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In computer networking,
xinetd (extended Internet daemon) is an open-source super-server daemon which runs on many Unix-like systems and manages Internet-based connectivity. It offers a more secure extension to or version of
inetd, the Internet daemon, thus most modern Linux distributions have switched to it.
xinetd listens for incoming requests over a network and launches the appropriate service for that request. Requests are made using port numbers as identifiers and xinetd usually launches another daemon to handle the request. It can be used to start services with both privileged and non-privileged port numbers.
xinetd resides in the default configuration file
/etc/xinetd.conf and configuration of the services it supports reside in configuration files stored in the
/etc/xinetd.d directory. The configuration for each service usually includes a switch to control whether
xinetd should enable or disable the service.
xinetd features access control mechanisms such as TCP Wrapper ACLs, extensive logging capabilities, and the ability to make services available based on time. It can place limits on the number of servers that the system can start, and has deployable defense mechanisms to protect against port scanners, among other things.
On some implementations of Mac OS X, this daemon starts and maintains various Internet-related services, including FTP and telnet. As an extended form of
inetd, it offers enhanced security. It replaced
inetd in Mac OS X v10.3, and subsequently
launchd replaced it in Mac OS X v10.4. However, Apple has retained
inetd for compatibility purposes.
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