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To build libpcap, run “./configure” (a shell script). The configure script will determine your system attributes and generate an appropriate Makefile from Makefile.in. Next run “make”. If everything goes well you can su to root and run “make install”. However, you need not install libpcap if you just want to build tcpdump; just make sure the tcpdump and libpcap directory trees have the same parent directory.

If configure says:

configure: warning: cannot determine packet capture interface
configure: warning: (see INSTALL for more info)

then your system either does not support packet capture or your system does support packet capture but libpcap does not support that particular type. (If you have HP-UX, see below.) If your system uses a packet capture not supported by libpcap, please send us patches; don’t forget to include an autoconf fragment suitable for use in configure.ac.

It is possible to override the default packet capture type, although the circumstance where this works are limited. For example if you have installed bpf under SunOS 4 and wish to build a snit libpcap:

./configure --with-pcap=snit

Another example is to force a supported packet capture type in the case where the configure scripts fails to detect it.

You will need an ANSI C compiler to build libpcap. The configure script will abort if your compiler is not ANSI compliant. If this happens, use the generally available GNU C compiler (GCC).

You will need either Flex 2.5.31 or later, or a version of Lex compatible with it (if any exist), to build libpcap. The configure script will abort if there isn’t any such program. If you have an older version of Flex, or don’t have a compatible version of Lex, the current version of flex is available at flex.sourceforge.net.

You will need either Bison, Berkeley YACC, or a version of YACC compatible with them (if any exist), to build libpcap. The configure script will abort if there isn’t any such program. If you don’t have any such program, the current version of Bison can be found at https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/bison/ and the current version of Berkeley YACC can be found at https://invisible-island.net/byacc/.

Sometimes the stock C compiler does not interact well with Flex and Bison. The list of problems includes undefined references for alloca. You can get around this by installing GCC.

If you use Solaris, there is a bug with bufmod(7) that is fixed in Solaris 2.3.2 (aka SunOS 5.3.2). Setting a snapshot length with the broken bufmod(7) results in data be truncated from the FRONT of the packet instead of the end. The work around is to not set a snapshot length but this results in performance problems since the entire packet is copied to user space. If you must run an older version of Solaris, there is a patch available from Sun; ask for bugid 1149065. After installing the patch, use “setenv BUFMOD_FIXED” to enable use of bufmod(7). However, we recommend you run a more current release of Solaris.

If you use the SPARCompiler, you must be careful to not use the /usr/ucb/cc interface. If you do, you will get bogus warnings and perhaps errors. Either make sure your path has /opt/SUNWspro/bin before /usr/ucb or else:

setenv CC /opt/SUNWspro/bin/cc

before running configure. (You might have to do a “make distclean” if you already ran configure once).

If you are trying to do packet capture with a FORE ATM card, you may or may not be able to. They usually only release their driver in object code so unless their driver supports packet capture, there’s not much libpcap can do.

If you get an error like:

tcpdump: recv_ack: bind error 0x???

when using DLPI, look for the DL_ERROR_ACK error return values, usually in /usr/include/sys/dlpi.h, and find the corresponding value.

Under {DEC OSF/1, Digital UNIX, Tru64 UNIX}, packet capture must be enabled before it can be used. For instructions on how to enable packet filter support, see:


Look for the “How do I configure the Berkeley Packet Filter and capture tcpdump traces?” item.

Once you enable packet filter support, your OSF system will support bpf natively.

Under Ultrix, packet capture must be enabled before it can be used. For instructions on how to enable packet filter support, see:


If you use HP-UX, you must have at least version 9 and either the version of cc that supports ANSI C (cc -Aa) or else use the GNU C compiler. You must also buy the optional streams package. If you don’t have:


then you don’t have the streams package. In addition, we believe you need to install the “9.X LAN and DLPI drivers cumulative” patch (PHNE_6855) to make the version 9 DLPI work with libpcap.

The DLPI streams package is standard starting with HP-UX 10.

The HP implementation of DLPI is a little bit eccentric. Unlike Solaris, you must attach /dev/dlpi instead of the specific /dev/* network pseudo device entry in order to capture packets. The PPA is based on the ifnet “index” number. Under HP-UX 9, it is necessary to read /dev/kmem and the kernel symbol file (/hp-ux). Under HP-UX 10, DLPI can provide information for determining the PPA. It does not seem to be possible to trace the loopback interface. Unlike other DLPI implementations, PHYS implies MULTI and SAP and you get an error if you try to enable more than one promiscuous mode at a time.

It is impossible to capture outbound packets on HP-UX 9. To do so on HP-UX 10, you will, apparently, need a late “LAN products cumulative patch” (at one point, it was claimed that this would be PHNE_18173 for s700/10.20; at another point, it was claimed that the required patches were PHNE_20892, PHNE_20725 and PHCO_10947, or newer patches), and to do so on HP-UX 11 you will, apparently, need the latest lancommon/DLPI patches and the latest driver patch for the interface(s) in use on HP-UX 11 (at one point, it was claimed that patches PHNE_19766, PHNE_19826, PHNE_20008, and PHNE_20735 did the trick).

