Future of pf / firewall in FreeBSD ? - does it have one ?

Cy Schubert Cy.Schubert at komquats.com
Wed Jul 23 19:59:35 UTC 2014

In message <53CCF596.1070302 at yandex.ru>, "Andrey V. Elsukov" writes:
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> On 20.07.2014 18:15, Maxim Khitrov wrote:
> > In my opinion, the way forward is to forget (at least temporarily) the
> > SMP changes, bring pf in sync with OpenBSD, put a policy in place to
> > follow their releases as closely as possible, and then try to
> > reintroduce all the SMP work. I think the latter has to be done
> > upstream, otherwise it'll always be a story of diverging codebases.
> > Furthermore, if FreeBSD developers were willing to spend some time
> > improving pf performance on OpenBSD, then Henning and other OpenBSD
> > developers might be more receptive to changes that make the porting
> > process easier.
> Even if you just drop current PF from FreeBSD, there is nobody, who want
> to port new PF from OpenBSD. And this is not easy task, as you may
> think. Gleb has worked on rewriting PF more than half year. So, return
> back all improvements after import will be hard enough and, again,
> nobody want to do it. :)

One way or another something needs to be done and agreed it would be a lot 
of work. Our options are,

a) Import OpenBSD pf thereby throwing away our current investment in pf. 
All our work to get it up to snuff with our IP stack, SMP, and VIMAGE would 
be all for naught. We do get a new pf though. Won't be a quality port 
though. Personally, not my #1 option.

b) Merge updates from OpenBSD pf to our pf. Once again a lot of work but we 
do save the work we put into our pf. Once again a lot of work. We'd be 
introducing incompatibility.

c) Do nothing. It goes without saying that pf would suffer rot and 
eventually we would need to do something.

d) Yank pf from tree. An option but probably not a great one. We do have 
two other packet filters in the kernel (ipfw and ipfilter) however they are 
different beasts with different capabilities. I think the reason we have 
the packet filters we do have is for the capabilities they bring to the 
table. I for one have run more than one in the same kernel because each has 
different capabilities.

e) We could add capability to pf on a piecemeal basis. Option (b) but as 
time permits. Remember, people have jobs and commitments. Funding would 
help address this.

f) Finally, how does NetBSD's npf compare to OpenBSD's pf? Is it more 
compatible with our IP stack? Could this be an option?

Anything we do should work with VIMAGE and be able to handle nat66 as well.

Cy Schubert <Cy.Schubert at komquats.com>
FreeBSD UNIX:  <cy at FreeBSD.org>   Web:  http://www.FreeBSD.org

	The need of the many outweighs the greed of the few.

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