[lsb-discuss] potential lsb-apache FVT problem and /etc/services

Matt Taggart taggart at carmen.fc.hp.com
Tue Aug 22 03:24:18 PDT 2006

Hi lsb-discuss,

On IRC liqm ran into a problem when following the FVT for lsb-apache at,


The instructions ask you to run "netstat -a | grep http". liqm was having 
problem testing on Ubuntu because while the server was clearly running, 
that command returned nothing.

The problem was due to the fact that netstat uses /etc/services to map port 
to name, and Ubuntu (and Debian) have the following entries for web stuff,

www             80/tcp          http            # WorldWideWeb HTTP
www             80/udp                          # HyperText Transfer 
https           443/tcp                         # http protocol over TLS/SSL
https           443/udp

So while http works as a synomyn, since www is listed first that's what 
netstat prints, so the grep doesn't work. The instructions tell you to add 
http lines to /etc/services, but if they are added after the lines already 
in there it won't help. Maybe something like "netstat -an |grep :80" could 
be used instead?

So that lead me to wonder why Linux distributions' /etc/services weren't 
standardized. At the top of Debian's /etc/services there are the following 

 # Updated from http://www.iana.org/assignments/port-numbers and other
 # sources like http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/cvsweb.cgi/src/etc/services .
 # New ports will be added on request if they have been officially assigned
 # by IANA and used in the real-world or are needed by a debian package.
 # If you need a huge list of used numbers please install the nmap package.

The IANA source seems canonical, but it also lists commented unassigned 
ports and also comments for contact info, those probably need to be removed 
for a working copy. It also only lists officially assigned ports. Does 
anyone know if IANA produces a more consumable version?

What are the conflicts in Linux distros?
Is it worth making them consistant?
What are the additions in Linux distros?
Are they large enough and consistant enough to warrant a "de facto ports" 
extension to the IANA list? Would there be value in such standardization?

In the past we had also talked about a need for LSB applications to be able 
to register services with inetd(or xinetd) and /etc/services. But I'm not 
so sure /etc/services should be updated, maybe it's best if it's just the 
canonical list.


Matt Taggart        Open Source & Linux Organization R&D
taggart at fc.hp.com   Hewlett-Packard

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