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Status of inetd for etch



This post is about some issues with the various inetd packages in etch
(and unstable).  This is a case where I think some coordination
between all the packages or some inetd package policy would make them
all generally more usable.

The currently available inetd packages, and a summary of their state:

----------------+---------------------+-------------------------------------
Package         | IPv6 support        | Source quality / comments
----------------+---------------------+-------------------------------------
inetutils-inetd | tcp = tcp4 and tcp6 | OK, but upstream quiet
                |                     |
micro-inetd     | Partial             | Not a proper inetd replacement
                |                     |
netkit-inetd    | No, and it will be  | Terrible.  It won't even build
                | difficult to add    | from the .orig.tar.gz, and the
                |                     | tarball is a mess. IMO, should be
                |                     | removed from Debian.
                |                     | 102 outstanding bugs.
                |                     |
openbsd-inetd   | tcp=TCP4, tcp4,     | OK.  Bug in reload (#382404).
                | tcp6, tcp46         | Bug in restart (#376716).
                |                     |
                |                     |
rlinetd         | Yes                 | Not a drop-in replacement.
                |                     |
superd          | No                  | Unmaintained.  Candidate for
                |                     | removal?
                |                     |
xinetd          | tcp4, tcp6          | Good, but not currently a drop-in
                |                     | inetd replacement (but could be
                |                     | configured to do so).
----------------+---------------------+-------------------------------------

Outstanding issues
------------------

* There is no inetd virtual package, so multiple daemons may be
  installed, all using the same configuration file.  Is this a use
  case we really want to support?  Are there really setups running
  multiple inetds for a good reason?  Having a virtual
  "internet-super-server" package or similar with appropriate
  dependencies would make them rather more interchangeable, as for
  e.g. mail-transport-agent.

* There is no common init script name.  Same problems as above.

* netbase only depends on two inetd packages (openbsd-inetd and
  netkit-inetd; a virtual depends plus a default would be nicer.

* netkit-inetd
  - No upstream.
  - Last maintainer upload was 22 months ago.  The last three uploads
    were NMUs.
  - It doesn't build from the original source.
  - The original source is a horrible mess, with code duplication (the
    source tree has a duplicate copy embedded within itself), and i386
    ELF object code and binaries code in the tree.
  - The C source itself is not very nice.
  - Is this really fit to keep in Debian?  It might be better to
    remove it entirely given its terrible state.

* openbsd-inetd is the only drop-in replacement at this time
  - The other packages have different init script names or need some
    work on the package dependencies (e.g. inetutils-inetd).  xinetd
    is in the same situation, but also needs some work on update-inetd
    before it will be suitable as a replacement.

* IPv6 transition
  - Should individual packages be made to listen on both tcp4 and tcp6
    sockets, or should this be done by the inetd itself, or even
    update-inetd?
  - Some inetds automatically listen on v6, whereas others need it
    explicitly enabling.  What should "tcp" vs "tcp4" vs "tcp6" (and
    the same for udp) imply?
  - Some general policy would be useful here to make the behaviour
    consistent and to make IPv6 support as painless as possible for
    users.

* Upgrade from sarge and earlier
  The inetd daemon installed by default:
    etch:   openbsd-inetd | netkit-inetd
    sarge:  netkit-inetd
    woody:  netkit-inetd (netkit-base, split from netbase)
    potato: (in netbase)
    slink:  (in netbase)
  Users upgrading from woody or sarge to etch will not be switched to
  openbsd-inetd, whereas new installs will use it by default.
  Removing netkit-inetd from the netbase depends should permit this,
  but a complete removal would perhaps be the best option.


While it's probably too late to fix up update-inetd and all the inetd
integration issues for etch, fixing the netbase dependency and
eliminating netkit-inetd is doable.


Any thoughts or comments?


Regards,
Roger

-- 
  .''`.  Roger Leigh
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