This technology stuff is more work than it ought to be. Over the past weekend, we tossed out an obsolete computer and reconfigured everything, and everything works a little better now, but it cost us, all told two full days' work, and the application of a lot of expertise.
The Problem · Computers accrete, as you keep buying new ones. Our oldest one (a P100 purchased 94ish) was now running Linux and serving as a firewall, but it's noisy and was a no-name knock-off and has nonstandard keyboard connectors. Meanwhile, the next-oldest, a Dell P300 of 96ish vintage, had had pretty well everything migrated off it.
Retire the P100. Turn the P300 into the firewall/gateway machine. Allow ssh access from outside. Hook the printer into it so that both PCs and Macs can print.
Many Hours Later · Objectives achieved, except for some reason Debian won't acknowledge that that Dell box has a printer port. And some interesting leftovers. here's the P100 motherboard, which has been integrated with the home-office decor.
Here are top and bottom views of the P100 chip itself - even those of us who dig into computers these days rarely get to see the CPU because it's always behind a bunch of fans and so on.
And here's a pretty good leftover NIC. I think PCBs are attractive to look at.
And the rats'-nest behind the computers - only two of them in the home office now; the one on the right is the Linux box and has only three wires: power and two network cables. All the rest of the overhead is connecting up the Windows box next to it and getting the network and telephone into the room and back out again on the house Cat5. This is much better than it used to be. Plus, it received a good vacuuming; what is it about the backs of computers that attracts clingy ugly crud buildup?
We'll skip the pain and agony involved in getting
installed on perl on the firewall machine so that it can run the code that
produces the text you're reading. Feh.
Somebody, anybody will be able to do this to their home network without having to invest a couple of days and hire their Linux-geek friend.