.9.2, 0.9.3 and 0.9.4 within weeks of each other and practically faint (but refuse) when WatchGuard offer to fly me out to Seattle to talk about working for them.

October 2000

First test of VPN works successfully between 2 modems. We now have an ipchains-based firewall with a DHCP server, dns proxy, log viewer and VPN capability that can be installed from cdrom in less than 2 and a half mins. (Autoprobing VI … etc)

November 2000

0.9.5LF released. This was specially made for Linux Format (UK magazine). It added support for running an SSH server, to replace the original telnet server that was, prior to this release, included for low-level remote admin. It was also used as a staging post to get more features like ISDN and VPNs solid and useable by all.

December 2000

0.9.6 released. This was mostly a clean-up release that fixed niggling bugs. It also included support for multiple PPP profiles, for people who wanted to dial up to different ISPs.

April 2001

0.9.8 released. This was the last version of Smoothwall that had a web interface designed and implemented by myself alone. It was also the first Smoothwall to include support, out of the box, for people with connection methods other then modems. That is, it supported Ethernet-presented ISP connections, as well as ISDN. Other new features: Java-based console, portforwarding, a web proxy-cache, and an actual manual!

September 2001

0.9.9 released. This was a true milestone release, and was the first time that Smoothwall included significant code from someone other then me. Smoothwall properly “grew up” and included support for translation into approximately a dozen languages, a re-themed interface, web-installable updates, snort IDS, VPNIng via the web interface, and many other new features.

December 2002

1.0 released. This release was based on the venerable 0.9.9, with all patches preinstalled. The intention was to give people a known- good and reliable version while we worked towards the brand new kernel 2.4-derived 2.0 version.

December 2003

2.0 released. This version upgraded the kernel to 2.4, which gave Smoothwall much improved firewalling thanks to 2.4′s stateful packet inspection with iptables. Smoothwall GPL was officially retitled Smoothwall Express. This version added a revamped web interface (and introduced the “orange” theme), improved network setup, improved connectivity (more USB modems, and “BeWan” PCI ADSL support), time syncronisation, and improved VPNing abilities.

September 2005

3.0 Alpha released (code named Grizzly). Grizzly was a brand new approach to Smoothie development. For the first time, the building of Smoothwalls was not a black art requiring intimate knowledge of how Smoothwall was put together. Initally a private version controlled tree was used – later on we switched to Sourceforge. As well as build changes, Smoothwall was now running on the 2.6 kernel series, which provided greater driver support and gave us all the speed improvements in this new kernel series.

Decemeber 2006

3.0 Alpha released (code name Panda). After a pause, the road to 3.0 was again in sight.

May 2007

3.0 Beta releases (code named Koala and Degu). Koala was noteworthy because it was the first version of Smoothie ever to support archictectures other then standard 32bit PCs: in this case, we added support for 64bit Intel and AMD chips. It was also the first version to include a developement edition, which meant that smoothie could be used to work on smoothie and contribute back to the project. This release added support for a 4th interface (called BLUE) for use by people with wireless access points, as well as many other fixes. This version also had the usual UI work, a working MSN/ICQ/AIM logging proxy, POP3 Anti-Virus, bandwidth management and many other features.

July 2007

3.0 Release Candidate (code name Sammy). More bug fixes and minor improvements, and documentation was taking shape.

August 2007

Stable version of 3.0 released (code named Polar)

January 2009 through June 2011

SP1, 2 and 3 of Express 3.0 are released.  These were bugfix roll up releases.

June 2013

After another lengthy sleep, RC1 of Express 3.1 is released.  It is the first release to be produced almost entirely by the community outside of Smoothwall Ltd, and encorporates many improvements worked on by Neal Murphy, with help from others.  It includes a vastly improved build system, updated tool chains and compiler versions, as well as some small feature improvements.