FireHOL Source Code

All of FireHOL is made available under the GPLv2+ Licence.

Developers and non-developers alike are welcome to get involved in the FireHOL project.

There is a github firehol project from where you can get to each individual repository.

We also have GitHub repositories for:


Unless you want to help develop FireHOL you may want to download and install a packaged version.

Otherwise, clone the source from a repository above. The basic git commands to perform a clone are below.

Note: if you do not want to run git but are just looking for the bleeding edge version, you can still use the normal install instructions: the ‘automatic builds’ are updated whenever the master repository is changed, within a few minutes.

For a first time clone of a repository into directory firehol:

$ git clone
Cloning into 'firehol'...
remote: Reusing existing pack: 4651, done.
remote: Counting objects: 20, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (15/15), done.
remote: Total 4671 (delta 5), reused 20 (delta 5)
Receiving objects: 100% (4671/4671), 1.80 MiB | 714 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (3008/3008), done.
$ cd firehol

Update a previously cloned repository to the latest version:

$ cd firehol
$ git pull
Already up-to-date.

You need to set up autoconf, configure and make, then you can use the commands in situ (or install with make install):

./configure --enable-maintainer-mode
sudo ./sbin/firehol

For more help with git, you should read one of the many tutorials that can be found. This one looks very comprehensive. There is also an online version of what you get by running man gittutorial.

Get Involved

Help on the project will be welcomed in any area you have the time and inclination to offer it. One-off reports and offers of help are perfectly welcome if you spot a problem in the code, documentation or website.

If you would like to help out but don’t know exactly what on, please consider introducing yourself on the development mailing list (archive).

Development decisions take place using a combination of the development list and the GitHub issue tracker.


Core development requires you to understand BASH reasonably well. It will help if you know git and have a github account but if you want to post patches or even code snippets, that’s fine too.

To get coding, fork the repository, which doesn’t require you to have an account, and see the build instructions.

To help with the build/release system, take a look at its repository.

To learn Bash scripting we suggest the following documents:


Should have a good understanding of the tools needed to check if a firewall is behaving as they expect. General systems admin knowledge will be helpful as will understanding plain iptables commands.

You don’t need in-depth knowledge or to be able to test everything to be useful - every little helps. If many people check just their running setup against the daily build regularly, we could be reasonably sure that nothing will break when we do a release.

Documentation writers + Website designers

Documentation and website pages are all processed with pandoc markdown which is very quick and easy to use.

Manual page updates are all about spotting errors in the current files or tracking changes and additions in the code repository.

There is a lot of scope for new website guides to walk users through setting up firewalling and traffic control. Some ideas:

  • Basic host protection
  • Single network protection
  • Multiple network / DMZ protection
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) and masquerading
  • Embedding iptables commands
  • Unusual traffic
  • Tarpitting
  • Logging
  • Basic QOS traffic matching
  • Advanced QOS traffic matching
  • Overhead calculation for QOS

If you have installed FireHOL on a platform other than the ones listed, a quick set of instructions can help many people.

The website source is compiled with nanoc and uses bootstrap for styling.

Support and Helping Others

If you are an experienced user willing to help others, please join up to the support mailing list and offer advice where you can. There’s no formal role or sign-up process!

Curating information at external sites is also helpful, for instance: