[Techtalk] ssh and name resolution

Conor Daly c.daly at met.ie
Thu Sep 11 09:28:16 UTC 2008

On Tue, Sep 09, 2008 at 04:27:24PM -0700 or thereabouts, Maria McKinley wrote:
> I have also resolved the ssh problem, but I don't understand it. The 
> problem was this line in nsswitch.conf:
> hosts:          files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4
> when I change it to this, ssh works:
> hosts:          files dns
> what I don't understand is why the top line works for some of my 
> machines, but not others. Also, does it matter? What is the point of the 
> top line?

A quick google of mdns4_minimal reveals that it's something to do with
multicast dns (which is something I've only just heard of now...).  The
mdns4 restricts it to IPV4 for the (common) case where IPV6 is not
implemented.  The [NOTFOUND=return] bit somehow causes nsswitch to move on
to the next option if mdns4_minimal fails to resolve (
http://archives.mandrivalinux.com/cooker/2008-05/msg01066.php ).

Conor Daly,                   
Met Eireann, Glasnevin Hill,  
Dublin 9, Ireland             
Ph +3531 8064276 Fax +3531 8064247

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