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|Source model||Open source|
|Latest release||0.4.5 / March 30, 2014|
|License||GNU General Public License|
FREESCO is a floppy disk based router, which means that the entire system will run from a 1.44 MB floppy disk. It is also possible to run it entirely from RAM, in which case no disk activity occurs after startup. FREESCO works on any IBM compatible PC (i386 compatible spec or higher) and can be optionally installed to a hard disk. In practice this means Intel 80486SX or better, with 12 MByte. Preferably more than 16 MByte to enable servers.
The first major version of FREESCO was v0.2.7, originally made by Serguei Storozhevykh and continuously improved by Lewis 'Lightning' Baughman. Since then, the software has improved substantially and comes with many server programs, but many more can be downloaded and installed. Configuration is designed to be simple enough for those with minimal networking knowledge, but also very flexible.
The current version is v0.4.5, released on March 30th, 2014.
At present FREESCO allows the following out of the box:
- Ethernet bridging
- Ethernet routing
- Internet connection sharing (through NAT) of:
- Dialup connections
- DSL connections (including PPPoE and PPtP)
- Leased line connections
- Dial-in server
- HTTP and FTP servers
- DNS and DHCP servers
- SSH server
- Time server
- Print server (LPD)
The configuration system is designed to be very easy to understand and use, without being restrictive; FREESCO's setup utility uses a system of informative menus and prompts, with almost no need for the manual editing of configuration files. All the above listed features can be easily enabled, disabled, and configured through the setup utility, and are included on the floppy disk (with a small amount of room to spare).
Additionally, FREESCO comes with a package management utility similar to Debian (pkg -i ...), allowing the installation of software packages (those designed specifically for FREESCO only). Many such packages are available; for example, it is possible to install the Apache HTTP Server, mail servers such as exim,and the Windows Networking server "Samba".
FREESCO can mount partitions that use the FAT/FAT32 and Linux ext2 filesystems, and in conjunction with HTTP/FTP/Samba servers can be used as a robust file server.
More recent versions of Linux software (e.g. Apache 2) are often not available for FREESCO because they are not compatible with FREESCO's kernel. Also, newer hardware (such as Gigabit Ethernet cards) may not be usable under FREESCO due to an absence of their drivers for the 2.0.x Linux kernel. Many of the common Gigabit Ethernet cards do have support. FREESCO does not at present support load-balancing.
FREESCO does not support USB or wifi cards. It also suffers from limitations of the ext2 file system, namely it cannot handle files exceeding 2 gigabytes in size, not that this is generally an issue with a router.