Daniel Bye wrote:
On Fri, May 12, 2006 at 01:12:28AM +0100, Barnaby Scott wrote:
Thanks for your reply. It didn't occur to me to look at the next line - I thought it must still be doing the Configuring syscons thing!

Anyway, the next line is:

Initial i386 initialization:.

Armed with this knowledge, I just found this post: http://lists.freebsd.org/mailman/htdig/freebsd-questions/2004-April/043478.html (although I don't know where the rest of the thread went). However it doesn't leave me much the wiser! The hostname is mentioned earlier in the sequence, so presumably the OS is already aware of that, and as for DNS server, what DNS server?

The fact that the operating system knows what the machine is called,
does not necessarily mean that the name is in the DNS.  You can put an
entry in your /etc/hosts file (take a look at the file for the format),
which will allow sendmail and other daemons to start.

OK, I looked in /etc/hosts and only 127.0.0.1 localhost appears there. How do I put another entry in here though, when I don't know in advance the IP address that will be allocated to this machine by the DHCP server (provided by my router)? The odd thing is that the system knows exactly what IP address has been assigned, because I can see that transaction taking place during the boot sequence long before the point where it stalls.

  You should also
check that your hostname is in the DNS.  You might find something like
DynDNS or ZoneEdit useful if your machine is on a dynamically assigned
domestic range, such as you'd get from NTL or Telewest.

Do I really want it in the DNS? I'm not sure exactly what this means in the context of my little network, but if it means people outside my network being able to look for my computer by name, I certainly don't want that. In case it is important, I should say that during installation I was asked to configure my NIC and that was where I put a hostname, but I *didn't* enter a domain name. Should I have put something here - if so, what?


As for the DNS server, you need to tell FreeBSD where to go to resolve
names to IP addresses.  You do this by putting the IP addresses of your
ISP's name servers in your /etc/resolv.conf (yes, there really is no 'e'
on the end of resolv).  The format is 'nameserver IP.add.re.ss', without
the quotes (man 5 resolv.conf will give you more detail).

/etc/resolv.conf appears to contain one entry:
'nameserver 192.168.1.1'
which is the address of my router. I have never put in the ISP's namesevers before, and yet DNS resolution seems to happen OK! (Presumably when I update or install stuff, the system accesses the relevant FTP servers by name rather than IP address?)

  You should
also check in /etc/nsswitch.conf to make sure that you have an entry
that looks like this:

hosts: files dns

Yes it does, but with my particular setup, should I actually change this?


This tells your local resolver library to consult /etc/hosts before it
goes to the DNS.

If I am teaching Grandma how to suck eggs, I apologise - I got the
impression from the tone of your post, though, that you are quite new to all this UNIX stuff!

Don't worry - this particular Grandma wouldn't know an egg if she swallowed one, and she hasn't sucked anything in years! I am very grateful for all the help I can get. I am hampered by not only being a Unix virgin, but my only network experience is with a small peer to peer network of Windows machines (plus only what I have read). I feel rather like someone who trying to teach himself to fly an advanced fighter jet with nothing but the technical manual. So far I am still trying to operate the ladder to get in the cockpit! I'm determined to get there
though.


HTH

Dan


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