Furthermore, on HP-UX 10, you will need to turn on a kernel switch by doing

echo 'lanc_outbound_promisc_flag/W 1' | adb -w /stand/vmunix /dev/mem

You would have to arrange that this happen on reboots; the right way to do that would probably be to put it into an executable script file “/sbin/init.d/outbound_promisc” and making “/sbin/rc2.d/S350outbound_promisc” a symbolic link to that script.

Finally, testing shows that there can’t be more than one simultaneous DLPI user per network interface.

If you use Linux, this version of libpcap is known to compile and run under Red Hat 4.0 with the 2.0.25 kernel. It may work with earlier 2.X versions but is guaranteed not to work with 1.X kernels. Running more than one libpcap program at a time, on a system with a 2.0.X kernel, can cause problems since promiscuous mode is implemented by twiddling the interface flags from the libpcap application; the packet capture mechanism in the 2.2 and later kernels doesn’t have this problem. Also, packet timestamps aren’t very good. This appears to be due to haphazard handling of the timestamp in the kernel.

Note well: there is rumoured to be a version of tcpdump floating around called 3.0.3 that includes libpcap and is supposed to support Linux. You should be advised that neither the Network Research Group at LBNL nor the Tcpdump Group ever generated a release with this version number. The LBNL Network Research Group notes with interest that a standard cracker trick to get people to install trojans is to distribute bogus packages that have a version number higher than the current release. They also noted with annoyance that 90% of the Linux related bug reports they got are due to changes made to unofficial versions of their page. If you are having trouble but aren’t using a version that came from tcpdump.org, please try that before submitting a bug report!

On Linux, libpcap will not work if the kernel does not have the packet socket option enabled; see the README.linux file for information about this.

If you use AIX, you may not be able to build libpcap from this release. We do not have an AIX system in house so it’s impossible for us to test AIX patches submitted to us. We are told that you must link against /lib/pse.exp, that you must use AIX cc or a GNU C compiler newer than 2.7.2, and that you may need to run strload before running a libpcap application.

Read the README.aix file for information on installing libpcap and configuring your system to be able to support libpcap.

If you use NeXTSTEP, you will not be able to build libpcap from this release.

If you use SINIX, you should be able to build libpcap from this release. It is known to compile and run on SINIX-Y/N 5.42 with the C-DS V1.0 or V1.1 compiler. But note that in some releases of SINIX, yacc emits incorrect code; if grammar.y fails to compile, change every occurrence of:

#ifdef YYDEBUG

to: #if YYDEBUG

Another workaround is to use flex and bison.

If you use SCO, you might have trouble building libpcap from this release. We do not have a machine running SCO and have not had reports of anyone successfully building on it; the current release of libpcap does not compile on SCO OpenServer 5. Although SCO apparently supports DLPI to some extent, the DLPI in OpenServer 5 is very non-standard, and it appears that completely new code would need to be written to capture network traffic. SCO do not appear to provide tcpdump binaries for OpenServer 5 or OpenServer 6 as part of SCO Skunkware:


If you use UnixWare, you might be able to build libpcap from this release, or you might not. We do not have a machine running UnixWare, so we have not tested it; however, SCO provide packages for libpcap 0.6.2 and tcpdump 3.7.1 in the UnixWare 7/Open UNIX 8 part of SCO Skunkware, and the source package for libpcap 0.6.2 is not changed from the libpcap 0.6.2 source release, so this release of libpcap might also build without changes on UnixWare 7.

If linking tcpdump fails with “Undefined: _alloca” when using bison on a Sun4, your version of Bison is broken. In any case version 1.16 or higher is recommended (1.14 is known to cause problems 1.16 is known to work). Either pick up a current version from:


or hack around it by inserting the lines:

#ifdef __GNUC__
#define alloca __builtin_alloca
#ifdef sparc
#include <alloca.h>
char *alloca ();

right after the (100 line!) GNU license comment in bison.simple, remove grammar.[co] and fire up make again.

If you use SunOS 4, your kernel must support streams NIT. If you run a libpcap program and it dies with:

/dev/nit: No such device

You must add streams NIT support to your kernel configuration, run config and boot the new kernel.


