tcprules(1) compile rules for tcpserver


tcprules rules.cdb rules.tmp


tcpserver optionally follows rules to decide whether a TCP connection is acceptable. For example, a rule of

prohibits connections from IP address

tcprules reads rules from its standard input and writes them into rules.cdb in a binary format suited for quick access by tcpserver.

tcprules can be used while tcpserver is running: it ensures that rules.cdb is updated atomically. It does this by first writing the rules to rules.tmp and then moving rules.tmp on top of rules.cdb. If rules.tmp already exists, it is destroyed. The directories containing rules.cdb and rules.tmp must be writable to tcprules; they must also be on the same filesystem.

If there is a problem with the input, tcprules complains and leaves rules.cdb alone.

The binary rules.cdb format is portable across machines.


A rule takes up one line. A file containing rules may also contain comments: lines beginning with # are ignored.

Each rule contains an address, a colon, and a list of instructions, with no extra spaces. When tcpserver receives a connection from that address, it follows the instructions.


tcpserver starts by looking for a rule with address TCPREMOTEINFO@TCPREMOTEIP. If it doesn't find one, or if TCPREMOTEINFO is not set, it tries the address TCPREMOTEIP. If that doesn't work, it tries shorter and shorter prefixes of TCPREMOTEIP ending with a dot. If none of them work, it tries the empty string.

For example, here are some rules:

   [email protected]:first




If TCPREMOTEIP is, tcpserver will follow the fourth instructions.

If TCPREMOTEIP is ::1, tcpserver will follow the fifth instructions. Note that you cannot detect IPv4 mapped addresses by matching "::ffff", as those addresses will be converted to IPv4 before looking at the rules.

If TCPREMOTEIP is, tcpserver will follow the second instructions.

If TCPREMOTEINFO is bill and TCPREMOTEIP is, tcpserver will follow the third instructions.

If TCPREMOTEINFO is joe and TCPREMOTEIP is, tcpserver will follow the first instructions.


tcprules treats as an abbreviation for the rules,, and so on up through Similarly, 10.2-3.:ins is an abbreviation for 10.2.:ins and 10.3.:ins.


The instructions in a rule must begin with either allow or deny. deny tells tcpserver to drop the connection without running anything. For example, the rule


tells tcpserver to drop all connections that aren't handled by more specific rules.

The instructions may continue with some environment variables, in the format ,VAR=VALUE. tcpserver adds VAR=VALUE to the current environment. For example,


adds [email protected] to the environment. The quotes here may be replaced by any repeated character:


Any number of variables may be listed:,RELAYCLIENT="",TCPLOCALHOST=""