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And if that does anything maybe purge and reinstall ipchains, and see what happens.
It just feels sort of like a broken dependency database by the lack of a return from 'dpkg -l ¦ grep kernel-image'.
Yes I did try that, it reports 0's across the board, "0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded."
I might just recompile the kernel to make sure that it isn't confused about something, failing that I think I'll go with the 2.4 kernel.
My recomendation is to download kernel sources and kernel-package (apt-get install kernel-source-2.2.21 kernel-package) and zless debian.README.gz at /usr/doc/kernel-source-2.x.x to rebuild it easily using make-kpkg.
I don't use that kernel in particular, but more probably the support for ipchains at the configuration (make menuconfig or such) was disabled on your very basic kernel. I checked and there are not modules for that in the particular version reported by uname.
-hehehe yeah I guess it is a bit much to expect :)
I compiled a 2.4. kernel with necessary modules, iptables works just fine with it. I might go back an mess with the 2.2 kernel later (but I doubt it) ...
If I were you, I wouldn't bother revisiting the 2.2 kernel unless you are trying to set up a firewall on a machine too old to run the current version of the distribution. There are other reasons to go with a particular kernel version other than the latest release, but I think 2.4 and iptables is a good default. I know for a while I heard people complain that the 2.4 kernels weren't ready for production use, but the last time I managed to crash a 2.4 series kernel, the version number ended in 'testX-preY'.
Of course, the most heavily loaded systems I've been responsible for only had a couple hundred users (half of whom were in reality just entries in the password file.), which I'm sure is childs' play compared to the experience of at least a few others around. My oppinion is only slightly more definitive than my spelling. ;)