The Way Forward

It is hard to believe the year is almost done and gone already, it has been busy for me with some life drama earlier in the year then a couple of larger projects keeping me on my toes since then.

During the last few weeks I have taken the time to draft a solid road map for the projects and where I would like them to be by this time next year. The road map evolved in very organic fashion with me jotting down a few points here and there every day, now it is pretty long but very constructive. It is not really something formal enough for me to release in its retarded disorganized point-form fashion but I will touch on a few items.

The biggest community oriented change will be bringing the projects source to a svn/git management system with the usual web interfaces to go with them and allow public bug/contrib additions/tracking. This to some might seem like a really long overdue task but you need to understand that the projects to this point have been developed to cater to my administrative needs day-to-day with work and secondary to the community. Although I will still put priority on features I require, it will become easier for others to submit contributions and assist with bug tracking, hopefully allowing for a more robust set of projects in the end.

The next big ticket item on the road map is the integration of projects into a suite utility which is a long standing desire of mine and others but it requires allot of work. I have decided that it is best to just completely rewrite many of the projects instead of trying to hack them into some half-ass suite utility. The age of APF and BFD is beginning to show, they no longer really compete with some other tools and in certain cases even find themselves dragging behind in performance, features and usability. I intend to modernize the projects by rewriting them in cleaner (read: documented) code with clear project targets that are better outlined from the start along with features that will blow other Linux firewall wrappers and security suites out of the water. I do not want to get into the actual gritty details of specific plans yet but things are definitely going to change in a good way.

On smaller items there is about 40 odd specific items I have put down to paper, that range from feature additions, enhancements, rewrites, bug fixes and contrib additions that need to be worked on either in conjunction with the suite project or before it can even get off the ground. Though these are tedious tasks they are all things that must be done and will get done, I will detail further on these actual items in a future post but for now it is only important to keep in mind that the suite will not beat around the deficiencies of the smaller projects, everything will get some TLC.

I know this post is not that forthcoming in specifics but stay tuned, I will get the road map cleaned up and posted soon. One of the new projects that will become part of the suite will be a malware detection utility primarily for web servers which you can read more about here.

New Site, At Last!

It has been on my plate for a long time now to redo the R-fx Networks site, although this process began some years ago with a few incarnations of new sites developing behind the scenes, none ever made it into production. In the end I drew the conclusion that sometimes simpler is better, so here we have it – the new R-fx Networks site – devoted to the projects and my personal work as a whole.

Where I want to go with this new site is explained a bit in the about us section, so head on over there if you have not already read it.

To elaborate though on some of the specifics, one of the larger tasks ahead is converting what documentation there is on the projects into an online format outside that of the older README files. This will allow for much easier management of the documentation on my part along with search capabilities through the site to find whatever you may need to know for a particular project. This task is not without hurdles, the real issue is that most of the projects are severely lacking in the way of consistent and complete documentation, so I have my work cut out for me.

While the documentation work is being done I will also be looking to fill the site with content relating to all things Linux, Networking and more. For instance, an index of reference links to off site articles relating to the projects will be created to assist new and older users alike with articles that may interest them in how others utilize our projects, customize them or just plain old installation guides. You will also on occasion have to put up with my own personal blogs, which I will try to keep on point with the projects, my job, industry interests or something that has a semblance of relevance (don’t worry no twitter type stuff here).

Finally, the biggest task of all through the end of this year will be another thing that has been on my todo list for a long time, that is the unification of the projects into a singular application, a suite program if you will. All the projects share the common goal of improving the integrity and security of Linux servers and with that it makes sense that they should share a common installation and management suite. This task though is one that requires allot of planning in addition to fundamental changes in how some of the projects operate and even complete rewrites of others, so please be patient and I will detail more on this later.

I will wrap up there and hope that you find the new site, as it evolves, both useful and informative.