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1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

FREESCO is a small (single floppy) distribution of Linux intended to be a replacement for minor models of Cisco routers.
NOTE: FREESCO stands for FREE ciSCO and has nothing common with SCO Unix.

Both, CISCO and FREESCO, have their positive and negative features. The main advantage of FREESCO is its price. Hehehe, you know this word, you like this word, you love this word, what can be sweeter then this word. :) FREESCO will cost you only your old dust-collecting 386 computer you were going to throw out few years ago. The main disadvantage of FREESCO - it doesn't have dynamic routing feature, it can be only a static router. Somebody can ask - "Why do we need FREESCO project? There is already LRP (Linux Router Project) which is more complex  then FREESCO." Well, the answer is - because most people don't need so complex solution as LRP is and because FREESCO has the easiest setup you've ever dreamt of. Just wipe out a dust from your 386 PC, connect it to network and after 10 minutes of setting up (of course including a break for a cup of coffee) your router will be ready.

FREESCO supports up to 3 ethernet cards and up to 2 modems.
Other features of FREESCO are:

  • Bridge mode
  • Firewalling and Network Address Translation
  • DNS Server
  • DHCP Server
  • HTTP Server (public and control purpose)
  • Telnet server (only one connection per time)
  • Print Server
  • Remote Access Server (up to 2 modems)
  • Time Server

So you can build a simple bridge or a simple router or a very complex router/server which includes all these features.
Setup procedure offers few basic configurations. Choose one and tune it by adding or removing features.

1.2 Requirements

  • CPU - any 386 or better
  • FPU - not required
  • RAM - min (with swap) 6 MB, normal (on the edge between swap/no swap) 8 MB, recommended 16 MB
  • FDD - 1.44 MB
  • HDD - not required for 8-16 MB RAM system, but recommended (for swap and for future extensions)
  • Ethernet adapter(s) - 3COM509, 3COM595, 3COM905, Realtek NE2000 compatible, Realtek NE2000 PCI compatible, ISA/PCI NE2000 compatible supported out of box. Many more other adapters supported via additional drivers you have to add manually from supplementary pack (it's easy, just choose appropriate driver and drop it in a:\router\drv directory).
  • Modem(s). Beware of winmodems, they will not work with FREESCO. If you have old 386/486 computer w/o FIFO'ed COM ports it's recommended to use internal modems as they come with built-in fast FIFO'ed port.
  • Read this manual at least once.
  • Some brains
  • TCP/IP networking knowledge (a must)

1.3 Definitions

  • ISP - Internet Service Provider
  • DNS - Domain Name Service (Server)
  • DHCP - Dynamic Host Control Protocol
  • WINS - Windows Internet Name Service (Server)
  • client - (usually in this manual) computer connected to local network
  • NAT - Network Address Translation

1.4 Warnings

  • Don't be lazy, read this manual carefully.
  • Never edit any config files from DOS. Always edit them from FREESCO or from another linux(unix).
  • Read manual
  • Before installation make sure your computer (router) is in a proper working condition and all hardware (ethernet cards, modems etc installed in it) work proper in this computer.
  • RTFM
  • Never use winmodems.
  • Before reporting of bugs and problems read this manual and a web support forum.
  • We do not provide help by e-mail, use the web support forum for getting help.

1.5 License