La Laptop Nikita

I named the machine after the Luc Besson film La Femme Nikita and not the trashy US remake nor its silly TV series.

network info

  • Local Network IP:
  • Wifi Network IP:
  • Function: Laptop
  • OS: Gentoo Linux


Sony Vaio FX209k Laptop.

  • Intel Pentium III 1ghz (1961.98 BogoMIPs)
  • 256mb RAM
  • 30gb HDD
  • Sony Vaio 15" SXVGA TFT
  • Intel i810 video
  • Intel eepro100 Fast Ethernet card

I named the machine after possibly the most famous Anime[?] of all time… Akira (and now, after a long wait the DVD of which proudly sits on my shelf).

It’s current location in my home is under my desk in my bedroom to my right as can be seen in the photos.


  • Local Network IP:


  • Function: Firewall[?], Router[?]
  • OS: Gentoo Linux
  • Pentium 200mhz MMX (399.76 bogomips[?])
  • 40MB RAM
  • 2GB Hard disk
  • 10mb Ethernet card
  • Two very dodgy CD-ROM drives
  • A keyboard, but no mouse
  • A monitor which remains turned off most of the time


akira once ran smoothwall Linux. akira now runs Gentoo Linux and I probably wont be writing a guide for that.



No screenshots because it has no GUI, this allows it to make the most of system resources.

A desktop named wataru

The name wataru comes from a character in an Anime called A wind named Amnesia, or ‘Kaze no na wa amunejia’ if you prefer.

network info

  • Local Network IP:
  • Function: Desktop PC
  • OS: Gentoo Linux (for real work), Windows 98 (for games)

config files

These are here for my benefit, more than anything else, but you are welcome to pilfer through and steal stuff from them.


Installation of akira

obtaining a copy

Smoothwall is most easily available from their site, where they have a page dedicated to download mirrors. The download is about 20MB, so wont take too long to obtain on a 56k modem.

It may also be possible to get a copy on the front of a magazine as I did, but the website will always have the latest copy.


Before you can install, you need to burn the download to CD-ROM as it is a CD-ROM ISO image. I used Nero (A Windows CD burner), however the Nero documentation does not go out of its way to tell you how to burn an ISO image, so I followed a guide I found.

Installation is a breeze, and can be over in as little as ten minutes. Slip the CD into the tray, power the machine on, let it frag the drive, answer a few questions, reboot and you’re done. The install program also found my network card no problem. The only problems I did have were with the CD-ROM drives, which take a random number, square it, divide that by pi, then just guess if they want to read the block of data today.

After what seemed like 20 reboots and praying the kernel didn’t panic because the drive wouldn’t pass it some valuable data, I got smoothy installed.

client configuration

To allow the clients of the network to use the Smoothwall box to access the Internet, they must be configured. Basically, thanks to TCP/IP standards, the theory is the same for any operating system, you just need to tell the clients which gateway to use.

In Windows it’s as easy as right clicking on Network Neighbourhood, properties, double click TCP/IP (for the Ethernet card), type in the IP for the gateway on the gateway tab, click OK about 30 times and reboot.

For UNIX like systems, the program route can be used to do all this in one line without the reboot and excessive OK clicking:

# route add default gw IP_ADDRESS netmask metric 1

where IP_ADDRESS is the IP address of the Smoothwall machine, in my case

That really is all there is to it, maybe you will need to tell some programs that they should use LAN (Internet Explorer for example) but other than that, you’re all set-up.


Configuring smoothy is as easy as… as… um… well it’s easy! Just point your web browser to the IP address of the Smoothwall box and click the link PPP to setup the phone number, user / pass for your ISPs. But first it will ask you for a username and password to get to the setup page. The username is ‘admin’ the password is whatever you chose during the installation. It can be slightly fiddly at first to work out how to manage multiple ISP profiles, but basically, you select a slot from the drop down list, but you do not click the button ‘select’ next to it, you fill in the text boxes with the ISP details then click save. The details you have entered are now saved to that slot. You use the ‘select’ button to choose which ISP profile to use for dialling. I changed the password for the user ‘dial’ to ‘dial’ so that other people on my network can dial up when they need to, but they wont have the ability to change settings (which is left to user ‘admin’).


I could not just leave the box alone, smoothy uses very little resources on the machine, and is always on, so it makes a great candidate for the distributed.net client. Installation is quite easy since the program comes pre-compiled (smoothy does not have any compile tools), I just slapped it in /root/dnetc/ configured it (./dnetc –configure) ran a benchmark (./dnetc –benchmark) to see how well it performs. (0.00:00:16.60 [431,317.59 keys/sec] btw). Now it needs to be made to run at boot, so I use the vi editor, which comes with smoothy, to edit /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit and add the line right at the bottom of the file:

/root/dnetc/dnetc --hide

I edited (using vi) /etc/hosts and added the lines:

#	network
#     akira   wataru   andy   nikita

That way, from any of my network clients, I could type the name instead of typing the IP address. Eg. in a web browser i could type ‘akira’ instead of, a lot easier no ?

I also added a heap load more to this from http://www.ecst.csuchico.edu/…/adblock.shtml to help speed up my browsing experience by removing most of the banner ads.

My Hardware

My home network currently consists of four computers, made up of three workstations and a firewall. The Network is TCP/IP based, with each computer connected to my eight port hub, although my recent addition to my network, nikita the laptop, can optionally connect via it’s WiFi interface so I can stroll around the house (annoyingly not as far as I would like) and still stay online.

The naming I used for the PCs started out with Anime characters, but now I’m going to stick to character’s from Luc Besson films, my next pcs of sorts will no doubt be named either ‘Leon’ or ‘Mathilda’ and I’m determined to have an ‘Uncle Bob’.


  • wataru (main desktop pc, slackware linux)
  • nikita (sony vaio laptop, slackware linux/windows 2000)
  • andy (windows 98 client)


  • akira (firewall/router, smoothwall)
I may not have a webcam but...

…I do have live(-ish) stats about my main desktop pc wataru. You can even check out what I’m currently listening to!