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I have several computers running on my home LAN, and all are connected to one router. I'm running linux on some of the machines and Windows on the others. Without any configuration, I can ping a hostname from machine, regardless of that host's OS, and it works. I didn't set anything up, so what is doing the hostname resolution?

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probably the router's running some form of basic internal DNS service - if its linux based, possibly with dnsmasq. –  Journeyman Geek Apr 4 '11 at 5:51
    
Ah good call. I looked in my router's settings and found a DNS listing. If you write an answer to my question, I'll mark it as correct. –  mouche Apr 4 '11 at 6:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, it's probably not DNS-based at all... Windows machines natively use NetBIOS name resolution to identify other machines on the local network segment. The Linux boxes, assuming a relatively recent distribution, are almost certainly running samba by default, which allows them to tap into the Windows SMB messaging, giving them access to NetBIOS messages and name resolution. None of this depends on the router - you could swap it out for a dumb passive hub and it would all work just as well.

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This should be the correct answer. –  ultrasawblade Apr 4 '11 at 10:41
    
Great thanks. After looking it up, that sounds right. –  mouche Apr 4 '11 at 21:38

probably the router's running some form of basic internal DNS service - if its linux based, possibly with dnsmasq.

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