Network servers and services are programs that allow a remote user to make use of your Linux machine. Server programs listen on network ports. Network ports are a means of addressing a particular service on any particular host. They are how a server knows the difference between an incoming telnet connection and an incoming ftp connection. The remote user establishes a network connection to your machine. The server program (the network daemon program) listening on that port accepts the connection and then executes. There are two ways that network daemons may operate. Both are commonly employed in practice. The two ways are:
The network daemon program listens on the designated network port. When an incoming connection is made, the daemon manages the network connection itself to provide the service.
The inetd server is a special network daemon program that specializes in managing incoming network connections. It has a configuration file which tells it what program needs to be run upon receiving an incoming connection. Any service port may be configured for either of the tcp or udp protocols. The ports are described in another file that we will soon review..
There are two important files that need to be configured. They are the /etc/services file (which assigns names to port numbers), and the /etc/inetd.conf file (the configuration file for the inetd network daemon).
The /etc/services file is a simple database that associates a human friendly name to a machine friendly service port. Its format is quite simple. The file is a text file where each line represents and entry in the database. Each entry is comprised of three fields separated by any number of whitespace (tab or space) characters. The fields are:
name port/protocol aliases # comment
A single word name that represents the service being described.
This field is split into two subfields.
A number that specifies the port number where the named service will be available. Most of the common services have assigned service numbers. These are described in RFC-1340.
This subfield may be set to either tcp or udp.
It is important to note that an entry of 18/tcp is very different from an entry of 18/udp There is no technical reason why the same service needs to exist on both. Normally common sense prevails. It is only if a particular service is available via both tcp and udp that you will see an entry for both.
Other names that may be used to refer to this service entry.
Any text appearing in a line after a `#' character is ignored, and it is treated as a comment.
All modern linux distributions provide a good /etc/services file. Just in case you happen to be building a machine from the ground up, here is a copy of the /etc/services file supplied with an old Debian distribution:
# /etc/services: # $Id: Net-HOWTO.sgml,v 22.214.171.124 2001/01/17 19:55:16 lx Exp $ # # Network services, Internet style # # Note that it is presently the policy of IANA to assign a single well-known # port number for both TCP and UDP; hence, most entries here have two entries # even if the protocol doesn't support UDP operations. # Updated from RFC 1340, ``Assigned Numbers'' (July 1992). Not all ports # are included (only the more common ones): tcpmux 1/tcp # TCP port service multiplexer echo 7/tcp echo 7/udp discard 9/tcp sink null discard 9/udp sink null systat 11/tcp users daytime 13/tcp daytime 13/udp netstat 15/tcp qotd 17/tcp quote msp 18/tcp # message send protocol msp 18/udp # message send protocol chargen 19/tcp ttytst source chargen 19/udp ttytst source ftp-data 20/tcp ftp 21/tcp ssh 22/tcp # SSH Remote Login Protocol ssh 22/udp # SSH Remote Login Protocol telnet 23/tcp # 24 - private smtp 25/tcp mail # 26 - unassigned time 37/tcp timserver time 37/udp timserver rlp 39/udp resource # resource location nameserver 42/tcp name # IEN 116 whois 43/tcp nicname re-mail-ck 50/tcp # Remote Mail Checking Protoconame server re-mail-ck 50/udp # Remote Mail Checking Protocol domain 53/tcp nameserver # name-domain server domain 53/udp nameserver mtp 57/tcp # deprecated bootps 67/tcname serverTP server bootps 67/udp bootpc 68/tcname serverTP client bootpc 68/udp tftp 69/udp gopher 70/tcp # Internet Gopher gopher 70/udp rje 77/tcp netrjs finger 79/tcp www 80/tcp http # WorldWideWeb HTTP www 80/udp # HyperText Transfer Protocol link 87/tcp ttylink kerberos 88/tcp kerberos5 krb5 # Kerberos v5 kerberos 88/udp kerberos5 krb5 # Kerberos v5 supdup 95/tcp # 100 - reserved hostnames 101/tcp hostname # usually from sri-nic iso-tsap 102/tcp tsap # part of ISODE. csnet-ns 105/tcp cso-ns # also used by CSO name server csnet-ns 105/udp cso-ns rtelnet 107/tcp # Remote Telnet rtelnet 107/udp pop-2 