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Revision 5 as of 2006-11-08 23:35:29
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 * '''Packages affected''': `basefiles`, `dhclient`, `zeroconf`, `libnss-mdns`, `network-manager`, `avahi-au
toipd`, `avahi-daemon`, `ifupdown`, `gnome-system-tools`
 * '''Packages affected''': `basefiles`, `dhclient`, `zeroconf`, `libnss-mdns`, `network-manager`, `avahi-autoipd`, `avahi-daemon`, `ifupdown`, `gnome-system-tools`

Please check the status of this specification in Launchpad before editing it. If it is Approved, contact the Assignee or another knowledgeable person before making changes.


When a dynamic network configuration is desired and a local DHCP server is not available for a network, Ubuntu needs to correctly assign itself a link-local address. This is implemented by avahi-autoipd, but requires some additional configuration and packaging corrections to have the system behave in a fully correct way.


Other operating system correctly use link-local addresses for communicating on adhoc networks or local LANs without a DHCP server. Ubuntu users will be much happier and more productive when they are effortlessly able to communicate with other device with link-local addresses.

Use cases

  1. Claudia and Mary set up an adhoc wireless network between between their laptops. They want to be able to communicate without needing to do anything special with interface address assignments.
  2. John's home server was booted and it got a link-local address. He adds a DHCP server to his network, and boots his laptop, which receives a regular DHCP-assigned address. He wants his server and laptop to be able to communicate without fiddling with their interfaces.
  3. Ellen uses a name server that makes a .local top-level-domain available. She upgrades her computer from Edgy to Feisty, where link-local addresses are assigned by default. She needs notification that the unicast .local TLD and the link-local .local domain conflict with each other, and offer her instructions on how to disable link-local assignments.



  • After coming up, interfaces must be able to correctly route traffic to the local network for the link-local IANA network (
  • Dynamic interfaces that do not get a DHCP address must assign themselves a link-local address.
  • The .local TLD must be resolvable via the link-local mDNS.

  • Users new to link-locale addressing need to be educated about the changes.


  • basefiles(?) -- for educational purposes, update to include description of link-local network

    • add "link-local" to /etc/networks
  • dhclient -- add hook for DNS changes to check for unicast "local" TLD

    • When a unicast local TLD is available, notify the user about the problem, and offer to fix it

      • {{if ! host -t soa local. >/dev/null 2>&1; then NOTIFY; fi


  • zeroconf -- incompatible with avahi

    • remove package from archive
  • libnss-mdns -- to resolve link-local local TLD

    • start with version 0.8-5
    • audit and promote to main
    • read debian #393711
      • audit for error conditions around automatic update of the nsswitch.conf 'hosts' line

    • build package with --disable-legacy (drops ministack)

  • network-manager

    • patch with proper avahi link-local hooks, especially for adhoc modes
  • avahi-autoipd -- the actual core of ipv4ll assignment

  • avahi-daemon

    • enable by default
  • in /etc/network/interfaces add some comments on how to set up manual ll addresses correctly.
  • ifupdown, gnome-system-tools

    • patch to include "ipv4ll" method (as opposed to "dhcp", "static", etc) for sane configuration in /etc/network/interfaces


Data preservation and migration

Clarification of terminology

Zeroconf is a collection of protocols including ipv4 link local, mdns, and dns service-discovery. Apple's implementation of zeroconf was named "Rendezvous", and was later renamed to "Bonjour". Avahi is a free software implementation of zeroconf. See

IPv4 link-local addresses are in the space.

mDNS is DNS over multicast on the local network.

DNS-sd allows for service discovery using mDNS (which is out of scope for this spec).



ZeroConfNetworking (last edited 2008-08-06 17:00:50 by localhost)