Is inetd a proxy server?

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sun Feb 22 08:12:21 PST 2004

On Mon, Feb 23, 2004 at 12:05:45AM +0900, Rob wrote:

> I don't know much about proxy servers, so I read the handbook on this issue.
> When reading the proxy server paragraph in the firewalls section, I 
> concluded
> that my inetd superserver is a kind of proxy server. Is that right?

Not really.  Inetd is a program for marshalling other servers.  It
accepts an incoming connection, works out what service it's for, fires
up the appropriate server to deal with it, and substitutes that server
for itself on the end of the connection in order to receive the
request.  So with inetd, you end up dealing with the real server that
can handle your request.  A proxy listens to all of your request, and
then opens up a second connection to the real server (or another
proxy) for you and replays your request to it -- so all of the traffic
is relayed through the proxy.

The point of having inetd(8) is that it provides is a mechanism so that
you don't have to have umpty-dozen different small servers running all
of the time and taking up your process space.  It's less important
nowadays than it used to be, considering how the price of memory and
CPU has fallen, so running loads of different things isn't so
problematic anymore, and how the emphasis now is on security -- which
means not running those services you don't have an immediate use for
-- and speed -- where it's better not to have a process do all of it's
initialization stuff on each connection.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK
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