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10.4: How to disable Bonjour
personally don't want Bonjour (Zeroconf, mDNSResponder, Rendezvous) running all the time, because I rarely use it and because it gives away information such as your username, what services you're running, computer name (mainly bad if you leave it like "Bob Dole's Computer"), and more, depending on what you're running. From a security perspective, you're making it easy for an attacker to enumerate services and usernames without even having to do active scanning a lot of the time. Not only that, but I know many system admins who don't like "chatty" machines, which Macs can be if this is left on.
However, Apple has never given a good way to disable this until desired. In 10.3, I had to move the mDNSResponder StartupItem, and in 10.4, it's a similar situation. You can disable it once by running (shown on two lines, but should be pastable):
launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/\
However, Bonjour will then relaunch on next startup. According to launchctl's man page, I should be able to put that command (or something like it) in ~/.launchd.conf or /etc/launchd to tell it not to load mDNSResponder when it starts up. However, I tried various combinations of that (with sudo and without, and with the launchctl command and without), and it didn't seem to work.
In the interim, I found that you can either rename /usr/bin/mDNSResponder to .back or whatever, or move the .plist I listed above -- when I renamed it .back, it still launched, so I ended up just moving it up one directory, so it can be easily put back. If anyone finds out the official launchd way of stoppping this from loading at startup, I would be interested in hearing it. In the meantime, it can still be temporarily re-enabled by just using this command:
launchctl load /path/to/relocated/

© Philippe Laval, 2005