CHANGES         - description of differences between releases
ChmodBPF/*      - macOS startup item to set ownership and permissions on /dev/bpf*
CMakeLists.txt      - CMake file
CONTRIBUTING.md     - guidelines for contributing
CREDITS         - people that have helped libpcap along
INSTALL.md      - this file
LICENSE         - the license under which tcpdump is distributed
Makefile.in     - compilation rules (input to the configure script)
README.md       - description of distribution
doc/README.aix      - notes on using libpcap on AIX
doc/README.dag      - notes on using libpcap to capture on Endace DAG devices
doc/README.hpux     - notes on using libpcap on HP-UX
doc/README.linux    - notes on using libpcap on Linux
doc/README.macos    - notes on using libpcap on macOS
doc/README.septel   - notes on using libpcap to capture on Intel/Septel devices
doc/README.sita     - notes on using libpcap to capture on SITA devices
doc/README.tru64    - notes on using libpcap on Digital/Tru64 UNIX
doc/README.Win32.md - notes on using libpcap on Win32 systems (with Npcap)
VERSION         - version of this release
acconfig.h      - support for post-2.13 autoconf
aclocal.m4      - autoconf macros
arcnet.h        - ARCNET definitions
atmuni31.h      - ATM Q.2931 definitions
bpf_dump.c      - BPF program printing routines
bpf_filter.c        - BPF filtering routines
bpf_image.c     - BPF disassembly routine
config.guess        - autoconf support
config.h.in     - autoconf input
config.sub      - autoconf support
configure       - configure script (run this first)
configure.ac        - configure script source
dlpisubs.c      - DLPI-related functions for pcap-dlpi.c and pcap-libdlpi.c
dlpisubs.h      - DLPI-related function declarations
etherent.c      - /etc/ethers support routines
ethertype.h     - Ethernet protocol types and names definitions
fad-getad.c     - pcap_findalldevs() for systems with getifaddrs()
fad-gifc.c      - pcap_findalldevs() for systems with only SIOCGIFLIST
fad-glifc.c     - pcap_findalldevs() for systems with SIOCGLIFCONF
filtertest.c        - test program for BPF compiler
findalldevstest.c   - test program for pcap_findalldevs()
gencode.c       - BPF code generation routines
gencode.h       - BPF code generation definitions
grammar.y       - filter string grammar
ieee80211.h     - 802.11 definitions
install-sh      - BSD style install script
lbl/os-*.h      - OS-dependent defines and prototypes
llc.h           - 802.2 LLC SAP definitions
missing/*       - replacements for missing library functions
mkdep           - construct Makefile dependency list
msdos/*         - drivers for MS-DOS capture support
nametoaddr.c        - hostname to address routines
nlpid.h         - OSI network layer protocol identifier definitions
net         - symlink to bpf/net
optimize.c      - BPF optimization routines
pcap/bluetooth.h    - public definition of DLT_BLUETOOTH_HCI_H4_WITH_PHDR header
pcap/bpf.h      - BPF definitions
pcap/namedb.h       - public libpcap name database definitions
pcap/pcap.h     - public libpcap definitions
pcap/sll.h      - public definitions of DLT_LINUX_SLL and DLT_LINUX_SLL2 headers
pcap/usb.h      - public definition of DLT_USB header
pcap-bpf.c      - BSD Packet Filter support
pcap-bpf.h      - header for backwards compatibility
pcap-bt-linux.c     - Bluetooth capture support for Linux
pcap-bt-linux.h     - Bluetooth capture support for Linux
pcap-dag.c      - Endace DAG device capture support
pcap-dag.h      - Endace DAG device capture support
pcap-dlpi.c     - Data Link Provider Interface support
pcap-dos.c      - MS-DOS capture support
pcap-dos.h      - headers for MS-DOS capture support
pcap-enet.c     - enet support
pcap-int.h      - internal libpcap definitions
pcap-libdlpi.c      - Data Link Provider Interface support for systems with libdlpi
pcap-linux.c        - Linux packet socket support
pcap-namedb.h       - header for backwards compatibility
pcap-nit.c      - SunOS Network Interface Tap support
pcap-nit.h      - SunOS Network Interface Tap definitions
pcap-npf.c      - Npcap capture support
pcap-null.c     - dummy monitor support (allows offline use of libpcap)
pcap-pf.c       - Ultrix and Digital/Tru64 UNIX Packet Filter support
pcap-pf.h       - Ultrix and Digital/Tru64 UNIX Packet Filter definitions
pcap-septel.c       - Intel/Septel device capture support
pcap-septel.h       - Intel/Septel device capture support
pcap-sita.c     - SITA device capture support
pcap-sita.h     - SITA device capture support
pcap-sita.html      - SITA device capture documentation
pcap-stdinc.h       - includes and #defines for compiling on Win32 systems
pcap-snit.c     - SunOS 4.x STREAMS-based Network Interface Tap support
pcap-snoop.c        - IRIX Snoop network monitoring support
pcap-usb-linux.c    - USB capture support for Linux
pcap-usb-linux.h    - USB capture support for Linux
pcap.3pcap      - manual entry for the library
pcap.c          - pcap utility routines
pcap.h          - header for backwards compatibility
pcap_*.3pcap        - manual entries for library functions
pcap-filter.4       - manual entry for filter syntax
pcap-linktype.4     - manual entry for link-layer header types
ppp.h           - Point to Point Protocol definitions
savefile.c      - offline support
scanner.l       - filter string scanner
sunatmpos.h     - definitions for SunATM capturing
Win32           - headers and routines for building on Win32 systems