Late last year, Metavize changed its name to Untangle and launched a new strategy for marketing its products, offering its unified threat management (UTM) solutions free of charge to companies with 10 or fewer employees. Untangle offered its solutions to larger companies for $75 per month. But the company will now give the software to anyone for free.

The company will base its revenue on support packages along with "a set of premium products like additional applications, and additional functionality that extends the platform under a commercial license. So while the platform and most applications are free, we're selling applications like Remote Access Portal (an SSL VPN) or additional platform functionality like Active Directory integration and policy management," wrote Dirk Morris, founder and CTO at Untangle.

This means that you have absolutely no excuse not to have a decent gateway security platform protecting your network. You can now get your hands on a unified platform of 12 vital security tools with no software acquisition cost. The platform filters email for spam, spyware, phishing scams, viruses, and other attacks and filters Web content. It also includes a firewall, intrusion prevention system (IPS), protocol controls, VPN, routing, and reporting. The tools are based on tried and tested open source solutions, such as Snort, SpamAssassin, Vipul's Razor, Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV), and OpenVPN. Although you can easily get any of those tools and more on your own, Untangle makes them available in a customized unified platform, which is definitely an advantage.

If you want to buy Untangle's support and other tools such as Active Directory (AD) integration, prices are based on the number of users you need to support. The company maintains a forum, mailing list, and wiki to help you network with other users of the tools. Untangle also offers preinstalled server appliances if you want to go that route. Overall, I think Untangle's offer is affordable and attractive.

If you're interested, take a look at the demos and screen shots at the first URL below. The GUI demo is especially helpful. It requires Java to run, and it lets you log on to a live demo server running on Untangle's network, so you can go through every aspect of the management interface and get a feel for using the platform. If you'd rather watch a Flash video demo of the interface, see the second URL below.

http://www.untangle.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=242&Itemid=967

http://www.untangle.com/video_overview/

To get a more thorough overview of the applications, visit the first URL below. If you want to try the platform, go to the second URL below, where you can download an ISO image that lets you make an installation CD-ROM, or you can order a CD-ROM and Untangle will ship it to you for free. You can also get the source code in an installable ISO format, as a tarball, or via Subversion. Go to the third URL below and look for the Get the Code section in the Developers box on the left.

http://untangle.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86&Itemid=179

http://www.untangle.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=226&Itemid=739

http://www.untangle.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=235&Itemid=799