[sf-lug] ERROR: getaddrinfo: Name or service not known

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Thu Nov 8 11:10:20 PST 2012


I am trying to remotely dial in to my boss's server so that I can work from
wherever I want using 12.04.  He is using a Windows server, probably
Microsoft Windows 7.  I have successfully dialed in before using several
different computers, but just recently recently have been getting this

cje at rb:~$ rdesktop rds.xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -f -a 16  -k en-us
ERROR: getaddrinfo: Name or service not known

I changed the IP address of my boss's server above to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
because I am not sure if it is smart to put that info up on the Internet.
(Would it be stupid to do that?)

My boss says that he can still dial in from his home using his Microsoft
Windows machine.  Googling, I see that it might have something to do with



There are a couple of reasons for this error. It is most likely caused by
avahi. Avahi implements the zeroconf/Bonjour. Avahi is installed and turned
on by default in most of the recent versions of ubuntu. Avahi uses .local
by default (see
It has also became a common practice to use .local for internal

The simplest test would be check if avahi is running and turn it off if it
is, and then try and connect using the name.

ps ax | grep avahi
service avahi-daemon stop
rdesktop myserver.mydomain.local

if you can now connect you have a name conflict between your internal name,
and avahi.
if you don't need it you can turn it off, however you loose some of the
cool features (automatic service discovery)

If you want to use avahi, then things get a bit more tricky
you can change your internal DNS domain from mydomain.local to something
like mydomain.private. However if you have even a moderate size network,
then the likely hood of things breaking is quite high.

Here is avahi's page with work arounds

I changed the avahi.conf file to .alocal but that didn';t work so I changed
/etc/nsswitch.conf. I located the hosts line and put dns in front of the
mdns stuff, like so
hosts: files dns mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return]

after that I could start avahi, and still do .local lookups

Hope this helps.


I am a relatively simple end user, and so I would prefer to implement a
solution or workaround that does not take me too far from a standard
install, because I will probably forget this issue and then I will be
creating more problems for gurus who might want to help me later.  Thanks
in advance for any help.
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