Once you have gathered the hardware, grab the required software:

1- OpenBSD

OpenBSD is easy to get. Patching is another story. No fancy windows update, yum, or apt-get. Nope, you patch the source code and recompile. Hardcore baby!

Not that bad if you consider most patches come with fairly detailed instructions.

The mandatory bathroom material is excellent. Read, and read again. Anyway, we go to the bathroom a few times a day right ?

So that's the basics. I had bigger plans. Having run smoothwall, I expected the same features; web proxy, redirector and all. I did not care for the GUI, one less source of problems IMO.

Before grabbing all the other goodies, you need to decide how much pain you can endure: packages or ports. If this is any help, it, pretty much says it all:«Everyone is encouraged to use the pre-compiled binary packages»

Good enough for me.

2- Other goodies:
Squid the proxy
Squidguard the URL redirector /filter (more on this later)
apcupsd nice, powerfail graceful shutdown (more on this later)
Samba. Yes, you can run a file server on your gateway, safely.

3- Find good links. You are not alone. So scour the internet and read, read, read.
Kernel-Panic gotta love that name. Really.
Samba the official (but sometimes rather cryptic) site.
Using Samba. (where I found answers to all my questions).

4- Lastly, make sure you have time on your hands. This is supposed to be fun.