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Thread: /etc/nsswitch.conf

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Question /etc/nsswitch.conf

    Hi all,

    the following line is taken from my /etc/nsswitch.conf file

    hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

    can any one explain me what is meant by mdns4_minimal ,[NOTFOUND=return], and mdns4

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    York, UK

    Re: /etc/nsswitch.conf


    It's the recommended settings for Avahi (the mdns daemon).

    See this page at the project website for more information.
    UP Team member

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Re: /etc/nsswitch.conf

    The hosts: line specifies the order in which various name resolution services will be tried. The default is to:

    1. Begin by checking the /etc/Hosts file. If that file provides an IP address for the host name in question, it is used.

    2. Otherwise try mdns4_minimal, which will attempt to resolve the name via multicast DNS only if it ends with .local. If it does but no such mDNS host is located, mdns4_minimal will return NOTFOUND. The default name service switch response to NOTFOUND would be to try the next listed service, but the [NOTFOUND=return] entry overrides that and stops the search with the name unresolved.

    3. Then try the specified DNS servers. This will happen more-or-less immediately if the name does not end in .local, or not at all if it does. If you remove the [NOTFOUND=return] entry, nsswitch would try to locate unresolved .local hosts via unicast DNS. This would generally be a bad thing , as it would send many such requests to Internet DNS servers that would never resolve them. Apparently, that happens a lot.

    4. The final mdns4 entry indicates mDNS will be tried for names that don't end in .local if your specified DNS servers aren't able to resolve them. I thought this was meant to catch mDNS hosts when you don't specifiy the .local TLD, but I just tried it and it doesn't work. Guess I will look into it.

    Further information on nss-mdns can be found at
    Last edited by joeldbenson; April 5th, 2013 at 05:49 PM. Reason: clean up format


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