109/tcp postoffice # POP version 2 pop-2 109/udp pop-3 110/tcp # POP version 3 pop-3 110/udp sunrpc 111/tcp portmapper # RPC 4.0 portmapper TCP sunrpc 111/udp portmapper # RPC 4.0 portmapper UDP auth 113/tcp authentication tap ident sftp 115/tcp uucp-path 117/tcp nntp 119/tcp readnews untp # USENET News Transfer Protocol ntp 123/tcp ntp 123/udp # Network Time Protocol netbios-ns 137/tcp # NETBIOS Name Service netbios-ns 137/udp netbios-dgm 138/tcp # NETBIOS Datagram Service netbios-dgm 138/udp netbios-ssn 139/tcp # NETBIOS session service netbios-ssn 139/udp imap2 143/tcp # Interim Mail Access Proto v2 imap2 143/udp snmp 161/udp # Simple Net Mgmt Proto snmp-trap 162/udp snmptrap # Traps for SNMP cmip-man 163/tcp # ISO mgmt over IP (CMOT) cmip-man 163/udp cmip-agent 164/tcp cmip-agent 164/udp xdmcp 177/tcp # X Display Mgr. Control Proto xdmcp 177/udp nextstep 178/tcp NeXTStep NextStep # NeXTStep window nextstep 178/udp NeXTStep NextStep # server bgp 179/tcp # Border Gateway Proto. bgp 179/udp prospero 191/tcp # Cliff Neuman's Prospero prospero 191/udp irc 194/tcp # Internet Relay Chat irc 194/udp smux 199/tcp # SNMP Unix Multiplexer smux 199/udp at-rtmp 201/tcp # AppleTalk routing at-rtmp 201/udp at-nbp 202/tcp # AppleTalk name binding at-nbp 202/udp at-echo 204/tcp # AppleTalk echo at-echo 204/udp at-zis 206/tcp # AppleTalk zone information at-zis 206/udp z3950 210/tcp wais # NISO Z39.50 database z3950 210/udp wais ipx 213/tcp # IPX ipx 213/udp imap3 220/tcp # Interactive Mail Access imap3 220/udp # Protocol v3 ulistserv 372/tcp # UNIX Listserv ulistserv 372/udp # # UNIX specific services # exec 512/tcp biff 512/udp comsat login 513/tcp who 513/udp whod shell 514/tcp cmd # no passwords used syslog 514/udp printer 515/tcp spooler # line printer spooler talk 517/udp ntalk 518/udp route 520/udp router routed # RIP timed 525/udp timeserver tempo 526/tcp newdate courier 530/tcp rpc conference 531/tcp chat netnews 532/tcp readnews netwall 533/udp # -for emergency broadcasts uucp 540/tcp uucpd # uucp daemon remotefs 556/tcp rfs_server rfs # Brunhoff remote filesystem klogin 543/tcp # Kerberized `rlogin' (v5) kshell 544/tcp krcmd # Kerberized `rsh' (v5) kerberos-adm 749/tcp # Kerberos `kadmin' (v5) # webster 765/tcp # Network dictionary webster 765/udp # # From ``Assigned Numbers'': # #> The Registered Ports are not controlled by the IANA and on most systems #> can be used by ordinary user processes or programs executed by ordinary #> users. # #> Ports are used in the TCP [45,106] to name the ends of logical #> connections which carry long term conversations. For the purpose of #> providing services to unknown callers, a service contact port is #> defined. This list specifies the port used by the server process as its #> contact port. While the IANA can not control uses of these ports it #> does register or list uses of these ports as a convenience to the #> community. # ingreslock 1524/tcp ingreslock 1524/udp prospero-np 1525/tcp # Prospero non-privileged prospero-np 1525/udp rfe 5002/tcp # Radio Free Ethernet rfe 5002/udp # Actually uses UDP only bbs 7000/tcp # BBS service # # # Kerberos (Project Athena/MIT) services # Note that these are for Kerberos v4 and are unofficial. Sites running # v4 should uncomment these and comment out the v5 entries above. # kerberos4 750/udp kdc # Kerberos (server) udp kerberos4 750/tcp kdc # Kerberos (server) tcp kerberos_master 751/udp # Kerberos authentication kerberos_master 751/tcp # Kerberos authentication passwd_server 752/udp # Kerberos passwd server krb_prop 754/tcp # Kerberos slave propagation krbupdate 760/tcp kreg # Kerberos registration kpasswd 761/tcp kpwd # Kerberos "passwd" kpop 1109/tcp # Pop with Kerberos knetd 2053/tcp # Kerberos de-multiplexor zephyr-srv 2102/udp # Zephyr server zephyr-clt 2103/udp # Zephyr serv-hm connection zephyr-hm 2104/udp # Zephyr hostmanager eklogin 2105/tcp # Kerberos encrypted rlogin # # Unofficial but necessary (for NetBSD) services # supfilesrv 871/tcp # SUP server supfiledbg 1127/tcp # SUP debugging # # Datagram Delivery Protocol services # rtmp 1/ddp # Routing Table Maintenance Protocol nbp 2/ddp # Name Binding Protocol echo 4/ddp # AppleTalk Echo Protocol zip 6/ddp # Zone Information Protocol # # Debian GNU/Linux services rmtcfg 1236/tcp # Gracilis Packeten remote config server xtel 1313/tcp # french minitel cfinger 2003/tcp # GNU Finger postgres 4321/tcp # POSTGRES mandelspawn 9359/udp mandelbrot # network mandelbrot # Local services
In the real world, the actual file is always growing as new services are being created. If you fear your own copy is incomplete, I'd suggest to copy a new /etc/services from a recent distribution.
