Avahi – discovering services a network offers

Avahi - LemurAvahi is a protocol implementation that is using the Zeroconf protocol specification to discover services available (and advertised) on the network. Avahi really does simplifying the configuration and use of certain services that are supporting it.

The number of application integrating support for Avahi is everyday growing and you can even interoperate with client of other protocol implementation like Bonjour from Apple.

Of course, Avahi is integrated with Ubuntu and it is pretty easy to activate it.

In the Gnome main menu “System” -> “Administration”, there is an item called “Services”. Simply launch it and scroll down the list of services until you find Multicast DNS service discovery (avahi-daemon). Select it and close the application.

Application like Rhythmbox, Gaim/Pidgin, etc. will now be able to use this service. You can for example share your music on the local network. So, your siblings can access your music library and listen to it too. I will write a short article on it soon.

On some of my Ubuntu systems, I had to tweak a system file before it was working. Continue reading if you are in this case.

Open a Terminal (Gnome “Applications” -> “Accessories” -> “Terminal”) and type in:

gksudo gedit /etc/default/avahi-daemon

Text Editor should be now open and you have the right to modify it. Make sure that you have a line like:


If it was “0” at the end, change it to “1” and save the file. You have now to restart the Avahi service. You can either reboot your computer or use the Services application we have just used to activate Avahi. In this application, deactivate and reactivate the service by deselecting and reselecting it.

3 Replies to “Avahi – discovering services a network offers”

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  2. I’ve tried to enalble avahi, but I don’t know if it’s runnign or not..
    At least I do not manage to share my music between computers. Is it working between iTunes and Linux?

  3. I would advise you to check the Zeroconf Service Discovery applet. It is a small Gnome applet that you will have to install (e.g. you can use Synaptic in the “System” -> “Administration”), the package name is: service-discovery-applet.
    Once installed, right click on one of the Gnome panel (you have one at the top and another at the bottom of your screen), choose “Add to Panel” and in the list that appear, look for the applet and add it.
    It should tell you if Avahi is running and also it will notify you upon the discovery of services on your local network.
    I’m not using Windows that often so it is difficult to answer. I did a quick test where I could share my music on Rhythmbox and listen to it on iTunes. I tried to do the opposite, but I may have struck my firewall… I could see that iTunes was sharing music, but I could not play it…

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