How to set up a Linux-only home network?
As a exercise to better understand how Linux networking works, I've connected together a number of Linux boxes to my D-Link router. The router has DHCP configured to automatically assign IP addresses when needed.
Using the KDE configuration tool, I've asigned the hostnames Tom and Jerry to two of the boxes. From each machine, I can ping the IP addresses of the other machine, which I suppose means that basic IP networking is working. (The boxes are all dual-boot PCs, and I've noticed that the address asigned to each box is the same as when running XP. Is this normal?) However, I can't ping the hostname of the other box.
I know that Windows uses Netbios to make the IP address to hostname translation, and that it doesn't use a local DNS server. But how does it work under Linux? Ie., if I ping Jerry from Tom, how does Tom get the Jerry's IP address. I assume that it must get it from the DNS server running on the D-Link router, but how? I have a rough idea how DNS works, in the sense that each DNS server is responsible for its own domain, but how would this work in the context of a home network?
I've checked the networking HOWTOs, but they describe how to configure a Linux box as a gateway/router in the context of a Windows-based network.
PS. I know that I could avoid all this hassle by setting up static addresses, and adding entries to each machine's /etc/hosts file! But I'd like to know how this all works.