From an end user perspective, what needs to be, and have been done, by developers to support IPv6 in the Linux kernel and Linux distributions?

In other words, when (and if) someday the worlds switches to IPv6, can I turn on my Linux machine and everything will just work? Has the development been done, and is there anything I should do as an end user to prepare for the transition? Thanks.


Support for IPv6 is implemented in Linux, but you might still have to do two things:

  1. Ensure that Ipv6 functionality is enabled, e.g that your kernel have IPv6 related modules loaded or compiled in.
  2. Where relevant, learn what tools there are which are IPv6 specific versions and ensure those versions are available, e.g: for pinging over IPv4 networks (like the internet as of today) you use 'ping' but for pinging using IPv6, you rely on ping6.

The Linux distributions I have worked with seem to have IPv6 support already configured, out of the box, but I would recommend you to check your Linux box. E.g, check if you have a ping6 command, and check if the 'ifconfig' command list one or more 'inet6 addr' addresses.

(For some distributions you might have to explicitly add support for IPv6, like Gentoo for example. OTOH, in Gentoo you have to explicitly enable anything you want included)

  • As I just mentioned in another question, stop using ifconfig, it is obsolete. The correct command is ip addr show or simply ip a. – Juliano Apr 22 '11 at 20:18

World IPv6 day is comming in June. Linux is ready. Comcast is using software based on the OpenWRT (based on Linux) router software in their IPv6 rapid deployment trial.

Linux is ready for IPv6 and has been for a long time. For years people have been working on disabling IPv6 support as things broke when it was enabled. Fortunately, most of these things have been fixed, and most systems run IPv6 with local link connectivity.

I have dual stack implementation using OpenWRT and Ubuntu running now. Due to lack of support by my ISP I am using a 6in4 tunnel I have written articles on Implementing IPv6 6to4 on OpenWRT and a followup Implementing IPv6 Part 2. The author of the Shorenet firewall has implemented an IPv6 firewall and documents how to setup 6to4 and 6in6 tunnels.


Mostly linux distributions already ship with working IPv6 configs, and many apps have been updated to be "in the know". To my knowledge the kernel and majority of networking drivers fully support it. There are a few apps that are still finicky or lack support but things will shape up easily on the linux site as adoption grows.

As a user I don't think there is much you would do except go with the flow. If you a network admin, get cranking :)

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