Ivan Tomica

Problem SSHing into .local machines

Immediately after I switched to Fedora on my main machine I noticed that I can’t SSH into other machines on my local network via their hostname.

My home network is set up in a way that every machine has it’s FQDN hostname, though it has invalid TLD (.local). My naming scheme is as follows:

spock.tomica.local – my main rig
scotty.tomica.local – my laptop

…you get the point. Anyways, when I tried connecting to scotty.tomica.local SSH gave error that it cannot resolve hostname.

I immediately double-checked my router configuration, made sure SSH AND my laptop were both turned on, checked my firewall rules (though, nothing has been changed there in a while).

So lets check if scotty.tomica.local really returns valid IP address:

$ dig a scotty.tomica.local +short
192.168.1.222

and as we see it does. Lets SSH into that IP address:

ssh root@192.168.1.222

It works! Weird, right? Why then SSH cannot resolve hostname scotty.tomica.local and dig can? Well, aparently they don’t resolve it in same way. SSH for domain resolving uses priority list from /etc/nsswitch.conf which on my newly installed Fedora rig contained:

hosts:      files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns myhostname mymachines

Which obviously has wrong order. For it to resolve local names via DNS I needed to move dns “up a bit” so now it looks like:

hosts:      files dns mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] myhostname mymachines

After that I was able to connect via SSH by using .local FQDN once again.

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