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OS family Linux
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Latest preview 3.1 RC5[1]
Kernel type Linux (stable) / 3.4 (unstable)
Default user interface Web user interface
License Various
Official website


Smoothwall began life as Smoothwall GPL, a freely redistributable open source version, in August 2000, with a proprietary version sold by Smoothwall Ltd from November 2001. Smoothwall still maintains it's open source routes [sic] with Smoothwall Express still available today, however the main Smoothwall solution is now paid for and is in use my millions of users worldwide.[citation needed] The Smoothwall filtering and firewall products are typically sold into schools and business.

In 2017, Smoothwall announced a management buyout backed by Private Equity fund, Tenzing. The new management team is led by Michael Marks, previously Group COO at Smoothwall, who has now been appointed as Group CEO. Michael is joined by existing Board members Gavin Logan, Nicola Sharp and Terry Heath in the management of the Smoothwall business, along with Lisa Stone, who has taken the position as Chairperson.

Smoothwall Express[edit]

Smoothwall Express, originally Smoothwall GPL, is the freely distributable version of Smoothwall, developed by the Smoothwall Open Source Project team and members of Smoothwall Ltd.

Released in August 2000, Smoothwall GPL was developed by Lawrence Manning and Richard Morrell to provide a quick and easy-to-use solution to the problem of sharing their ISDN connections with the rest of their LAN. Created using Red Hat Linux, Smoothwall GPL originally had two simple functions: control the modem to dial and hang up, and to route TCP/IP packets from the LAN to the Internet connection, and back again. The LAN was hidden from the public network by NAT, applied using ipchains.

Beginning with 0.9 in August 2000, the Smoothwall GPL 0.9.x series went through several versions based on the 2.2 Linux kernel, culminating in 0.9.9 SE in December 2001, which was probably the most popular GPL release. Each release led to a number of improvements, including PAT (port address translation), DMZ, PSTN and ISDN dial-up support, broadband (ADSL and Cable) support.

Smoothwall GPL 1.0 was released in December 2002, including all previously released patches and security fixes, and ended development of the 0.9.x/1.0 series, although it was supported by errata updates for another year and a half.

Smoothwall was amongst the first software appliance firewalls, including Mandrake Single Network Firewall, ClearOS, m0n0wall, and IPCop, which was forked from Smoothwall GPL 0.9.9 in late 2001.

Smoothwall Limited[edit]

Smoothwall Ltd
Developer Smoothwall
OS family Linux
Working state Current
Source model Closed source
Latest release Advanced Firewall UTM / Guardian Web Security / Guardian Web Filter / School Guardian
Kernel type Linux 2.6
Default user interface web user interface
License Commercial
Official website [1]

In late 2001, Manning and Morrell, with George Lungley, formed Smoothwall Limited as a UK registered private limited company, company number 04298247. The company was formed to take the open source software and commercialise it, by expanding the software to include corporate and enterprise oriented functionality, and to provide dedicated support staff for customers to contact.

Based in Leeds and Fareham, with a USA office in Charlotte, NC, the company has continued to develop the commercial, closed source Smoothwall product range, while moving from its initial direct sales model to a reseller, channel-based sales model.

Past Products[edit]

Smoothwall Server Edition was the first product from Smoothwall Ltd., released on 11 November 2001. It was essentially Smoothwall GPL 0.9.9 with support included from the company. This was — as were virtually all future products — made available to purchase on CD-ROM directly from Smoothwall Ltd. by mail order.

Initially announced in January 2002, and priced at UKP30, but never released,[2] Smoothwall Home Server was an aborted attempt to tap into the home and residential market. It used the open source platform again as a base but included SmoothGuard, and would have permitted customers to make email support requests directly from Smoothwall Ltd.

Released on 17 December 2001, Smoothwall Corporate Server 1.0 was the first in a long line of separate, closed source releases from Smoothwall Ltd. Forked from Smoothwall GPL 0.9.9SE, Corporate Server included additional features such as SCSI support, and the capability to increase functionality via add-on modules. These modules included SmoothGuard (content filtering proxy), SmoothZone (multiple DMZ) and SmoothTunnel (advanced VPN features). Corporate Server was designed to become the backbone of all future products from the company, with the module functionality permitting customers to select the exact level of functionality they required. Further modules have been released over time, each providing a particular set of functionality, such as traffic shaping, and e-mail anti-virus and anti-spam.

After Daniel Barron, author of DansGuardian, joined the company in April 2002, a variant of Corporate Server called Smoothwall Corporate Guardian was released, integrating a fork of DansGuardian called SmoothGuardian. Corporate Guardian is a stand-alone web proxy, cache and filtering solution. SmoothGuardian was also made available as a stand-alone module for Corporate Server customers, replacing the SmoothGuard module.

School Guardian was created as a variant of Corporate Guardian, adding Active Directory/LDAP authentication support and firewall features in a package designed specifically for use in schools.

When released on 13 June 2005, version 4 of Corporate Server was renamed to Corporate Firewall. In February 2008, Corporate Guardian was renamed to Network Guardian with the release of the 2008 version.

Released on 9 May 2005, Smoothwall Advanced Firewall targeted the enterprise market directly by bundling Corporate Server with all available add-on modules, and adding further functionality, including Active Directory, eDirectory & LDAP authentication and the capability to use up to 20 network interfaces with external connection load balancing.

In April 2007, the company released the SmoothGuard UTM-1000[3] hardware appliance, based on a commodity Intel Core 2 Duo 1U 19-inch rack-mountable chassis. The UTM-1000 came pre-installed with a variant of Smoothwall Advanced Firewall.


  • Linux Format, Best Security Tool, 2001[4]
  • SC Magazine, Best Buy SME firewall, 2005


  1. ^ "Smoothwall Express 3.1 Release Candidate 5 available for testing". 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  2. ^ "Home Server Nearing Release, Screenshots Released". 2002-01-09. Archived from the original on 2002-02-14. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  3. ^ "Product Reviews: Smoothwall UTM-1000". January 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  4. ^ "Smoothwall Voted Best Security Tool In Linux Format Awards". 2002-04-26. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 


External links[edit]