On this day eight years ago, Advanced Policy Firewall (APF) version 0.5 for Linux was publicly released. Since then, APF has stood the test of time and still remains to this day, one of the most widely used Linux firewall solutions, with especially high usage in the web hosting industry.
I was 18 years old when APF first met the world, I was a very different person back then and so to was the web hosting industry. There was but a handful of dedicated server providers, it was a time when Cobalt RAQ’s still dominated a large part of the leased server market and white-box leased servers were quickly starting to pickup momentum from providers such as rackshack.net. As every other person tried to start a web hosting business, it quickly became clear on many industry forums and websites that there lacked an easy-to-use firewall solution that was also comprehensive. This is where APF came in, it gave to the masses a simple, usable and stable firewall suite for servers that were typically managed by individuals with very little to no experience in Linux ipchains and later iptables firewalling.
The project has seen in excess of 400,000 downloads to date or 55% of all downloads in the last 10 years on rfxn.com, the latest versions which retrieves data daily from rfxn.com reports that there is over 24,000 active APF installations with these features enabled, countless thousands more with them disabled or legacy releases, and countless more applications ship with APF integrated. In excess of 1,700 separate corporate, governmental and organizational networks report using APF (through ASN tracking) and roughly 260,000 web sites are directly protected by APF (through domainsbyip.com tracking). Any google search on APF or related terms quickly brings up tens of thousands of references to the project in an assortment of installation , usage and best practice guides.
It is clear APF is a force, it is here to stay, sure there is much that can be improved upon it and that will come with time but for now, let us acknowledge that this has been a good 8 years for APF and here is to many more, happy birthday APF and Long live open source software 🙂