As Apple's built-in Firewall preferences has improved in both functionality and security, I have aimed Flying Buttress more at users who need advanced firewall configuration, logging, and IP sharing options.
There is no reason that a new or inexperienced user cannot use Flying Buttress, but Apple's own Firewall preferences will likely remain a simpler interface for configuring a basic firewall.
However, if you need:
• Firewall filters that include qualifiers on host or network addresses
• Firewall filters that operate on other than TCP or UDP protocols
• Firewall filters that include the whole range of ipfw qualifiers, such as IP options, ICMP types or TCP flags
• Per-filter logging configuration, including the ability to log allowed connections and the option to not log certain types of denied connections
• NAT port forwarding or other custom NAT configuration
• Different filter configurations on different network interfaces.
• A persistant, searchable firewall log entry database with graphical log viewer
• Scriptable control of your firewall, such as via cron or other shell automation
• Access and ability to easily edit the raw firewall configuration text, including an integrated ipfw filter syntax checker.
• The ability to switch between different firewall configuration sets quickly and easily. ...then you should consider using Flying Buttress.
Upgrading from previous versions If you have installed a firewall configuration with an earlier version, you should select 'Remove Startup File' from the Options menu, then click 'Install' to install an updated StartupItem directory.
I was contacted a few months ago by the holder of the BrickHouse trademark (a software consulting company), and they requested that I stop using the name 'BrickHouse' for my firewall software. Although I've been using the name for 5 years, they apparently just recently noticed my product had the same name as their company. Therefore, I've renamed BrickHouse to 'Flying Buttress'.
Regarding rumors of my disappearance -- I'm fine, it's just that as each year as gone by, my day job has gotten busier and busier. That's a good thing, as I make my living from it, but it has seriously curtailed the amount of time I can spend on shareware (and shareware support). I do try to answer as many questions as I can for people, but sometimes I miss a few. If you write me and I don't respond promptly (within a few days), please resend your question. Also, putting the name of the product in the subject line will help keep it from inadvertently getting filed with the spam emails.
Regarding the fate of my support forum -- the little bondi blue iMac that it had been running on for years finally clicked it's last 'Maxtor death click', and stopped booting this last year. I have not found an appropriate replacement for it yet. I probably should have posted a notice about it, but as I mentioned above, I am very busy nowdays.
In any case, if you need advanced control over your OSX firewall configuration, and wish to use a GUI rather than a text editor, Flying Buttress should still serve your purposes.
As always, you may evaluate Flying Buttress without registering as long as you wish. If you believe it's worth the shareware fee, please register it. All features are enabled in the download, however, as they were in previous versions.