[CentOS] How to make nodes in my local LAN see each other's names

Fri Dec 2 16:11:16 UTC 2011
Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu>

On Friday, December 02, 2011 10:47:53 AM Craig White wrote:
> I think 'recommended' is a bit of a stretch - it is a possibility.

'Recommended' if you don't want to (or can't) use either old-style NT domains or ActiveDirectory.  When you need to support routable SMB/CIFS traffic for WinXP Home, Vista Home Premium, and/or Win7 Home Premium, AD (or a domain) is not an option.

> AD dispensed with WINS and uses only DNS for host resolution but it exists for non-AD / legacy / home usage.

Now that SAMBA can do a reasonable AD implementation I'll likely transtition to LDAP/DNS and away from WINS for SMB/CIFS name resolution (once I complete all the other CentOS 4 EoL-forced transitions I have to do, though).  LDAP in particular will make a lot of other things easier; but Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are most networks.

CentOS 6 will eventually replace the C4 machines I still have in place, but I'm looking a several critical system transitions and upgrades to make that happen (I'll spare the details, as they are lengthy, but it involves specific versions of specific programs, one being PostgreSQL and some contributed backend modules for dealing with inversion large objects that aren't available for PostgreSQL past version 7.4).  And then I can explore 'better than WINS' options.

I never said WINS was 'better' than DNS; on the contrary, DNS is quite a bit more stable and more robust than WINS in a number of ways (hierarchical namespace is but one example).  But, as engineers say, 'the better is the enemy of the good enough' and WINS is 'good enough' for many use cases.  In the OP's use case even broadcast-based CIFS name resolution isn't unreasonable, since it is a small network with a single layer-2 broadcast domain anyway.  As long as you make an informed decision and understand the limitations, it is not an unreasonable solution.

Further, an AD infrastructure is quite a bit more complex than the OP's scenario would allow, whereas WINS isn't hard to do and in theory non-CIFS name resolution can be done with WINS.

To the best of my knowledge, and I reserve the right to be wrong, WINS does require one machine to have a static address (as would DNS) but all others can have dynamic addresses.

And it plays well in a predominately Windows environment.

YMMV, of course.