Does the ping utility do some sort of name checking when one wants to ping a particular host by name?
Ping uses gethostbyname2() to resolve the target hostname.
A person with an account on a FreeBSD system demonstrated to me that one could successfully look up a given host using nslookup but if you pinged that host by name as in
ping host_name.domain, one got an immediate complaint from the ping utility like:
ping: cannot resolve cl_mail1.mydomain: Unknown server error
That sounds about right. nslookup is a testing utility which allows one to query RRs for string you want, including ones which correspond to invalid hostnames.
The underscore is not allowed in Internet hostnames-- see RFC-952 and -1123.
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