The Perl Toolchain Summit needs more sponsors. If your company depends on Perl, please support this very important event.


IPTables::libiptc - Perl extension for iptables libiptc


  use IPTables::libiptc;

  $table = IPTables::libiptc::init('filter');


  # Its important to commit/push-back the changes to the kernel


This package provides a perl interface to the netfilter/iptables C-code and library libiptc.

Advantages of this module: Many rule changes can be done very fast. Several rule changes is committed atomically.

This module is heavily inspired by the CPAN module IPTables-IPv4. The CPAN module IPTables-IPv4 could not be used because it has not been kept up-to-date, with the newest iptables extensions. This is a result of the module design, as it contains every extension and thus needs to port them individually.

This package has another approach, it links with the systems libiptc.a library and depend on dynamic loading of iptables extensions available on the system.

The module only exports the libiptc chain manipulation functions. All rule manipulations are done through the iptables.c do_command function. As iptables.c is not made as a library, the package unfortunately needs to maintain/contain this C file.

Iptables kernel to userspace design

    The reasoning behind making this module comes from how iptables/libiptc communicate with the kernel. Iptables/libiptc transfers the entire ruleset from kernel to userspace, and back again after making some changes to the ruleset.

    This is a fairly large operation if only changing a single rule. That is actually the behavior of the iptables command.

    Thus, with this knowledge it make sense to make several changes before commit'ing the changes (entire ruleset) back to the kernel. This is the behavior/purpose of this perl module.

    This is also what makes it so very fast to many rule changes. And gives the property of several rule changes being committed atomically.


Most methods will return 1 for success, or 0 for failure (and on failure, set $! to a string describing the reason for the failure). Unless otherwise noted, you can assume that all methods will use this convention.

Chain Operations

    my ($policy)                      = $table->get_policy('chainname');
    my ($policy, $pkt_cnt, $byte_cnt) = $table->get_policy('chainname');

This returns an array containing the default policy, and the number of packets and bytes which have reached the default policy, in the chain chainname. If chainname does not exist, or if it is not a built-in chain, an empty array will be returned, and $! will be set to a string containing the reason.

    $success = $table->set_policy('chainname', 'target');
    $success = $table->set_policy('chainname', 'target', 'pkt_cnt', 'byte_cnt');
    ($success, $old_policy, $old_pkt_cnt, $old_pkt_cnt) = $table->set_policy('chainname', 'target');

Sets the default policy. set_policy can be called several ways. Upon success full setting of the policy the old policy and counters are returned. The counter setting values are optional.

    $success = $table->create_chain('chainname');
    $success = $table->is_chain('chainname');

Checks if the chain exist.

    $success = $table->builtin('chainname');

Tests if the chainname is a buildin chain.

 $success = $table->delete_chain('chainname');

Tries to delete the chain, returns false if it could not.

 $refs = $table->get_references('chainname');

Get a count of how many rules reference/jump to this chain.

Listing Operations

    @array            = $table->list_chains();
    $number_of_chains = $table->list_chains();

Lists all chains. Returns the number of chains in SCALAR context.

    @array           = $table->list_rules_IPs('type', 'chainname');
    $number_of_rules = $table->list_rules_IPs('type', 'chainname');

This function lists the (rules) source or destination IPs from a given chain. The type is either src or dst for source and destination IPs. The netmask is also listed together with the IPs, but separated by a / character. If chainname does not exist undef is returned.

Rules Operations

No rules manipulation functions is mapped/export from libiptc, instead the iptables do_command function is exported to this purpose.

Iptables commands (from iptables.h)


Example of an array which contains a command:

    my @array = ("-I", "test", "-s", "", "-j", "ACCEPT");


None by default.

Exportable constants



Module source also available here:

The Netfilter/iptables homepage:



Jesper Dangaard Brouer, <> or <>.

Authors SVN version information



Copyright (C) 2006-2011 by Jesper Dangaard Brouer

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

6 POD Errors

The following errors were encountered while parsing the POD:

Around line 141:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head1'

Around line 206:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head2'

Around line 208:

'=item' outside of any '=over'

Around line 227:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head2'

Around line 235:

'=item' outside of any '=over'

Around line 245:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head1'