Introduction to Net-tools

The Net-tools package is a collection of programs for controlling the network subsystem of the Linux kernel.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS 12.1 platform.

Package Information

Installation of Net-tools

The instructions below automate the configuration process by piping yes to the make command. If you wish to run the interactive configuration process (by changing the instruction to just make), but you are not sure how to answer all the questions, then just accept the defaults. This will be just fine in the majority of cases. What you're asked here is a bunch of questions about which network protocols you've enabled in your kernel. The default answers will enable the tools from this package to work with the most common protocols: TCP, PPP, and several others. You still need to actually enable these protocols in the kernel—what you do here is merely tell the package to include support for those protocols in its programs, but it's up to the kernel to make the protocols available.



This package has several unneeded protocols and hardware device specific functions that are obsolete. To only build the minimum needed for your system, skip the yes command and answer each question interactively. The minimum needed options are 'UNIX protocol family' and 'INET (TCP/IP) protocol family'.

For this package, we use the DESTDIR method of installation in order to easily remove files from the build that overwrite those that we want to keep or are not appropriate for our system.

Install Net-tools by running the following commands:

export BINDIR='/usr/bin' SBINDIR='/usr/bin' &&
yes "" | make -j1                           &&
make DESTDIR=$PWD/install -j1 install       &&
rm    install/usr/bin/{nis,yp}domainname    &&
rm    install/usr/bin/{hostname,dnsdomainname,domainname,ifconfig} &&
rm -r install/usr/share/man/man1            &&
rm    install/usr/share/man/man8/ifconfig.8 &&

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

chown -R root:root install &&
cp -a install/* /

Command Explanations

export BINDIR='/usr/bin' SBINDIR='/usr/bin': Ensure the executables are installed in the correct location.

yes "" | make : Piping yes to make config skips the interactive configuration and accepts the defaults.

rm ...: Remove unneeded programs and man pages.


Installed Programs: arp, ipmaddr, iptunnel, mii-tool, nameif, netstat, plipconfig, rarp, route, and slattach
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: None

Short Descriptions


is used to manipulate the kernel's ARP cache, usually to add or delete an entry, or to dump the entire cache


adds, deletes and shows an interface's multicast addresses


adds, changes, deletes and shows an interface's tunnels


checks or sets the status of a network interface's Media Independent Interface (MII) unit


names network interfaces based on MAC addresses


is used to report network connections, routing tables, and interface statistics


is used to fine tune the PLIP device parameters, to improve its performance


is used to manipulate the kernel's RARP table


is used to manipulate the IP routing table


attaches a network interface to a serial line. This allows you to use normal terminal lines for point-to-point links to others computers