Jan Engelhardt, Xtables2: Packet Filter Evolved


Iptables duplicate work for each family and is using a socket protocol which is far too static. Xtables2 is an ongoing effort to evolve the packet filter.
It aims at providing finer frained modification (and not the whole ruleset modification).


  • rule packing: increase cache hit.
  • family independent: no more IPv4 and IPv6 specific code. Only the hook remains specific as they are dependant of core network.
  • xt extension support
  • atomic replace support

xtables syntax is quite similar but not the same. libxtadm is a high-level library for ruleset inspection/manipulation.

More info: xtables.de

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