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Any opinions on which distros are best to use for connecting to a Windows 2008 R2 domain.

I started off by evaluating various different strains of Linux with a view to establishing which were best for Server use, without all the desktop bloat. During speed tests related to virtualization I found that CentOS, Debian and openSUSE, were way faster than the rest. Therefore decided to go with these and try connecting each to my Windows domain. Problem is when it came to connecting Linux to the Windows ADS domain things got somewhat more difficult than I had ever imagined they would.

I thought openSUSE would be easy as it come with YaST control panel which I found quite well constructed. Well no it now transpires that openSUSE cannot connect to any domain called xxxx.local, which most Microsoft ADS domains are. CentOS did work in the end but not easily. Debian just won't work for unknown reasons.

Hence my thoughts about looking at this from a the other dirrection, which Linux distros are best equipped to join a Windows domain?

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From what I undertstand, xxx.local is a deprecated construct from Microsoft and I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't supported – uSlackr Jun 22 '12 at 11:02
@uSlackr - indeed, .local domains tend not to work out of the box; but it's a fairly simple thing to change. You just have to edit one file (I forget which one); and it's well documented on the internet. – Mark Henderson Jun 22 '12 at 11:04
@MarkHenderson doing a domain rename is actually a bit complicated and involved rebooting all computers in the domain twice as well as manually changing the FQDN of the DCs and fixing all GPO links. It also can't even be done if you have Exchange installed in the domain. You'd use rendom.exe for most of the process. That said, I've don't it more than once and it worked well with good planning. – MDMarra Jun 22 '12 at 11:06
@MDMarra - I meant that it's easy enough to get Linux machines to join .local domains; I've had a long day... – Mark Henderson Jun 22 '12 at 11:06
Hahaha. Oh :) oops – MDMarra Jun 22 '12 at 11:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Edit the /etc/nsswitch.conf file, and ensure that "dns" appears before "mdns4" or "mdns4_minimal" for the "hosts" line.

E.g. this is what Ubuntu Desktop looks like by default:

hosts:          files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] mdns4 dns

Changing it to this fixes the problem:

hosts:          files dns mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] mdns4
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Excellent, that solved it for openSUSE. Many thanks Graeme. Still got problems with Debian though. – NickC Jun 23 '12 at 10:44

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