I Accidentally Used Php

I try to avoid PHP software when ever possible. But sometimes the best tool for the job is written in PHP. One of this tools is observium which is a network monitoring platform. And I can really recommend it. But sadly it's written in PHP, because of that I accidentally start debugging at one evening.

But first things first. I want to add my RaspberryPi which is my primary DNS server to observium. So I click on add device fill out the snmp infos and woops "Could not resolve $host". My first thought was well I forgot something, after I double checked everything and it was still not working. This was the point where I was annoyed enough to debug PHP code.

After poking a while in the source code I found this:

dns_get_record($host, DNS_A + DNS_AAAA)

This was my first WTF moment I mean seriously DNS_A + DNS_AAAA what should that do. A grep later with no result, it was clear that it must be a function of PHP. And look it's in the manual. Turns out the way they implement it, allow to do addition and subtraction with this constants since there are internally bit masks or something. Which is a smart idea but of course you find this is not in the manual, it's only in a comment below.

Anyway if you now read in the manual what dns_get_record should return:

This function returns an array of associative arrays, or FALSE on failure.

Doesn't sound entirely wrong. A empty array on a failure might come in handy, why I show you in a second.

var_dump(dns_get_record($host, DNS_A));

array(1) {
  array(5) {
    string(14) "host.name.tdl"
    string(2) "IN"
    string(1) "A"
    string(12) ""

Like in the manual described a array is returned.

var_dump(dns_get_record($host, DNS_AAAA));

PHP Warning:  dns_get_record(): DNS Query failed in file.php on line 4

Like in the manual described it returns FALSE if the is no AAAA record found.

I guess you can assume what happens when you combine these two requests.

var_dump(dns_get_record($host, DNS_A + DNS_AAAA));

PHP Warning:  dns_get_record(): DNS Query failed in file.php on line 4

Right it returns only FALSE in this case, even if there is a A record for this domain.

##And the moral of this story

Deploy IPv6 everywhere to prevent such things. Or maybe don't build software based on PHP. I personally recommend both things.

If you are a observium pro user it's fixed, according the mailing list in revision 6357 and for everyone else with the next half yearly release.