SUMMARY (sort of): Strange inetd behavior

From: Sean Ward (
Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 10:58:42 CDT

I am sending this summary out even though I am not sure I have fixed the
problem. It happens so intermittently that it will take a while to see if it

Original message:
Hello all. We have a SS10 running 4.1.3, no patches, that is having an inetd
error very intermittently. The symptom is that when attempting to rsh a
on it from another host, ie, "rsh foo uptime", the user gets a timeout.
However, when a user just runs "rsh foo", the user is logged in without any
problems. Each time this has happened, the following line is in
/var/adm/messages right after bootup:

foo inetd[383]: shell/tcp: unknown service

Sending a HUP signal to the inetd process fixes the problem.

I checked Sunsolve's database, but found nothing.

Thanks to:
bismark@alta.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Bismark Espinoza)
Rasana Atreya <>
"J.P. Racine" <>
Stephen Harris <>
"Matthew Stier" <>
Glenn Satchell - Uniq Professional Services <>
"Andrew Moffat" <> (David Mitchell)
Jochen Bern <>

Plus some me too's:

I should have been more specific in my original email because the largest
number of suggestions by far was that there was a missing "shell" entry in
services and/or inetd.conf, but that was not a problem in this case. I also
noticed that this problem is the same as the one posted and summarized by (Bill Fenwick), and the suggestions he received
were along the same line, but his entries were ok, and his problem appeared to
not be resolved.

I did, however, receive some other suggestions. Unfortunately, I won't be able
to try some of these until the problem resurfaces. My comments are preceded
with "--" at the beginning of the line.

"J.P. Racine" <>:
I have had a similar problem when I setting up a USR Xpoo rack, first do
a netstat -a and see if the service is listening or not (port 514)

-- Of course, now that I've HUP'ed inetd, it's listening just fine... :-)

"Matthew Stier" <>:
It sounds like your running an information services, (NIS, NIS+) and inetd is
starting before the system is able to bind to its server.

-- This could be part of the problem. I've noticed a few times where it has
taken what seems to be a long time for a host to bind to a server.

Glenn Satchell - Uniq Professional Services <>:
How many non-comment entries are there in inetd.conf? There used to be
a problem with inetd running out of file descriptors if more than abou
50 -something services were enabled in inted.conf since by default
inetd only has 64 file descriptors assigned to it.

If this is the case the easiest fix is to edit /etc/rc (or is it
rc.local?) where inetd is called and change it to call a script:
/usr/etc/inetd.csh, the contents of which are something like:

  #! /bin/csh
  limit descriptors 128
  exec /usr/etc/inetd $*

this increases the number of file descriptors to 128.

Also check for blank lines in your yellow pages service map and remove
any thatyou find since YP chokes on them.

-- Inetd on that machine is only running 28 serivces, so there isn't a file
descriptor problem. However, there was a blank line at the very end of the
services file on the NIS master (nowhere near the shell line, though). I've
removed it, so we'll see what happens. (David Mitchell)
also suggested the blank line problem.

"Andrew Moffat" <>:
There's no "inetd[383]: shell/tcp server looping messages" prior to this
in the messages file, is there? If so, you have a situation where lots of rsh's
are run to the machine in a short period of time. If this occurs, it can make
the inetd process think the shell service is stuck in a loop and inetd will
shut down the service. If this is the case, you can adjust the inetd
parameters, with a couple of command line flags (I don't remember them
off the top of my head - but they should be in the man page).

-- We didn't get this message, so this did not apply here.

Thanks to all,

Sean Ward, Systems Bum			+1-303-401-1530 voice
Amgen Boulder				+1-303-938-6244 fax
3200 Walnut St.
Boulder, CO 80301 USA			...uunet!amgen!seanw

"Hopelessly lost, but making good time..." - Letterman =============================================================================

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