Turning computer into router, want to start off right, help?

By Slayer_ ·
So I am sick of my consumer router unable to handle the pressure.

I want to double up the use of my current web server machine, to also be the routing computer (is this possible?)

I have access to 2 network cards, both should be new enough. Neither are ISA and thus should work in Linux. The machine itself is only a 350mhz P2 with 256mb of RAM and a 40gb HD (gonna leave the second 10 gig drive as Windows 98, in case I need it).

My website is fairly low activity, nothing required to be secure. I mostly use it to hold files and photos, that funpics directory that I use in forums, my signatures, etc. No active content so a LAMP server is not really required, quick a dirty apache. I know my way around the apache config, but only in Windows. My Linux command line is super rusty. I think i remember an ls command... that's about it. And that the config was in an etc folder... and I need to be logged in as root to change it. Perhaps I should install a GUI for my configurations, then delete it when I am done?

On that note, I think I hear something called iptables??? is what I need to turn this machine into the same abilities as a router. Is that the right thing? how do I install and configure it? (Super detailed tutorial if possible, I have no decent or recent command line experience).
Also, will this thing allow me to forward ports like a consumer router? I currently use Virtual Server to do a lot of things in my house.

Can this server be set up to allow my other windows machines in the house to easily drop files in place and those files will assume the permissions and ownership of the directory they are in?

Can I also configure this server to function as my ventrillo server? (it is currently as my win9.

I will also need FTP access. Must work under passive access.

Also, if it would be easier, I read that Linux has good remote control abilities, maybe it would be easier to set up a machine just enough so someone could remote into it and set it up for me? Just a thought.

Assistance appreciated.
All good answers, advice, and insight will get thumbs.

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