Odd DNS problem

Nils Kassube kassube at gmx.net
Wed Sep 5 19:26:33 UTC 2007

Ed Smits wrote:
> On 9/4/07, Marcelino Luna <marce34 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Ed Smits wrote:
> > > As a test, I just installed IE6 for Linux, same thing, can't get to
> > > VMWare. I tried to access it from the link on the Wikipedia entry,
> > > server not found, so it's more than just a browser issue.
> > >
> > > Any ideas?
> >
> > Mmmh... Try this on a terminal:
> >
> > sudo -s
> > echo 0 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_window_scaling
> Damn, my entire system is dead now!
> No, it didn't die, I just thought how weird, I trust some guy on the
> Ubuntu list enough to do what he tells me without understanding it<G>

Well, that highlights an interesting point. Someone who asks a question on 
a mailing list trusts random persons without knowing anything about them. 
But the situation is similar to the "real world". If you ask some random 
person what time it is, what can you do? Usually you know roughly what 
time it is, so you can find out if the answer is real nonsense. But 
otherwise you have to trust that person. 

I think, it is similar here with a mailing list. People want to leave 
Windows for whatever reason and have heard / read about Ubuntu and want 
to find out if they could use it. However, there is a specific problem 
during the installation or shortly afterwards. They don't want to learn 
how things work, but want this single problem solved. What options do 
they have?

- Pay some expert for advice (this is like calling a time service by 
telephone). They can surely trust the expert. It will probably be a good 
solution, but it takes some time to find the expert, and it will cost 
money. As they only want to evaluate the system, they don't really want 
to spend any money and not too much time.

- They can do some research using $SEARCHENGINE and find some solution 
(like looking for a clock at a train station). That doesn't cost any 
money but maybe takes a lot of time. Now they have to trust themselves 
and the solution they find. Being new to Linux, the solution might damage 
their system because they don't know what commands might be dangerous. 
But who cares? If it doesn't work, they can just get rid of the new 
system and stay with Windows.

- Ask at forums or mailing lists for advice (like asking random people 
what time it is). The result may be as good as the solution from the paid 
expert, but it takes less time to get a solution and it doesn't cost 
money. However, there might as well be only a useless solution which 
damages the installed system. This time they have to trust anybody who 
gives an answer. But if the result is a damaged system, they can just 
stay with Windows.

Unfortunately we can't avoid all bad answers here. After all it is a 
mailing list for users (who usually are no experts) to support other 
users. Anyway, it seems to me, most answers are quite useful. Just like 
asking random people what time it is -- sometimes you might ask someone 
with a broken watch.

OTOH, if there is a problem with a production system (e.g. my main work 
station), I would never blindly trust random people. I would do some 
research to understand what a given solution does to the system. That 
could be reading man pages or other documentation or asking the person 
who gave the solution. Or, if it is even more important (e.g. a main 
server at a company) the only solution is paid support by experts.


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