INETD(8)                 UNIX System Manager's Manual                 INETD(8)

     inetd - internet ``super-server''

     inetd [-d] [-q queuelength] [configuration file]

     Inetd should be run at boot time by /etc/rc.local (see rc(8)).  It then
     listens for connections on certain internet sockets.  When a connection
     is found on one of its sockets, it decides what service the socket corre-
     sponds to, and invokes a program to service the request.  After the pro-
     gram is finished, it continues to listen on the socket (except in some
     cases which will be described below).  Essentially, inetd allows running
     one daemon to invoke several others, reducing load on the system.

     The options available for inetd:

     -d      Turns on debugging.

     -q queuelength
             Sets the size of the socket listen queue to the specified value.
             Default is 128.

     Upon execution, inetd reads its configuration information from a configu-
     ration file which, by default, is /etc/inetd.conf. There must be an entry
     for each field of the configuration file, with entries for each field
     separated by a tab or a space.  Comments are denoted by a ``#'' at the
     beginning of a line.  There must be an entry for each field.  The fields
     of the configuration file are as follows:

           service name
           socket type
           server program
           server program arguments

     To specify an Sun-RPC based service, the entry would contain these

           service name/version
           socket type
           server program
           server program arguments

     The service-name entry is the name of a valid service in the file
     /etc/services. For ``internal'' services (discussed below), the service
     name must be the official name of the service (that is, the first entry
     in /etc/services). When used to specify a Sun-RPC based service, this
     field is a valid RPC service name in the file /etc/rpc. The part on the
     right of the ``/'' is the RPC version number. This can simply be a single
     numeric argument or a range of versions.  A range is bounded by the low
     version to the high version - ``rusers/1-3''.

     The socket-type should be one of ``stream'', ``dgram'', ``raw'', ``rdm'',
     or ``seqpacket'', depending on whether the socket is a stream, datagram,
     raw, reliably delivered message, or sequenced packet socket.

     The protocol must be a valid protocol as given in /etc/protocols. Exam-
     ples might be ``tcp'' or ``udp''. Rpc based services are specified with
     the ``rpc/tcp'' or ``rpc/udp'' service type.

     The wait/nowait entry is applicable to datagram sockets only (other sock-
     ets should have a ``nowait'' entry in this space).  If a datagram server
     connects to its peer, freeing the socket so inetd can received further
     messages on the socket, it is said to be a ``multi-threaded'' server, and
     should use the ``nowait'' entry.  For datagram servers which process all
     incoming datagrams on a socket and eventually time out, the server is
     said to be ``single-threaded'' and should use a ``wait'' entry.  Com-
     sat(8) (biff(1))  and talkd(8) are both examples of the latter type of
     datagram server.  Tftpd(8) is an exception; it is a datagram server that
     establishes pseudo-connections.  It must be listed as ``wait'' in order
     to avoid a race; the server reads the first packet, creates a new socket,
     and then forks and exits to allow inetd to check for new service requests
     to spawn new servers.  The optional ``max'' suffix (separated from
     ``wait'' or ``nowait'' by a dot) specifies the maximum number of server
     instances that may be spawned from inetd within an interval of 60 sec-
     onds. When omitted, ``max'' defaults to 40.

     The user entry should contain the user name of the user as whom the serv-
     er should run.  This allows for servers to be given less permission than
     root. An optional group name can be specified by appending a dot to the
     user name followed by the group name. This allows for servers to run with
     a different (primary) group id than specified in the password file. If a
     group is specified and user is not root, the supplementary groups associ-
     ated with that user will still be set.

     The server-program entry should contain the pathname of the program which
     is to be executed by inetd when a request is found on its socket.  If
     inetd provides this service internally, this entry should be

     The server program arguments should be just as arguments normally are,
     starting with argv[0], which is the name of the program.  If the service
     is provided internally, the word ``internal'' should take the place of
     this entry.

     Inetd provides several ``trivial'' services internally by use of routines
     within itself.  These services are ``echo'', ``discard'', ``chargen''
     (character generator), ``daytime'' (human readable time), and ``time''
     (machine readable time, in the form of the number of seconds since mid-
     night, January 1, 1900).  All of these services are tcp based.  For de-
     tails of these services, consult the appropriate RFC from the Network In-
     formation Center.

     Inetd rereads its configuration file when it receives a hangup signal,
     SIGHUP. Services may be added, deleted or modified when the configuration
     file is reread.  Inetd creates a file /var/run/ that contains
     its process identifier.

     comsat(8),  fingerd(8),  ftpd(8),  rexecd(8),  rlogind(8),  rshd(8),
     telnetd(8),  tftpd(8)

     The inetd command appeared in 4.3BSD. Support for Sun-RPC based services
     is modelled after that provided by SunOS 4.1.

 Linux NetKit 0.09             November 23, 1996                             1