I have accounts on a number of systems where the sysadmin doesn't
maintain a comprehensive
/etc/hosts file. In order to work around
this, I wanted to have a per-user
~/.hosts to extend the system file
with my own aliases. Then I could use my short nicknames for network
activity without spelling out the whole domain name (the
/etc/resolv.conf is often not close enough for the
nicknames to work using ).
A common technique for translating host names into IP addresses is to
getaddrinfo(3) or the obsolete
hostname(7), you can set the
variable to point to an alias file, and you've got per-user aliases!
HOSTALIASES will work if your program (
satisfies two conditions:
- It has to actually use one of the two functions listed above to resolve the host name. I haven't run across anything that doesn't, but you never know.
- It cannot be setuid to another user. If it is, libc sanitizes the
environment, so your
HOSTALIASESsetting is lost. See
sysdeps/generic/unsecvars.hfor a list of all environment variables that glibc removes for setuid programs.
ping is setuid
root (because it needs to listen for ICMP packets),
HOSTALIASES will not work with
ping unless you're already
root before you call
Here's an example:
$ echo 'g www.google.com' >> ~/.hosts $ export HOSTALIASES=~/.hosts $ firefox g
~/.bashrc appropriately, and you can forget about
/etc/hosts entirely :).
There's one more caveat: the
HOSTALIASES file maps alias names to
canonical host names, but the canonical name must be resolvable. You
can't specify an IP address as the target.