[sf-lug] resolver problem

Bobbie Sellers bliss-sf4ever at dslextreme.com
Fri Apr 8 12:17:04 PDT 2016

On 04/08/2016 11:41 AM, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Alex Kleider (akleider at sonic.net):
>> On 2016-04-08 08:11, Bobbie Sellers wrote:
>>> Well since you are talking re-install then I will toss in my 2
>>> cents worth.  Have you tried un-installing and re-installing Firefox?
>> I have not.  My assumption is that Firefox couldn't be causing a
>> problem that would make ping succeed and curl fail to resolve an IP
>> address- does that seem valid (or not?)
> Your instincts seem sound.  It doesn't seem likely.
> On the other side of that, you _should_ be able to test by just doing
> apt-get --purge remove [package]
> apt-get install [package]
> (As you're on Ubuntu and probably use sudo, prepend sudo to those.
> Old-school, one su's to user root to do such things.)
> Point is, it's an easy thing to test, even if it seems unlikely.
> A reminder, though:  User dotfiles can also do mischief.  (By that, I refer
> to per-user program configuration files and directories in the user
> homedir that are characteristically[1] 'hidden' by their names starting
> with a dot.  A 'hidden' file is omitted from the ls command but included
> when ls has the '-a' flag.)
         Most of the better GUI file manager like Dolphin on KDE have a
place to turn on the view of the dot files usually marked "Show Hidden 
> Per-user dotfiles in the user's homedir override (for that one user)
> system-wide configuration files in /etc.  For example, the editor vim
> obeys system-wide configuration file /etc/vim/vimrc .  An individual
> user wanting to customise that can create ~/.vimrc, at his/her option
> either basing it on /etc/vim/vimrc or writing a totally new one.
> Programs often update dotfile conffiles and directories on the user's
> behalf, e.g., if you store a bookmark in Firefox, it will get written to
> a bookmarks.html file inside directory tree ~/.firefox or ~/.mozilla or
> somewhere like that.
     Not really.  Firefox uses another format to store its bookmarks.
If you just back up the bookmarks the file comes out to
"bookmarks-2016-04-08.json" but I always export to .html as it
seems to be a more universal format.
     It is very hard to figure the places Firefox hides its bookmarks
but once you start using the .html export/backup the backup-bookmarks
directory is created and soon has a lot of backups in it.

> Anyway, there is always a chance that one's dotfile configuration state
> has somehow sabotaged a program _as run by that user_.  Therefore, if in
> doubt about this, it's userful to create a new scratch user, one that
> impliedly starts with a blank slate for user configuration files, and
> double-check the program.

     It can certainly mess up things so I always make a fresh backup of the
bookmarks in html then  import it to the new Firefox.
> I'll stress that I've never seen user dotfiles, no matter how badly
> mangled, sabotage a program by making its DNS access no longer work.
> However, when I worked at Cadence Design Systems in the 2000s and the
> firm was trying to use the GNOME desktop on Linux for a standard
> workstation, it was extremely common for GNOME to so mangle the user's
> four directories of GNOME settings in the user's homedir that GNOME
> would crash on login and log the user back out.  Removing those four
> conffile directories in the user's homedir always fixed the immediate
> problem (but of course reverted the user's GNOME desktop to defaults).
> Before doing so, we would sometimes create a scratch user to ensure that
> GNOME _generically_ was still OK, and that was always the case.  Only
> the one user's GNOME was bollixed, on account of corruption to GNOME's
> settings in the per-user conffiles.  (It turned out that GNOME could not
> manage its dotfiles because the user homedir was on NFS, and GNOME did
> an incompetent job on interacting with NFS locking.)
> [1] Old-school, all program configuration files and directories in a
> user's homedir reliably had names starting with a dot, hence were
> 'hidden'.  Some new-school programs fail to follow this convention.  For
> example, last I checked, two of the per-user conffile directories for
> GNOME had non-'hidden' names.  It's unclear why the GNOME devs made that
> silly decision, but they did.  Anyway, the name 'dotfile' has a long
> Unix history of implying 'any per-user conffile or conffile directory',
> so when I say 'dotfile' these days, I include by extension ones that
> don't begin with a dot (period) character, but ought to.

     I think the hidden dot directories/files are fine.  I fail to see 
why anyone
would expose the naive user to more information than he needs right away.
Plus if someone can see a file with configuration information they can 
mess it up by simply loading a file with the wrong tool.


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