Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Configuring DNS on Fedora

Out of interest I decided to take a look at Fedora's DNS configuration tool, system-config-bind. system-config-bind turns out to be pretty horrible. Coming from a Windows background, I suppose I've come to expect GUI tools to provide a level of abstraction, to take the complexity out of system configuration. That's what Windows Server Wizards do, and it's what we at ForensiT hope our own Wizards do. system-config-bind doesn't do that. If you don't have the knowledge to write your own bind configuration files, don't expect system-config-bind to help you out. The only level of abstraction it provides is from the actual configuration files themselves.

Start up system-config-bind and you see the following:

If you click the "New" button, or right click on "DNS Server", you get the chance to add a new item. (I'm not sure this is the right word to use, but it will do for now.) We want to create a new zone, so that's what I'll do. I then get this:

This gets my nomination for the worst GUI of the year award. There are three OK buttons! THREE! How are you supposed to know what to do first? It is an abomination to the art of user interface design.

What you have to do is click on each of the top two OK buttons. Starting with the top left, select the class from the drop-down list; in this case it is "IN". Click the top left OK button.

Great a dialog box that looks almost exactly the same as the first one! However, we're down to two OK button so we must be making progress. We're creating a Forward zone so we just click the top OK button.

Finally a dialog box that can be understood. We just need to type in our domain name - not forgetting the the dot at the end. system-config-bind does actually remind you about this. That done, when you click on OK you can enter the details for the Zone:

It is not the most friendly dialog box I've ever seen, but it is relatively straight forward. When you've filled in your settings and clicked OK, you have created your zone.

Next you need to create the A records for you domain: highlight the zone, right-click or click "New" and choose "A IPv4 Address"

There is some benefit to using system-config-bind then. It creates the reverse DNS settings for you, so you don't have to mess around creating and editing .arpa files. To be fair, there are other benefits to. By selecting "DNS Server" and clicking the "Properties" button you get to edit a whole range of, well, DNS server properties. It is just a pity the User Interface was - don't think we can use the word designed - created by someone who hasn't got a clue.

When you're done, you can right-click "DNS Server" and choose "Start Server"


Nissanka said...

Hear Hear!

Chris said...

Great tutorial....was banging my head until I found this.

Harish Kumar said...

Great Tool......................