As a sysadmin, you may have encountered several different Linux distributions in your life. You may also have found out that configuring iptables permanently differs from distribution to distribution.

Fortunately you can stop caring about this problem: In the cdist source tree you find two new types to handle this problem universally, independent of the Linux distribution.

These types are a result of work done at ungleich for our customer panter. Panter does not only allow us to publish the code freely, but also encourages us to do so - many thanks!

How to use it

First of all, ensure you have cdist installed on your source host. Then create the directory ~/.cdist/manifest and then the file ~/.cdist/manifest/init with the following content:

case "$__target_host" in
        __iptables_rule policy-in   --rule "-P INPUT DROP"
        __iptables_rule policy-out  --rule "-P OUTPUT ACCEPT"
        __iptables_rule policy-fwd  --rule "-P FORWARD DROP"

        __iptables_rule established --rule "-A INPUT -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT"
        __iptables_rule http        --rule "-A INPUT -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT"
        __iptables_rule ssh         --rule "-A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT"


% cdist config insert-your-target-host-name-here

applies the configuration. That's it, really! Log on to your server and do iptables -L -n to see the result!

What did cdist do?

The cdist types __iptables_rule and __iptables_apply take care of the necessary steps. In detail they

  • create the necessary files and directory
  • create and setup an init-script that loads / unloads the rules
  • apply the rules