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a PicoBSD based firewall

PC, DHCP floppy boot
PC, PPPoE floppy boot
Net4501, PXE netboot
Net4501, Compact Flash Statically linked Perl

Supported NICs
README (net4501 pxe)
README (net4501 cf)

Source Forge Summary
theWall BBS
Browse CVS repository
FreeBSD Man pages
PicoBSD Copyright
Comments welcome!

More links...


What is theWall?

TheWall is a collection of PicoBSD configuration trees and prebuild binaries for various platforms that provides NAT and firewall services for a small network. The goal of theWall project is to allow a user to get going quickly without having to learn the details of building a PicoBSD release.

PicoBSD itself is really just a stripped down build of FreeBSD intended for use in small or embedded environments, not a separate OS. A typical PicoBSD system fits on a standard 1.44MB floppy or is programmed into flash on an embedded system. It runs on a minimum 486 CPU with 8MB of RAM, no hard disk is required. See /usr/src/release/picobsd on any recent FreeBSD release or for more information.

Warning: Some of the information on the FreeBSD web site about PicoBSD is very dated as are the documents included with the source. The PicoBSD FAQ is the best and most up to date reference I've found. If you really want to follow what's going on it's essential to subscribe to the freebsd-small mailing list. The FreeBSD web site also provides mailing list archives which can be browsed online.


  • Built from PicoBSD/FreeBSD 4.5
  • ipfw based firewall with natd
  • users may login via telnet or locally
  • ftp (client), tar and gzip are provided to facilitate transferring additional programs to flash based systems.
  • It is not necessary to compile anything or even have access to a FreeBSD system to configure and run theWall.
  • Network bootable, flash based and floppy based versions are available.

What platforms are supported ?

  • Generic 486 (or better) PC clone with 16mb (or more) RAM, floppy drive and two supported NICs (a hard disk is NOT required).
  • Soekris Engineering Net4501 card, PXE network bootable.
  • Soekris Engineering Net4501 card, compact flash bootable.

Why ?

Prebuilt binaries for PicoBSD are available on the FreeBSD web site, but those binaries haven't been updated in ages. PicoBSD is now part of the main FreeBSD tree so the binaries aren't really needed since you can recreate your own. However I've found the learning curve to be non-trivial and believe there's still a need for canned ready to load and use configurations. That's what this project is about.

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