What (if any) are the significant differences between netcat-traditional and netcat-openbsd?

I'm having trouble finding any relative information. Anybody familiar that can offer some insight?


2 Answers 2


You can look at the packages' descriptions using apt-cache show. They say it all:

$ apt-cache show netcat-traditional 
 This is the "classic" netcat, written by *Hobbit*. It lacks many
 features found in netcat-openbsd.
$ apt-cache show netcat-openbsd 
 This package contains the OpenBSD rewrite of netcat, including support
 for IPv6, proxies, and Unix sockets.

So the significant differences are as stated. The OpenBSD rewrite supports IPv6, proxies, and Unix sockets, which the traditional implementation lacks. In practice, if you don't need any of these, you won't notice a difference.


netcat-traditional includes -e option to execute program from remote shell, which is not present in netcat-openbsd

  • 3
    Also, apparently, traditional lacks several options such as the -z option which specifies that nc should just scan for listening daemons, without sending any data to them. Oct 19, 2020 at 21:53

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