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Here's my /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf:

request subnet-mask, broadcast-address, time-offset, routers,
        domain-name, domain-name-servers, domain-search, host-name,
        netbios-name-servers, netbios-scope, interface-mtu;
timeout 60;
alias {
  interface "eth0";
lease {
  interface "eth0";
  option subnet-mask;
  option broadcast-address;
  option routers;
  option domain-name-servers;

When I run "dhclient eth0", I get this:

There is already a pid file /var/run/ with pid 6511
killed old client process, removed PID file
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client V3.1.1
Copyright 2004-2008 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit

wmaster0: unknown hardware address type 801
wmaster0: unknown hardware address type 801
Listening on LPF/eth0/00:1c:25:97:82:20
Sending on   LPF/eth0/00:1c:25:97:82:20
Sending on   Socket/fallback
DHCPREQUEST of on eth0 to port 67
DHCPACK of from
bound to -- renewal in 1468 seconds.

I used strace to make sure that dhclient really is reading that conf file. Why isn't it paying attention to my "fixed-address" line? Why is it doing a DHCPREQUEST for instead?

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Reject is for rejecting offers from servers with a specific address. It is not there to reject addresses the server offers.

The reject statement causes the DHCP client to reject offers from servers whose server identifier matches any of the specified hosts or subnets. This can be used to avoid being configured by rogue or mis‐ configured dhcp servers,

A defined lease is only used if the DHCP Server does not respond.

lease { lease-declaration [ ... lease-declaration ] }

The DHCP client may decide after some period of time (see PROTOCOL TIMING) that it is not going to succeed in contacting a server.

If you want a particular address you should probably setup a reservation on the server.

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Good info, but one last question: it still says, "DHCPREQUEST of on eth0 to port 67" ... is there any way to force my client to request a particular IP? – mike Mar 29 '10 at 17:26
There may be a possible way. I still think you are trying to do this the wrong way. Setup a reservation on the DHCP server, and let the server send the correct address. Past that do a search on send dhcp-requested-address. It appears that under some conditions that will allow you to request a specific address. – Zoredache Mar 29 '10 at 20:29

As Zoredache correctly pointed out: the fixed-address setting is only for lease definitions that are effective only if the DHCP server does not respond. See under section "Lease Declarations".

What you want is

interface "eth0" {
    send dhcp-requested-address;

This is documented in the manpage of dhcp-options: and conforms to the DHCP Options RFC available at

Take note though: I lately run into dhclient3 not getting an IP with this configuration as the requested address was already taken. The server replies with DHCPNAK to the request, and the client will give up after a while. I had expected that the DHCP client will eventually end up with another address if the requested one is not available.

I used this approach in an attempt to make sure that I always know the address of my server without resorting to stuff like and ended up with no connectivity instead.

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