New feature: zeroconf networking by default, please test

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at
Wed Dec 13 15:36:50 GMT 2006

Hi all!

Yesterday, the remaining bits of the "Zero-configuration networking"
specification made their way to the archive and await hordes of fans,
happy users, and of course, bug reports.

The basic idea is that whenever you try to connect to a network and do
not get a DHCP response, you will automatically get an IP from the range (called 'IPv4 link-layer address'). If other
laptops in the room do the same, they negotiate IP addresses to avoid
conflicts. Thus every computer is in the same IP network and they can
communicate with each other. 

Thanks to nss-mdns (which is now also active by default), you can even
talk to them by their hostnames in the '.local' DNS domain (e. g.
'ping joes_laptop.local'). 

You can easily build such a network with a crossover ethernet cable
between two machines or creating a new Wireless network in Network
Manager. Both statically configured DHCP network interfaces (i. e.
ifupdown, /etc/network/interfaces) and dynamically configured ones
(i. e. Network Manager) have been taught to use this new feature.

You can also manually configure an ethernet interface to use this new
method exclusively in the Gnome network administration tool. However,
this is not the common use case.

This feature provides the basis for the more exciting features like
automatic network service discovery. We now enable Avahi in the
default installation, thus you will automatically see resources shared
by other network computers, such as Music (if you have rhythmbox open
and enabled sharing of your files), files (if you use
gnome-user-share), available web servers (if you configure
libapache2-mod-dnssd), and so on. The tools 'avahi-discover' or
'service-discovery-applet' will show you a list of computers and
resources that are available in the local network.

I appreciate testing and feedback, in the form of bug reports or
replies to this mail.

Thanks and enjoy,



Martin Pitt
Ubuntu Developer
Debian Developer
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