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Date: Thu, 30 May 2019 10:50:22 +0200
From: Florian Weimer <>
To: Rich Felker <>
Subject: Re: DNS resolver patch

* Rich Felker:

> On Thu, Dec 27, 2018 at 08:18:16PM +0100, Florian Weimer wrote:
>> * Rich Felker:
>> > On Thu, Dec 06, 2018 at 07:46:02PM +0000, Laurent Bercot wrote:
>> >> >The musl resolver should be able to handle a resolver returning NODATA.
>> >> >That is popular for having a separate extranet infrastructure - your
>> >> >extranet DNS only contains records for your local domain and returns
>> >> >NODATA for requests outside that domain.
>> >> 
>> >> No, you are talking about servers containing data. The musl client
>> >> (which is not a resolver, because it only performs recursive queries)
>> >> should not contact those directly. It should contact a real resolver,
>> >> a.k.a. cache, and the cache will contact the servers containing data.
>> >> If the domain has been configured properly, the servers are never asked
>> >> for data that are outside that domain.
>> >> 
>> >> It is the single most annoying, most bug-prone, and most confusing
>> >> flaw of DNS to have "communication between the DNS client and the DNS
>> >> cache" (recursive queries) and "communication between the DNS cache
>> >> and the DNS server" (non-recursive queries) happen on the same port.
>> >> I'd even take a different _protocol_ if it could stop people from
>> >> misconfiguring DNS.
>> >> 
>> >> The default usage of BIND, which was "one single daemon is both a
>> >> cache and a server and we entertain the confusion", did a lot of harm
>> >> to the Internet. As your post illustrates, this harm pertains to this
>> >> day.
>> >
>> > I'm not sure what the relation to the confusion between querying an
>> > authoritative server and a recursive server is here, but the quoted
>> > interpretation of NODATA above is wrong independent of any such
>> > confusion. NODATA does not indicate that the server you asked doesn't
>> > know about the queried name. It indicates that that queried name
>> > exists but has no records of the requested type.
>> Maybe a referral looks like a NODATA response upon cursory inspection?
>> glibc has code which switches to the next configured nameserver upon
>> encountering what looks like a referral:
>> 		if (anhp->rcode == NOERROR && anhp->ancount == 0
>> 		    && anhp->aa == 0 && anhp->ra == 0 && anhp->arcount == 0) {
>> 			goto next_ns;
>> 		}
> Can you elaborate or provide a citation on how this "looks like a
> referral"? I don't see any obvious difference between this and a
> nodata response except possibly RA==0, which would only happen when
> you have an auth-only nameserver listed in your resolv.conf.

But that's exactly the scenario when people want to ignore referrals.
A name server which provides recursive service will never send a
referral, after all.  If it cannot complete the recursion, it will
respond with SERVFAIL instead.

> This would not be useful for unioning in musl because it depends on
> an ordering between the nameservers rather than providing a true
> union; at least one of the servers is going to be recursive and
> return an nxdomain or nodata which could be seen before the
> auth-only local server responds.

I expect that the authoritative-only server is put first in this case.

My position is that this is not really worth supporting, though.  It's
easy enough to run a local caching resolver which can implement such
policies, including forwarding queries for certain zones to certain
authoritative servers.  Then there's no need to resort to search path
hacks and listing non-recursive name servers in etc/resolv.conf.

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