...tentatively launches his first post...

Discovered Edugeek yesterday and have been trolling the forums heavily today seeking wisdom.

I'm the volunteer, 1-day-a-week sysadmin for a small private school in France with ZERO IT budget (which is to say we run on open source/freeware/donated equipment where ever/when ever we can and, if there is cash on hand, will shell out for things I can make happen for free).

We currently have an Untangle box sitting between our internal network and our ADSL router. I've been on an achingly slow mission to separate our internal file-server (based on a no-longer-maintained old Debian distro with an ancient Samba that basically is used only for domain login and file-server functions) from all its other network tasks since I inherited it in a heavily customized state and modifying/updating it will likely break it.

As a former mainframe DB2 DBA, I love hacking SQL and enjoy script programming, but I'll admit that all my linux and network learning is self-taught with painful trial and (mostly) error. This is why I like things like mc and Webmin and when seeking to put in place network gateway functions, I thought that the Untangle offering looked very promising.

Untangle has worked for the most part but for what I need with web filtering and user-tracking, even its pay-for features don't cut it and it's NOT set up to be user customized. I'm pretty sure I need SOME kind of Squid+Dansguardian solution. Untangle can apparently be "twisted" to work with Squid if you believe the adventurous ones on the Untangle forum. The community there, however, is fairly hostile to the idea that such tools are really even needed.

I'm looking to setup some sort of box to replace my Untangle machine. My question to the community here is whether I'd be better off getting a vanilla Ubuntu Server or Debian distro and then throwing on Squid and Dansguardian and making that work or should I get something like Smoothwall Express and try and add the Dansguardian and advproxy mods? Any thoughts on ClearOS for my needs? Other similar solutions? I'm simply too constrained on time (like all of you) to become a squid/dansguardian/firewall/networking expert, so while I'm willing to install distros on boxes and do basic configuration, heavy-duty problem solving (like I've seen in some of the forum posts about Squid and Dansguardian) is something I'd like to avoid.

Sorry for the lengthy post, just trying to explain my situation better...be gentle.