Happy New Year

by Michael Tremer, December 31, 2021

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As 2021 is nearing its end, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us making it another successful year. Whether that is by being a loyal user, contributing to the project in any shape or form, or by helping us to promote the project and telling all your colleagues and friends about your most favourite firewall.

It has been a chaotic year - there is probably no way to hide that it has been a rollercoaster because of the pandemic still not being over. It has impacted us through a large loss of funding and motivating ourselves has been challenging throughout the year. But objectively, we have been strong and released a whopping eight releases. This is a little bit lower than last year, but the releases were bigger and packed a large number of improvements and new features:

  • We have massively boosted network throughput in IPFire, where especially smaller hardware is benefitting, but larger systems are able to transfer another couple of tens of gigabits. The Intrusion Detection System can offload any streams it can no longer analyse which bumps up throughput for those because there is no more overhead any more
  • One-Click IPsec VPNs with Mac OS X & iOS
  • We tackled some security problems that affected virtually any firewall in the world and got named NAT Slipstreaming
  • Live Graphs
  • Fast Flux Detection
  • WPA3 Client Support
  • Long-standing bugs around DNS have been resolved and we fixed hundreds of problems throughout the whole distribution making IPFire a lot smoother to use - even in difficult environments
  • We removed Python 2 and upgraded a large number of packets to keep IPFire a very modern and hardened operating system. Most important is that we migrated from Linux 4.14 to 5.15 (pun not intended).
  • IPFire runs on my hardware than ever since we have added loads of device drivers for modern networking hardware, support for many ARM single-board computers and we have added support for ARM on AWS

With just under 2000 commits to our master branch, it has been a record year with an increase of over 20% compare to 2020. And all that by only 17 contributors of which five have been first-time contributors. But of course development is only one part of the project. There have been plenty of people who have contributed to the documentation on our wiki spending endless days and night explaining how to use IPFire; plenty of people have been helping each other our debugging problems and giving advice on our IPFire Community Portal. All of this, and many more tasks are essential to keep the project going and I would like to thank each and everyone of you to be a part of our community.

Retiring i586 and Hardware Woes

As announced earlier this year, we are going to retire support for the i586 architecture, which will free up lots of time spent on testing. We urge everyone who didn't already to upgrade to the 64 bit version as soon as possible to get more performance and much better hardening for your system.

Just like the last couple of years, hardware security issues have kept us busy as well as security problems in some third-party software. The ecosystem is not in its best state which is causing us a lot of work where we, although there is a fix available, have to investigate whether IPFire is affected, what can be done and in the end test the fix for any regressions. Often that is difficult when we do not have access to hardware that is affected or where we simply have to act fast. Unfortunately this has limiting us a lot this year, and in the end there are often very small changesets committed to our source code repository and there is only one line in the change log - although it has been work for days and weeks.

We Are Ready For 2022!

Let's hope that things will change for the better in 2022. I am certainly looking forward to it and see it becoming the best year we have had, yet!

We have a lot planned and we hope that we can continue to grow and achieve our goals. Having started a lot of smaller projects within IPFire and having another update that is ready for testing, we have a very busy schedule and we are absolutely happy with that.

Please help us out, if you didn't already do so, and donate to the project. We really any support that we can get to bring IPFire forward and to keep doing what we are doing: Making the Internet a safer place for everyone.

If you already contributed, I would like to say Thank You an behalf of all of us here. We could not do it without the support from our community and it is great to have such a great one behind us.

Happy New Year!