On 10/2/18 1:32 AM, Chris Laprise wrote:
> On 10/01/2018 05:48 PM, mfreemon wrote:
>> On 1/11/18 3:01 PM, Chris Laprise wrote:
>>  > On 01/10/2018 03:47 PM, Connor Page wrote:
>>  >> The official templates use nftables so shouldn’t be mixed with
>> iptables. I didn’t have time to learn about nftables, so just removed
>> nftables package from debian 9 template. YMMV.
>>  >>
>>  >
>>  > Hmmm, I was just thinking how Qubes' own guest scripts still use
>>  > iptables even in fedora-26.
>>  >
>>  > IIUC, iptables and nft are two different interfaces to netfilter. I
>>  > don't know if it really matters, at least for the R4.0 window. I'd
>>  > prefer to put the syntax change (for docs) off until a later release.
>>
>> I was recently thrown by the mix of both nftables and iptables in R4.
>>
>> The qubes docs don't clarify much.  The qubes firewall scripts use
>> nft. Most of the discussion on the qubes website documentation is
>> about iptables, but there are also a few mentions of nft.  The upgrade
>> instructions (going from R3.2 to R4) did not mention converting rules
>> from iptables to nftables.  It looks like other related projects (one
>> example is qubes-tunnel) is using iptables.
>>
>> Just reading a few things and trying to come up to speed, I get the
>> impression that nftables and iptables should not both by used at the
>> same time.  Even if technically possible (i.e. both sets of rules
>> applied correctly), it strikes me as not a great idea to maintain
>> packet filtering rules in two different ways.
>>
>> What is the best practice recommendation on this (for R4, Fedora 28
>> template)?  Are we to be using, exclusively, nftables in R4?
> 
> The last I read about this (for 4.0) is that nftables is used in Fedora
> Qubes code, but Debian Qubes is still using iptables. That still appears
> to be the case since nftables is not installed in my debian-9 templates.
> 
> I've submitted qubes-tunnel to Qubes with iptables commands only, with
> the intention to transition to nftables (or that other new interface in
> Linux, name escapes me just now) for Qubes 4.1. Someone who is just
> starting a project might be better off going with nftables.

... until yet another packet filtering mechanism replaces nftables (in
that case, bpfilter [1]).

I understand the rationale behind using nftables [2] but given how it is
widespread (hint: close to 0 even amongst seasoned sysadmins) IMHO it
wasn't worth it. The OP's post confirms there's quite some confusion
about how it interacts with iptables, and the official documentation is
far from helpful.
I'm quite proficient with iptables and networking in general but it took
me half an hour to understand how to tweak Qubes' nftables rules last
time I wanted to change something in the firewall, while I would have
done that task in less than one minute with iptables. I could have spent
a few hours learning nftables to improve the official doc but at my age
I prefer to spend time learning tech that significantly improves things
(eg. Qubes OS over standard linux distribution) over loosing time
learning stuff that is only marginally better.
Anyway - I digress :)

[1] https://old.lwn.net/Articles/747551/
[2]
https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-issues/issues/1815#issuecomment-245109500

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