Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Avahi / ZeroConf Problem with Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty

A screenshot of Avahi running under Xubuntu, d...Image via Wikipedia
If you are planning to upgrade your 8.04LTS machine up to 9.04 in order to get extra functionality, but depend on Avahi-based services like local chat in Pidgin or Empathy, Gnome User Share, or a DAAP server for music, you're in for quite a shock. Avahi fails to start for many machines due to either:
  1. A router DNS cache system that's improperly configured (D-Link has one of these), or
  2. An ISP which has its DNS system improperly configured.
When one of these returns a lookup for the .local domain, Avahi is shut down ... whether you have such a domain on your local network or not. You'll get an error like this:
avahi-daemon disabled because there is a unicast .local domain

What's the solution? Edit /etc/default/avahi-daemon and set
to keep Avahi from making this check. Of course, you need to make sure that there isn't really a valid .local domain on your network, but if you're running a home network, that's unlikely to be the case. If you are sure the problem is with your ISP, you can change your router's DNS lookup to OpenDNS to solve the problem, too.


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