Internet boot protocol server

Note: You must be root to start this server.


bootpd [-dpsT] [-t timeout] [configfile]

Runs on:



Increase the level of debugging output (-dd to be more verbose).
Run in standalone configuration. Use this option if bootpd is not being started by inetd (e.g. when started in a sysinit file).
Do not remove unknown vendor-specific information. The default is to remove the vendor-specific section of the response packet if unknown, or remove unknown options if the vendor is known.
-t timeout
When not running standalone, this option specifies the time in minutes that bootpd will wait for the next boot request before exiting to conserve system resources. When the next boot request arrives, inetd will restart bootpd. If you don't want bootpd to exit, give timeout a value of 0. The default timeout is 15 minutes.
Specify a configuration file (the default file is /etc/bootptab).


The bootpd server implements an Internet Boot Protocol server as defined in RFC 951 and RFC 1048.

It's normally invoked by the inetd daemon via the following line in the /etc/inetd.conf file:

bootps  dgram  udp wait root /usr/sbin/bootpd  bootpd 

This method conserves system resources: bootpd is started only when a boot request arrives, and if it doesn't receive another boot request within fifteen minutes (default) of the last one received, it exits. You can use the -t option to specify a different timeout value in minutes (e.g. -t 20). A timeout value of zero means forever.

Rather than wait for a boot request, bootpd can be started independently of inetd. This is probably the desired mode of operation for large network installations with many hosts.

Note: When using the -s option, bootpd and inetd may compete for the same port. Make sure to comment out the bootps entry in the /etc/inetd.conf file. In this case, the -t option has no effect, because bootpd never exits.

Upon startup, bootpd first reads its configuration file, /etc/bootptab, and then begins listening for BOOTREQUEST packets.

The server rereads its configuration file when it receives a hangup signal (SIGHUP) or when it receives a bootp request packet and detects that the file has been updated. Hosts may be added, deleted, or modified when the configuration file is reread.


Boot protocol server configuration file.
Service name database.

The bootpd daemon requires the shared library.


Reported to system log.


This utility is based on software of Carnegie Mellon University; for licensing information, see the Third Party License Terms List at


Individual host entries must not exceed 1024 characters.

See also:

/etc/bootptab, inetd, tftpd

TCP/IP Networking in the Neutrino User's Guide

Based on RFC 951, RFC 1048, RFC 1084, Assigned Numbers