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When my ISP's DNS servers go down FC5 hangs for long periods during bootup and Gnome won't even open a terminal window if already logged in when it happens. Ctrl-Alt-F1 then ifdown eth0 is only way to make system responsive again.
Isn't there some kind of default DNS lookup timeout value? Doesn't appear to be IMHO.
In your /etc/hosts file make sure you have added the real host name for the local box. This allows the local box to resolve it's own name and may help eleviate the problem. Otherwise you can run a local DNS server that syncs with a public server. When your DSL goes down you.