The /etc/inetd.conf file is the configuration file for the inetd server daemon. Its function is to tell inetd what to do when it receives a connection request for a particular service. For each service that you wish to accept connections, you must tell inetd what network server daemon to run (and how to run it).
Its format is also fairly simple. It is a text file with each line describing a service that you wish to provide. Any text in a line following a `#' is both ignored, and it is considered a comment. Each line contains seven fields separated by any number of whitespace (tab or space) characters. The general format is as follows:
service socket_type proto flags user server_path server_args
Is the service relevant to this configuration as taken from the /etc/services file.
This field describes the type of socket that this entry will consider relevant. Allowable values are: stream, dgram, raw, rdm, or seqpacket. This is a little technical in nature. As a rule of thumb nearly all tcp based services use stream, and nearly all udp based services use dgram. It is only very special types of server daemons that would use any of the other values.
The protocol to be considered valid for this entry. This should match the appropriate entry in the /etc/services file. It will typically be either tcp or udp. Sun RPC (Remote Procedure Call) based servers will use eitherrpc/tcp or rpc/udp.
There are really only two possible settings for this field. This field setting tells inetd whether the network server program frees the socket after it has been started (whether inetd can start another one on the next connection request), or, whether inetd should wait and assume that any server daemon already running will handle the new connection request. This is a little tricky to work out, but as a rule of thumb all tcp servers should have this entry set to nowait. Most udp servers should have this entry set to wait. Be warned there are some notable exceptions. You should let the example guide you if you are not sure.
This field describes which user account from /etc/passwd will be set as the owner of the network daemon when it is started. This is often useful if you want to safeguard against security risks. You can set the user of an entry to the nobody user. If the network server security is breached, the possible damage is minimized by using nobody. Typically this field is set to root, because many servers require root privileges in order to function correctly.
This field is pathname to the athoughctual server program to execute for this entry.
This field comprises the rest of the line and it is optional. This field is where you place any command line arguments that you wish to pass to the server daemon program when it is launched.
As for the /etc/services file all modern distributions will include a good /etc/inetd.conf file for you to work with. Here is the /etc/inetd.conf file from the Debian distribution.
# /etc/inetd.conf: see inetd(8) for further informations. # # Internet server configuration database # # # Modified for Debian by Peter Tobias <firstname.lastname@example.org> # # <service_name> <sock_type> <proto> <flags> <user> <server_path> <args> # # Internal services # #echo stream tcp nowait root internal #echo dgram udp wait root internal discard stream tcp nowait root internal discard dgram udp wait root internal daytime stream tcp nowait root internal daytime dgram udp wait root internal #chargen stream tcp nowait root internal #chargen dgram udp wait root internal time stream tcp nowait root internal time dgram udp wait root internal # # These are standard services. # telnet stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.telnetd ftp stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.ftpd #fsp dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.fspd # # Shell, login, exec and talk are BSD protocols. # shell stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.rshd login stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.rlogind #exec stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.rexecd talk dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.talkd ntalk dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.ntalkd # # Mail, news and uucp services. # smtp stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.smtpd #nntp stream tcp nowait news /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.nntpd #uucp stream tcp nowait uucp /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/lib/uucp/uucico #comsat dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.comsat # # Pop et al # #pop-2 stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.pop2d #pop-3 stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.pop3d # # `cfinger' is for the GNU finger server available for Debian. (NOTE: The # current implementation of the `finger' daemon allows it to be run as `root'.) # #cfinger stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.cfingerd #finger stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.fingerd #netstat stream tcp nowait nobody /usr/sbin/tcpd /bin/netstat #systat stream tcp nowait nobody /usr/sbin/tcpd /bin/ps -auwwx # # Tftp service is provided primarily for booting. Most sites # run this only on machines acting as "boot servers." # #tftp dgram udp wait nobody /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.tftpd #tftp dgram udp wait nobody /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.tftpd /boot #bootps dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/bootpd bootpd -i -t 120 # # Kerberos authenticated services (these probably need to be corrected) # #klogin stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.rlogind -k #eklogin stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.rlogind -k -x #kshell stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/in.rshd -k # # Services run ONLY on the Kerberos server (these probably need to be corrected) # #krbupdate stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/registerd #kpasswd stream tcp nowait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/kpasswdd # # RPC based services # #mountd/1 dgram rpc/udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/rpc.mountd #rstatd/1-3 dgram rpc/udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/rpc.rstatd #rusersd/2-3 dgram rpc/udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/rpc.rusersd #walld/1 dgram rpc/udp wait root /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/sbin/rpc.rwalld # # End of inetd.conf. ident stream tcp nowait nobody /usr/sbin/identd identd -i