I am assuming that your stuborness also applied to inability of using a Linux based server with Plex as more reliable, secure and just as easy to use and configurable alternative to Windows. Afterall most all media equipment nowadays is either Android or Linux based for very, very good and sensible reasons. One hardware sugestionwould be an industrial space Linux based already installed, designed for harsh environments. Thy also are very reasonably priced. is
While hardware choices vary significantly, one strong consideration for software/applications is "UberStudent", a Ubuntu based Linux distribution developed by organization through collaboration with developers in Germany (and other EU locations) and in USA. The OS is geared specifically for advanced high school and university level students, and not only has excellent math and science applications, but online research tools and resources (one at least normally paid subscriotion), study guides, and reporting capabilities as well as thesis and testing tutorilas. Good infornation is available on wikipedia.
This is a perfecr example case for considering an enterprise, professional world class Open Source ERP solution like OpenERP, ERP5 or Compierre which will not only allow "user" modifications and configurations to application functionality/ source code/ to suit purchaser's needs and requirements, but will generally work with far better with all other data formats and APIs, and is especially beneficial for evading all the proprietary vendor lock-in and incessant hands-out for more payments as article writer noted. If the company has fairly competent personnel in their technology support department, it would not be climbing Mt. everest to have them acquire programming knowledge and expertise from the FOSS applications developers, at considerably less costs that custom modifications. That is unless the company technologists are extricably tied, by perks,limited training and/or personal incentives to Oracle, Microsoft or other large proprietary software vendors whi derive much of their great profits from just such scenario as described in the article.
Since Ubuntu Linux and most every other Desktop Linux available in 2014 has an "easy to use", intuitive GUI firewall configuration utility, I an skeptical that any person using Linux, even for the first time would (a) receive space on Slashdot to ask such question, and (b) a question that I consider completely unnecessary if writer is guided by common sense in using the standard and well documented visual Ubuntu Firewall application, and suspiciously naive in not going first to Ubuntu Help center or any person nearby who is not simple-minded in regard technology..