shorewall does not start at boot

Bug #1511869 reported by Poldi on 2015-10-30
This bug affects 10 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
shorewall (Ubuntu)
shorewall6 (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Running Ubuntu

Description: Ubuntu 15.04
Release: 15.04

Running shorewall
  Version table:
 *** 0
        500 wily/universe amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

During boot I get the following warnings
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found ordering cycle on shorewall.service/start
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on NetworkManager.service/verify-active
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on uuidd.socket/start
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Found dependency on shorewall.service/start
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Breaking ordering cycle by deleting job
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: Job deleted to break ordering cycle starting with shorewall.service/start
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: Found dependency on shorewall.service/start
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: Breaking ordering cycle by deleting job shorewall.service/start
Oct 31 08:56:44 MusicPc systemd[1]: shorewall.service: Job shorewall.service/start deleted to break ordering cycle starting with

The above warnings stop shorewall from starting at boot.

I can (need to) start shorewall manually and this works without a problem.

I should have reported this as a bug sonner as this problem occurred also in the two previous releases.

Poldi (poldi) wrote :

More info.

I've got this problem on all 5 Desktops at home running 15.10. The problem started when upgrading to 15.04, but I had the same issue with a fresh install of 15.04 on a laptop.

Hope this helps

Tyler Hicks (tyhicks) wrote :

Hello and thanks for the bug report. I'm going to make it a public security bug so that it'll get more attention.

affects: ifupdown (Ubuntu) → shorewall (Ubuntu)
information type: Private Security → Public Security
information type: Public Security → Public
Poldi (poldi) wrote :

As I have posted the problem in the forum first I had the following reply
I have exactly the same problem. Also in my case, upgrade to 15.10 did not help. Searching the Internet for workarounds did not help either (except that this thread and a Debian bug report showed up). So I came up with my own workaround.

Shorewall does not come with a systemd native service unit description. Such description is being generated at boot by /lib/systemd/system-generators/systemd-sysv-generator based on /etc/init.d/shorewall. I have noticed, however, that the LSB header of /etc/init.d/shorewall wants the service to be started from /etc/rcS.d, which is pretty early, and at the same time it has Required-Start: $network $remote_fs, which is a pretty strong requirement. In fact, this is the only script in /etc/rcS.d that requires $network (well, except shorewall6, which exhibits exactly the same problem). Looking into the auto-generated unit in /run/systemd/generator.late/shorewall.service shows:


This looks problematic: is a very early target, most higher level services are started after it, and on many systems (including mine) various dependencies will make available only after So in the end, I wrote my own shorewall.service definition and put it in /etc/systemd/system to override the auto-generated one:

Description=Configure the IPv4 firewall at boot time
DefaultDependencies=no systemd-sysctl.service

ExecStart=/etc/init.d/shorewall start
ExecStop=/etc/init.d/shorewall stop
ExecReload=/etc/init.d/shorewall restart


After that, the service is installed by:

$ sudo systemctl enable shorewall.service

This works for me, but I had very specific requirement: for security reasons, I wanted my firewall be up before any network interfaces are up. That means that no remote filesystems will be mounted yet when shorewall start runs and all shorewall config files have to be on a local filesystem. Additionally, /etc/default/shorewall does not define any wait_interfaces.


John Polansky (john.polansky) wrote :

This issue affects me as well, was driving me up the wall. Thanks for your suggested workaround Poldi it appears to work well for me as well.

Hopefully they will fix this at some point.

Kubuntu 15.10

Poldi (poldi) wrote :

The forum post is

and the credit for the workaround needs to go to BCSharp as it's his.

Given that there has been no feedback from any of the developers/security gurus despite this issue leaving the system completely unsecured after a reboot, I assume that not many users have shorewall as their firewall.

Still would like to get a fix, but not sure what else I can do.


Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in shorewall (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in shorewall6 (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
e-Vent (fmaster) wrote :

Can confirm this bug in 15.10, init.d script not really needed.

