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Implement BIND's DNS NOTIFY messages for djbdns
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multilog-axfr: A DNS NOTIFY implementation for djbdns

Version 1.2 Copyright (C) 2009 Farzad FARID


djbdns is a powerful and secure DNS server. But it lacks some features, sometimes called "bugs" by the djbdns author and contributors, usually found in the BIND software.

For example it doesn't handle NOTIFY messages as a slave server and therefore it can't update its database immediatly if the master server running BIND is modified and sends an update request to all of its slave DNS.

Given the facts that:

  • BIND is a very popular DNS software and won't disappear soon,
  • the NOTIFY message is pretty standard,

This script lets you use djbdns as a slave server for BIND and not be worried by unreasonable update delays.

Please note that this script does not handle all zone transfer actions, it only catches the NOTIFY event and calls other programs, like axfr-get, to do the zone transfer itself.


multilog-axfr depends on:

  • djbdns's tinydns server
  • daemontools
  • autoaxfr
  • Ruby

« ruby », « tinydns » and « daemontools » must be installed the usual way, their installation process is not covered here.

Installing autoaxfr (optionnal)

autoaxfr is an extension to djbdns. Autoaxfr implements « master BIND » to « slave djbdns » zone transfers, but does not react to NOTIFY messages. multilog-axfr uses (and completes) autoaxfr's directories and tools.

When installing « autoaxfr » you must use the same user id and group id as « tinydns » for the log files.

Check that autoaxfr is running correctly, including the crontab that runs tinydns's Makefile.

Installing multilog-axfr.rb

Lets suppose that:

  • All djbdns services are availables under « /etc/service ». This is the case on Debian systems. If djbdns was installed manually the path is « /service ».
  • The present script is at /usr/local/bin/multilog-axfr.rb.
  • The configuration file is at /usr/local/etc/multilog-axfr.conf,
  • Both the logfiles of tinydns and the zones files of autoaxfr are created with the uid/gid « Gdnslog ».

Do the following:

  • Copy multilog-axfr.rb to a directory in your PATH (usually /usr/local/bin)

  • Rename and copy multilog-axfr.conf-sample to a configuration directory (usually /etc or /usr/local/etc).

  • Modify the « run » script of tinydns's logger to use « multilog-axfr.rb » instead of « multilog ». Here is sample « /etc/service/tinydns/log/run »:


    exec setuidgid Gdnslog /usr/local/bin/multilog-axfr.rb --conf /usr/local/etc/multilog-axfr.conf t ./main

  • You can use all of multilog's regular option on the command line

  • Restart tinydns's logger:

    svc -t /etc/service/tinydns/log

Configuration files


# Configuration file for multilog-axfr, the djbdns helper that
# implements the Bind NOTIFY functionnality.
# This file is in the YAML format (

# autoaxfr's root directory
axfr_root: /etc/service/autoaxfr/root


In this directory create one file per zone in the following format:

  • Each file should be named after the zone/domain. For example « »
  • Each file contains the list of the authorized master DNS servers' IP, one per line.
  • A special zone file named « any », if it exists, will authorize DNS NOTIFY messages for any domain as long as it's coming from the IPs listed in the file.

For example, if « » is a domain handled by and « » is handled by and then the following commands will configure both autoaxfr and multilog-axfr for you:

cd /etc/service/autoaxfr/root/slaves
echo >
echo >
echo  >>
echo > any

The last list says that DNS server can notify us for any domain.

Testing the code

This tool uses RSpec and Mocha for testing purposes. Install the rake, rspec & mocha Ruby gems first, you can then run the following command to test multilog-axfr:

cd /usr/src/multilog-axfr
rake spec


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Consult the LICENSE file for a full copy of the GNU General Public License.


This script was largely inspired by

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