This appears to be a GPL implementation of the Apple Zeroconf protocol, allowing devices to detect each other in a LAN environment. Since I don’t have a need for detecting printers etc. on my server, I disabled it using the following command:
sudo update-rc.d -f avahi-daemon remove sudo /etc/init.d/avahi-daemon stop
Steps leading to this problem
In order to run a Java application on a Debian Lenny server, I installed Sun’s newest JRE (Java Runtime Environment) like this:
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre
This installed many dependencies, including the mentioned avahi-deamon. I hope disabling this service doesn’t interfere with my ability to run Java applications, until now it doesn’t look like it though.
For more information about the associated protocol, visit multicastdns.org.