OpenRC/Stacked runlevel

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This page documents a tutorial for setting up complicated networking with the help of stacked runlevel. Along the tutorial other tricked for OpenRC are also expected.

The short version is that

FILE rc-update manpagestack runlevel
If the -s, --stack option is given then we either add or remove the runlevel from the runlevel. 
This allows inheritance of run‐levels.


We have a university library providing wireless network, with the following steps to use:

  1. associate with the AP with no authentication
  2. setup a PPTP VPN through NAT against an internal server
  3. using an HTTP proxy to access the websites

There are big disadvantages:

  • GRE protocol used by PPTP uses source IP to identify client, thus do not support tunneling through NAT. There is enhanced GRE for such purpose, but routers has different implementations and only considered PPTP clients for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, not for Linux.
  • The author, as a server administrator, need ssh at least. HTTP proxy, a limit gateway to the internet, sucks.

Besides complaining to library manager and network technician, then waiting forever, we can hack our own reliable way out.


  • For Linux box not being able to use PPTP VPN through NAT, the author selected his phone to do the job. Apple's Iphone has Mac OS X, and its PPTP client happens to work with the router in the library.
Actually we can also use a virtual machine running Windows for the PPTP connection. That would be another story. The author's laptop is too weak to have virtual machine running smoothly.
  • For pushing the limit of http proxy, the author selected tinc to connect to his home router as the full functioned gateway.


The solution is there. The procedures are complex and very boring and error-prone to set it up manually. OpenRC's stacked runlevel comes as a rescue.

We can make a new runlevel right away for the remaining tutorial:

root #mkdir /etc/runlevels/lwifi

Add our default runlevel into it:

root #rc-update -s add default lwifi

iPhone tethering

Documented at Iphone USB tethering and we use static configuration instead of DHCP.

FILE /etc/conf.d/netstatic config eth1
routes_eth1=" via"

The entry in routes_eth1 is the network of cellular mobile, which can be identified by whois containing dns_servers_eth1. We set this up because there is no other easily reachable DNS server. Tinc, in later step, needs DNS to query IP address of its entry node.

Now associate the library wifi with iPhone, and dial PPTP VPN. Consult your iPhone manual for details.

socks proxy on iPhone

iPhone has an ill design: during tethering, packets can only be routed to cellular mobile network, even if you set up a wifi connection. Therefore we cannot just access the http proxy directly through eth1, a socks proxy server is needed to transmit it.

There are many methods to set up a socks proxy in iPhone. One way to achieve is by sshd.

  • First by all means install an sshd in iPhone. (needs link)
  • Next, use public key to access the sshd.
  • Finally, write a OpenRC initscript file.
FILE /etc/init.d/socksIphoneOpenRC initscript ssh socks
# Copyright 1999-2012 Gentoo Foundation
# Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2

description="ssh into Iphone as a socks proxy on localhost:1080"

depend() {
        need net.eth1
        before tincd.*

start() {
        ebegin "starting $RC_SVCNAME"
        start-stop-daemon --start --make-pidfile --background --pidfile /run/$ --exec /usr/bin/ssh \
        -- -nN -D127.0.0.1:1080 root@
        eend $?

stop() {
        ebegin "stopping $RC_SVCNAME"
        start-stop-daemon --stop --pidfile /run/
        eend $?

and add it to our runlevel

root #rc-update add socksIphone lwifi


We are in an interesting realm: an http proxy is behind a socks proxy. Hopefully, net-misc/proxychains can carry us out.

root #emerge --ask net-misc/proxychains

and set up its config file.

FILE /etc/proxychains.confproxy chain setup
# proxychains.conf  VER 3.1
#        HTTP, SOCKS4, SOCKS5 tunneling proxifier with DNS.
# Strict - Each connection will be done via chained proxies
# all proxies chained in the order as they appear in the list
# all proxies must be online to play in chain
# otherwise EINTR is returned to the app
# Quiet mode (no output from library)
# Some timeouts in milliseconds
tcp_read_time_out 1000
tcp_connect_time_out 500
# ProxyList format
#       type  host  port [user pass]
#       (values separated by 'tab' or 'blank')
#        Examples:
#               socks5   1080    lamer   secret
#               http    8080    justu   hidden
#               socks4    1080
#               http   8080
#       proxy types: http, socks4, socks5
#        ( auth types supported: "basic"-http  "user/pass"-socks )
# add proxy here ...
# meanwile
# defaults set to "tor"
socks5       1080
http    8080

In the ProxyList, the first one is our socks proxy in the previous section, the second one happens to be http proxy provided by the library.

tinc initscript

We need to adjust tinc initscript to make use of proxychains.

FILE /etc/init.d/tincd.manifold-lwifitinc initscript with proxychains
# Copyright 1999-2012 Gentoo Foundation
# Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2


[ "x${SYSLOG}" = "xyes" ] && LOG="" || LOG=" --logfile=/var/log/tinc.${NETNAME}.log"
OPTS_EXEC="--net=${NETNAME}${LOG} --pidfile ${PIDFILE}"

depend() {
        use logger dns
        need net

check_config() {
        if [ ! -f "${CONFIG}" ]; then
                eerror "Cannot start network ${NETNAME}."
                eerror "Please set up ${CONFIG} !"
                return 1

reload() {
        if [ -f "${PIDFILE}" ] ; then
                        ebegin "Reloading tinc network ${NETNAME}"
                        start-stop-daemon --signal HUP --pidfile "${PIDFILE}"
                        eend $?
this runscript file is written to work with OpenRC's runit template. It is a working in progress and the interfaces are subject to change.

The keyidea, though, is to set proxychains in LD_PRELOAD. Write you own version if necessary.

FILE /etc/conf.d/tincd.manifold-lwifiLD_PRELOAD proxychains

Add this one into our runlevel.

root #rc-update add tincd.manifold-lwifi
Remember to remove other tincd services in default runlevel. Add it to another runlevel which inherits default like lwifi, if necessary

set up tinc

Notice that the http proxy only allows CONNECT to port 443 (https protocol), our first hop node should have tinc listening on port 443.

For how to configure and use tinc, refer to tinc [1]

test this all out

root #rc-update | grep lwifi
             net.eth1 |                    lwifi                 
          socksIphone |                    lwifi                 
 tincd.manifold-lwifi |                    lwifi 

Pluggin the phone and fire it up.

root #rc lwifi

Now that we have access to our own VPN, we can access any host inside and use any node as our gateway. The possibility is limitless. From now on the library becomes our second home ;-)