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Something happened in your environment, and suddenly you no longer have any contracts or subscriptions to run any of the Sophos software on your purchased Sophos appliance. So the software is useless, but the appliance is otherwise functional and seems to work fine. What else can you install on it? Here's a few lab-tested (by yours truly) options you can consider.

Before we get to the list, I suppose it might be worth clarifying the general process I used, since it did seem to have AN effect on some of the results.

General Process:

  1. Using an unrelated Live Linux USB, use gparted and remove all partitions
  2. Create a bootable USB from ISO using rufus
  3. Use the USB on an SG105 appliance

Finally, I would like to clarify what I mean by "working" on the appliance... A good example here may be pfSense. I have found various posts in all kinds of different forums offering various suggestions on how to get pfSense to work on a Sophos appliance; most of them are beyond the skills we could expect from the "common man" to whom this article is more tailored to. I'm not trying to find an OS that can be made to work on a Sophos device, I want to see what works, right out of the box, no (or very little/simple) changes/fooling around. I'm also not going very deep into the features and usage of the software (that may come at a later time), but just whether or not it installs, configures, and boots.

Now, on to the good stuff!

To start things off, I figured that since the appliance was designed to be a firewall, why not see what other F/OSS (Free and/or Open Source Software) alternatives can run on it. Here's the results:


Firewalls - What Worked

IPCop

  • Despite the fact that IPCop hasn't been updated since 2015, it still seems to have a following and still enjoys seemingly widespread usage
  • It installed and worked just fine
  • Discontinued and no longer available from their site

 

Untangle NG Firewall

  • You need to register with Untangle to complete the install/configure process
  • It looks like not ALL features are included in the Free offering
  • Otherwise installs, configures and boots fine

 

Endian Firewall Community Community

  • Installs, configures, and boots fine

 

Zentyal

  • Looks to be more of a Windows Server alternative, as opposed to Firewall-specific, though there is some firewalling features
    • You can set up fileshares and AD
    • Not sure about having that DIRECTLY accessible to the internet
  • Installs, configures, and boots just fine

 

Firewalls - What Didn't

ClearOS Community

  • Installs fine
  • Crashes on boot

 

OPNsense

  • There are a few different 'versions', ALL versions crash when booting the installer

 

pfSense

  • There are a few different 'versions', ALL versions crash when booting the installer

 

Alpine Linux - Extended

  • Installer seemed to load some kind of live environment
    • Though there didn't appear to be any networking drivers loaded
  • No clear option/method to install and further configure

 

Openwall Project - OWL

  • Installer does not boot

 

SME Server

  • Installer does not boot

 

VyOS

  • Installs and boots fine
  • Does not appear to immediately start any networking upon boot
  • No clear/obvious way to continue configuring/setting up

 

There were a couple other OSes I had found, like Smoothwall Expressfli4lZeroshell Linux RouterLEAF Project, where there wasn't clear/obvious ISO files, or rufus couldn't open or use the ISO file, so there was little else I could check out with those.

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