6 of the best content filters for Linux

The winner: Privoxy - 9/10

It's difficult to name the winner of this Roundup a tool that few people use – fewer than the numbers rallying behind DansGuardian, at least. Unfortunately, an alarming number of false positives on the default configuration make it only the last of the podium finishers.

Considering that WebCleaner and Privoxy are both nearly perfect in their default configuration, it seems unfair to guide home users and concerned parents to the relative complexity of DansGuardian, which requires the configuration of a separate proxy.

FoxFilter is the most surprising member of the list for many reasons, but primarily because it's a Firefox extension. None of the other tools in the list are bound to a browser except for Gnome Nanny, which only supports Firefox, Epiphany and Konqueror, which means that Chrome users are forced to ignore it.

So, despite showing promise, it can only muster a 5 on our rating, which is neither here nor there. Plus, pages render very slowly while it inspects them, and this is quite a dampener too.

Now we come to one of the more complex tools – SquidSafe. In our initial assessment we considered SquidSafe a potential winner. It soon fell out of the running though because of WebCleaner, which stole the second spot from SquidSafe, which had until then seemed like a certainty.

There's a bunch of things wrong with SquidSafe, but the most appalling of is the fact that for certain types of filters you need to create files from scratch while others can be managed from the interface, yet the documentation makes no mention of how to decide between the two competing methods.

Old dogs, old tricks

Most of these tools have seen users come and go over the years. Adapting suggestions and supporting requests over time has allowed them to carve a safe niche for, and they aren't concerned about losing their userbase.

However, Gnome Nanny, a desktop parental control system with a slick GUI that can within minutes be set up to keep away objectionable content, may upset the playing field. But that's still a somewhat distant dream, since Gnome Nanny falls severely short.

It can't filter out keywords, it can't import blacklists unless they're in the Nanny format, there's no documentation, and although the blogosphere is excited, there doesn't seem to be a flurry of movement to produce a quality product that will have everyone from the manager of a busy librarian to harassed parents itching to try it out.

Privoxy 2

Ultimately, it's only Privoxy with its easy to remember + and – signs and heavy reliance on regular expressions that wins. It ensures that only the safest and the most harmless of content makes its way to you, so it wins the day without even breaking a sweat.