I tested EnGarde on the following machine: - An Intel Pentium 233mhz, 64 meg RAM, 6.4 gb Hard Disk, a Realtek RTL8139a Network Card.
EnGarde comes with a good manual and installation support.
I booted from the CD and after the EnGarde custom-made installation had booted I was presented with a choice of either a SCSI or IDE installation. I chose IDE.
You are then asked to choose between a Web Server or a Mail Server (you can configure the system to have both later). EnGarde then automatically partitioned the hard disk and installed its packages.
It then detected the network card (A Realtek 8139a) and prompted me to configure the network (IP address etc.). There were then prompts to configure a user and create a boot disk.
You are then required to reboot the system and are given the choice of running a secure or standard system, secure is the default.
You then need to connect to the machine using a SSL web interface on port 1023 (details are in the manual). In order to view the login page you have to accept the site’s security certificate. You then need to log in using the username and password provided in the manual. Unfortunately I was unable to view the login page using Netscape 6 or Opera (latest version) for Linux (although Netscape 4.7x did work). The windows IE did work though…
After logging in you can continue the installation by setting a ‘root’ password, (re)configure the network settings and add a list of allowed IP addresses to access the machine. There is also a prompt to configure your time zone but unfortunately you can only select US time zones which is a bit disappointing.
There are then prompts to configure the boot services which consist of: DNS, Mail Server, Web Server, IMAP server, POP3 Server and User Password Changer. You are then required to reboot AGAIN, sound familiar…..?
The features of EnGarde include time synchronisation with up to 3 Internet servers (you can use ntp.demon.co.uk for UK time), Tripwire, a log viewer and an update tool. The most notable feature is an E-Commerce store builder to allow you to create your own online store (but only if you’re in the US!). You can also add sub-domains and all sorts of complicated things that you may need on a professional Internet or Network server.
The security did appear to be high and the only methods of connecting to the machine are SSL and SSH and you are encouraged to set ‘strong’ passwords for your user accounts. After logging on to the web interface you are logged off after 15 minutes of inactivity.
EnGarde Secure Linux is a very powerful and secure Network, Internet and E-commerce server that seemed a bit out of place on my little home network but is definitely worth the $30 Guardian Digital charge for it. I would recommend it to anyone who wants this type of server.
The only criticism I have is the fact that it is clearly targeted at a US-only market which I feel is a bit of a waste and restricts the features available to non-US residents.
Thanks to Dave Wreski of Guardian Digital for providing us with a copy (complete with manual and assorted goodies) for test purposes.