SmoothWall and DansGuardian FAQ
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What is this page for?

This page is to clarify the relationship between DansGuardian, the original author of DansGuardian, the Smoothwall Company (Smoothwall Ltd) and its commercially supported Smoothwall products.

What is Smoothwall Limited?

Smoothwall Ltd is a company that produces commercial security applications that were originally derived from the output of the Smoothwall Open Source Project.

What is Smoothwall Express?

Smoothwall Express is a Linux based firewall produced by the Smoothwall Open Source Project Team and is supported by volunteer members of the team. The Open Source Project is entirely funded by the Smoothwall Company and makes some use of its permanent staff to produce any security patches that may be needed, so ensuring they are quickly available. Smoothwall Express is designed with home users in mind and is completely free and Free to use, download and distribute under the terms of the GNU General Public License, under which it is licensed. For more information see smoothwall.org (the Smoothwall Open Source Project site).

What is DansGuardian?

DansGuardian is a command line web content filter engine daemon, implemented in C++, originally written by Daniel Barron with contributions by many people. Until recently it was developed and maintained by staff on the Smoothwall payroll, headed by Philip Allison. But now a community source code maintainer looks after patches, features and development. It is similar in nature and configuration to other binary daemons such as squid, bind, apache and so on. DansGuardian does require some knowledge of the Linux (or other unix-like) operating system and its utilities (such as editors) in order to be able to compile, install and configure the software. DansGuardian is copyright Daniel Barron. 'DansGuardian' is a registered trademark of Daniel Barron. It is distributed from the DansGuardian web site.

What is the relationship between DansGuardian and the Smoothwall Company?

DansGuardian was originally written by Daniel Barron. Daniel Barron is also Technical Director of Smoothwall. He has contributed, to a varying degree, code to all versions of Smoothwall GPL and the Smoothwall commercial versions. He is legally obliged to act in the interest of the company and this includes any work on DansGuardian. Until recently Smoothwall made use of DansGuardian in its commercial products, but now they use a completely written-from-scratch filtering engine code named G3. It includes all the IP gained over many years of developing DansGuardian. G3 is closed source.

What are the differences between DansGuardian and Smoothwall Guardian?

That's a bit like saying what are the differences between the Linux kernel and Red Hat Linux. One is just a small but critical component of the other but with a huge amount of added services, software and so on. The following are some of the main features and benefits of Smoothwall Guardian that are not included with DansGuardian:
  • 10 minute easy non-technical install
  • No requirements for command line configuring, installing or compiling
  • Superb web based easy to use interface
  • Multiple user groups supports different filtering policies that can be varied by time of day which integrate with Microsoft Active Directory®, Novell eDirectory™ and other LDAP user authentication systems
  • Log viewer with comprehensive filtering
  • Very large range of reports (eg most blocked users, bandwidth utilization) with a template facility to create your own reports
  • Detailed documentation and help pages that are kept up-to-date
  • Full commercial support (telephone, email and worldwide reseller network)
  • Daily incremental updates to the large categorised blocklists (URLs, domains, words+phrases, malicious content detection etc.)
  • Automatic patching and upgrade system
  • Settings backup system
DansGuardian is perfect for the technical computer enthusiast that maybe wants to make their own custom changes to the software. Smoothwall Guardian is for those that don't want to write, compile and maintain their own software - people who want ease of use, good management and reporting features, with the assurance of professional product support.

How can Smoothwall Resellers sell Smoothwall Guardian when you can get DansGuardian either for free (for non-commercial users) or cheaper?

That's a bit like saying why buy a firewall when the Linux kernel, squid, apache and so on are given away for free. It is because the Smoothwall Company has created a superb amalgamation of many powerful Open Source components and made them very easy to install and use. It is not necessary to have a good knowledge of Linux to be able to install and use the commercial Smoothwall products. Customers also benefit greatly from the services offered by the worldwide network of Smoothwall Resellers, such as consultancy, installation, to get fully maintained updates and support (eg telephone, email, on-site etc.), with the backing of the Smoothwall's full-time staff.

Page last modified: 17 July 2014 13:48:59
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