On Jul 2, 2004, at 20:39, David Fuchs wrote:

# $FreeBSD: src/etc/host.conf,v 1.6 1999/08/27 23:23:41 peter Exp $
# First try the /etc/hosts file
# Now try the nameserver next.
# If you have YP/NIS configured, uncomment the next line
# nis

That's typical.

Considering that 'hosts' is listed first, I would expect that any entries I add to /etc/hosts will take precedence over entries retrieved from bind. So, I added an entry to this file for a random IP-to-name mapping, and tested it with the 'host(1)' command, and it failed. When I enable debugging, it clearly shows that it's consulting the first nameserver listed in resolv.conf (an external host), no mention of a hosts file anywhere (or attempt to send a request to the local host)

Try ping; even if the host isn't available you can see if it resolves. "host" does it's own thing, which is sometimes non-obvious (to me at least). Look at the sections in man host about the variables it expects to be configured.

Additionally, what classifies as 'when the name server is not running' - does this mean that /etc/hosts is used when all the nameservers listed in /etc/resolv.conf are unavailable? (As I only use the local named(8) daemon to host my personal domain, not for everyday recursive lookups.) Or does it literally refer to when my local copy of named(8) is not in the process list?

The latter. For example, many workstations aren't configured to run named at all; they'll still reference their local hosts file.


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