What is ipmasq and Why Should I Care?

Posted on Friday 5 June 2009

So I mentioned yesterday that when I fwent to write my article about “fglrx” that I ran into another/new problem. That problem was that I could no longer log into the Internet, nor could I even access other computers on my home network. It was as if the network card became unplugged – only it wasn’t!

The main, and only clue to this problem ( that jumped out at me ) was when I tried to ping ( send a test signal ) any computer on my local netwrok or the Internet, that the message was always the same.

sndmsg: Operation not permitted

No matter where I searched or what tests I ran, I could find no clue as to what the problem was, nor how to fix it. After beating my head against the wall I was no further ahead than when I started and I was beginning to think that I would have to do something that I have never, in all my years of computing, had to do. To reinstall an operating system just to fix an unknown problem.

This solution would have been my last resort and it would have thrown all my previous efforts out the window and put me back at square one – this is not something that I wanted to do but I was actually considering it – because I could find nothing that helped me either understand or fix it.

Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly a lot of people out there who have run into this problem, but their situations and finally problem/solution had no relationship to what ever was causing my grief. When they ran the appropriate test, they found the problem and were guided through how to fix it. When I ran the test that found their problem, I discovered that my system wasn’t having the same sort of problem – so their solution wasn’t what I needed!

I am extremely glad to say that I didn’t have to reinstall my system – so my record still stands unblemished… The solution was found written down on another old tech’s blog – Jack Rose. He found the solution from someone elses posting ( unfortunately it wasn’t included in his article ) and he had no idea why it worked, but I tried it ( there wasn’t anything else for me to do at this point except reinstall – and that was my LAST resort ) so if it broke anything, I wouldn’t be any further behind anyways.

So, I tried it and it worked…. I still don’t know why, but I think I had better find out. Jack says that it has something to to with iptables. There is no man page for it ( operating instructions contained within the computer ) so I can’t even tell you what it does at this point. But if you need it give it a try – it certainly saved my bacon – and obviously Jack’s.

sudo ipmasq

That’s all there is to do… Open a terminal and run the command…. I’m sure this probably won’t work for everyone and I’m not sure what it would harm if something else was broken. But failing all else it is worth a try – trust me!

If I do find out something else I’ll let you know and if any of my readers have an idea about what and why this worked – I’d really like to hear from you.

Till next time!

What I’ve found…

  1. Well I found a website about ipmasq – it gives some good info. I’m still not sure what or how or even why it is running, but for those who are interested check out www.bbassett.net/ipmasq/
  2. As I read more and more about ipmasq I begin to wonder if it is related to Virtualbox and installing Windows XP with an Internet conneciton….
  3. It would seem every time I reboot, I need to reissue the ipmasq command… I’ve found a site that talks about this long and ongoing problem  – it’s yet another bug report bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ipmasq/+bug/7146 I also need to review my boot orders as I’m sure that something broke in there after I uninstalled that graphics driver…
  4. Well I found the website of the original designer and it seems that it was first designed as an IP forwarding tool which would allow other computers access to the Internet using your computer as the main router which would have been a great tool back when Internet connections and routers were sparse…. it also seems that Debian ( the base from which my Ubuntu release comes from ) has developed it to also act as a simple firewall.
  5. My research has showed that it was also not part of the initial install. I have since actuall uninstalled the package and so far everything works fine… who knows where it came from – but for now it’s gone….. and for now I’m happy….
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