Summary: named[7857]: xfer returned 255

From: Dan Penrod (
Date: Fri Feb 04 1994 - 05:11:34 CST

Brief synopsis of problem:

I was getting tons of error messages from named in the console window....
Jan 31 06:29:50 wayback named[7857]: xfer returned 255
Jan 31 06:39:50 wayback named[7857]: xfer returned 255
Jan 31 06:49:50 wayback named[7857]: xfer returned 255
...every 10 minutes.

There were 6 responses that fell into 2 schools of thought.

(i.) Sun's bind (and named) is buggy. Replace it or patch it.
(ii.) Configuration problem with cache file for SECONDARY
      pointed to by /etc/named.boot

There was 1 MeToo. Sean, you're right, it probably is the way
you've configured named! :-)

Answer (ii.) wins for my money, although if I'd tried (i.) it may
have been a better solution long term.

Apparently, at least in Sun's 4.1.3 bind, if a SECONDARY is referenced
in /etc/named.boot there needs to be a cache file associated with it.
I had, in fact, recently added a SECONDARY, but had not created a cache
file for it. My short term solution was to remove the SECONDARY line
(since it was only added as backup to the PRIMARY) and restart named.
Worked like magic. The long term solution is to create the cache file,
but DNS is a tad cryptic for my tastes so I opted for the short cut
right now.

A billion thanks to respondees. Each reply was, brief, concise, and
to the point, so I've included them below my signature for anyone
who's interested in the details.

My friends :-) (Gordon Rowell) (George D M Ross) (Glenn Satchell) (Sean Steppie) (Joe Garbarino) (Douglas Myhre)
djw@BBN.COM (David J W)


| _/ _/ _/_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/_/_/ | Dan Penrod - Unix Administrator |
| _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ | USGS Center for Coastal Geology |
| _/ _/ _/_/_/_/ _/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/ | St. Petersburg, FL 33701 |
| _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ | (813)893-3100 ext.3043 |
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There is a patch from Sun, which updates named, but we found that we were
better off getting bind_4.8.3 (from if nowhere else) and using
that. Sun's bind under 4.1.x is old. nslookup doesn't always return what
you would expect, etc. We found a lot of funnies went away when we moved
to 4.8.3.

There is also a bind 4.9.x available.


 Gordon Rowell                  Email:
 Telstra - OTC Australia        Snail: PO Box 784, North Sydney, NSW 2059
 Computer and Network Services  Phone: +61 (02) 339 3953 Fax: +61 (02) 339 3688
 363 Oxford St., Paddington     Pager: +61 2 016020, quote number 231804
Dump Sun's offering and install a recent version of bind.  4.9 or even 4.8.3
would be OK; 4.9.2, when it comes out shortly, will be even better.
George D M Ross, Department of Computer Science, University of Edinburgh
     Kings Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH9 3JZ
Mail:      Voice: 031-650 5147      Fax: 031-667 7209
Ok, now you log a service call with Sun saying that you are having a
problem tha tlooks like bug number 1041635, and can they please supply
you with a fix or workaround.

Other ideas are to get a newer version of named off the net and replace sun's version.

regards, -- Glenn Satchell | "This is a unix system. Uniq Professional Services Pty Ltd ACN 056 279 335 | I can do this easy." PO Box 70, Paddington, NSW 2021, (Sydney) Australia | Phone 02 360 7434 Pager 016 287 000 Fax 02 331 2572 | - Lex, Jurassic Park "Sun Accredited System Consultants" | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I'm a "me too". I've always assumed that I got this message because of the way I'd configured named ... so I'd welcome a fix !

Sean. -- Sean Steppie, Network Manager, Department of Library Services. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, LONDON, SW7 5BD, UK. Tel: +44 (0)71 938 8722, fax: +44 (0)71 938 9290 JANET: INTERNET: CompuServe: 100321,2464 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Do you have cache files specified for secondary servers? For example, in one of our secondary server named.boot files, I have

secondary /etc/

Note the /etc/ file. I think this is now required.

Joe Garbarino -- ERIM ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I haven't run into this problem, but what is happening is that an error is being encountered durring a hostname database transfer and the routine being run is exiting with a -1 error (=255). You might find the 10 minute (600 seconds) time period as the retry interval in the zone files in the /etc/namedb directory (files which are pointed to by /etc/named.boot).

What to check first - /etc/named.boot, second check your zone and revzone files which /etc/named.boot points to and make sure they are okay. Other than that, I hope someone else gives you better advice.

Doug Myhre <> (813) 893-9119 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ in.named executes in.named-xfer to transfer a zone. in.named-xfer returns status information to its parent in.named via its exit status. Sun lost the manual page to in.named-xfer which explained this. I looked at the 4.4 BSD bind-4.9 source code, and the error messages are different than those you got. So, I can't help you further, but Sun should be able to tell you more.

-david ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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