Correction to Poldi's workaround (didn't work for me), I pulled the Debian service file from the Shorewall tgz which appears to be fully functional, same as poldi, make the service file and enable it and you are good to go:

# The Shoreline Firewall (Shorewall) Packet Filtering Firewall
# Copyright 2011 Jonathan Underwood <email address hidden>
# Copyright 2015 Tom Eastep <email address hidden>
Description=Shorewall IPv4 firewall
Conflicts=iptables.service firewalld.service

ExecStart=/sbin/shorewall $OPTIONS start $STARTOPTIONS
ExecStop=/sbin/shorewall $OPTIONS stop
ExecReload=/sbin/shorewall $OPTIONS reload $RELOADOPTIONS


BCSharp (bcsharp) wrote :


Since you moved shorewall to start after, there will be a brief moment that the network is up but the firewall is not configured yet. Or do you have a different solution for this?

BCSharp (bcsharp) wrote :

Also I believe that the line:

ExecReload=/sbin/shorewall $OPTIONS reload $RELOADOPTIONS

should rather be:

ExecReload=/sbin/shorewall $OPTIONS restart $RESTARTOPTIONS

e-Vent (fmaster) wrote :

I pulled this as I said from the Deb service file, I cannot remember the rationale behind waiting for the network to start but I remember something to do with PPPOE connections being potentially problematic for some reason.

I ran this past a Shorewall guru in their IRC but frankly I am not too worried about a brief period of no firewall since I have my services limited to interfaces. I'll have a chat with them shortly.

Also ExecReload executes a reload of shorewall (and the rule set) as intended. Executing a restart achieves the same objective I believe, the only difference is a full restart. Unless you desire a full restart, I'm not seeing an issue as they appear to achieve the same thing.

e-Vent (fmaster) wrote :

On further inspection, the reload command in is clearly not doing what the manpage is saying on shorewall which I will put down to not being shorewall 5.X, pre-5.X reload appears to be a reload of a remote host which was moved to a separate command (remote-restart) in 5.X

So yes, is should be:

ExecReload=/sbin/shorewall $OPTIONS restart $RESTARTOPTIONS

Quick discussion with Shorewall people says that a Shorewall-init script should close the firewall prior to networking but that this is unreliable in Ubuntu due to the favour of upstart scripts.

Having a look around to see if there is an init script locking up the firewall before networking now.

e-Vent (fmaster) wrote :

It would appear a solution to the firewall being open before shorewall start is to use the 'shorewall-init' package.

The extra init package closes the firewall prior to shorewall startup avoiding that issue (assuming you set the product in /etc/default/shorewall)

It would also be wise to set safestop=1 as per the advice on the page as Debian based systems drop the firewall before halt.

I tested my restart while pinging with shorewall blocking ICMP, never got a reply so I assume it works and blocks network before shorewall fires up.

I haven't tried testing the Deb service file using as the above appears to be working nicely. I may do this later if curious.

Snow (snowy16) wrote :

I'm on 16.04 and I tried installing shorewall-init and configuring /etc/default/shorewall-init per as well as setting safestop=1 in /etc/default/shorewall but was still able to ping my firewall's external IP for a couple seconds upon every reboot.

I had to change my /etc/systemd/system/shorewall.service



Once that was set, I was no long able to ping my firewall while it was booting up. Thanks to everyone in this thread for contributing.

Still affects shorewall 5.0.4-1 on Ubuntu server 16.04. Besides the already mentioned workaround, (temporarily) using to ufw for firewall management is an option.

information type: Public → Public Security
Poldi (poldi) wrote :

I can confirm that the solution outlined in #13 works for me on 16.04.


Thommie Rother (t-rother) wrote :

Solution from #8 works on 16.04 but I would expect that the ubuntu shorewall package includes a running systemd configuration instead of leaving that up to the users ...

Mario Mediati (mediati) wrote :

In 16.04 e-Vent's service file exists at /lib/systemd/system/shorewall.service. If you run:

sudo systemctl enable /lib/systemd/system/shorewall.service

a symlink will be created in /etc/systemd/system/ and shorewall will start on boot.

Kevin P. Fleming (k.p.fleming) wrote :

Ditto to #18; that solution worked for me (for both shorewall and shorewall6).

Janiko (janiko) wrote :

#18 : worked for me on 16.10 (yakkety)

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public Security information  Edit
Everyone can see this security related information.

Other bug subscribers