inetd on FreeBSD 5.0

General Information

Inetd (also called the internet super daemon) is a server which listens on various ports of the computer it’s being run on and launches specified programs once something contacts that port. On a default install of FreeBSD 5.x, inetd is disabled due to potential security problems it might have later down the road, such as a hacker gaining root access and adding some sort of program to be run on a certain port using inetd. The possibility of a hacker gaining access to the root account and getting to inetd’s configuration files is very slim due to the secure nature of FreeBSD, but they decided to disable it anyway. Enabling inetd is required in my qmail+vpopmail+qmailadmin tutorial.


  1. Local root access on the box or having your user in the wheel group so you can su to root.
  2. A SSH client that can support ANSI colors like puTTy or SecureCRT (only if not logging on locally).

Enabling inetd

The process of enabling inetd is quite simple in its entirety as you’ll quickly see.

Log on to the machine as root or su to root using your user login.

# sysinstall

  1. Select Configure
  2. Select Networking
  3. Scroll down to inetd and hit the space bar
  4. Select Yes at the warning
  5. Select Yes (if you choose No, inetd will not be enabled)
  6. You’ll be presented with the default FreeBSD editor (typically vi). To exit vi, type :q and hit enter
  7. Quit out of Sysinstall
  8. Reboot or type inetd in the console to start inetd

Congrats, you’ve enabled inetd on your system. Now, you can install qmail or other goodies that rely on it.

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