Host names on-line (RFC0606)
Original Publication Date: 1973-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
Resolving differences in hostname-address mappings; see also RFCs 627, 625, 623 and 608.
Netork Working Group L. Peter Deutsch Request For Comments: 606 PARC-MAXC December 1973
Host Names On-line
Now that we finally have an official list of host names, it seems about time to put an end to the absurd situation where each site on the network must maintain a different, generally out-of-date, host list for the use of its own operating system or user programs.
For example, each of the TENEX sites to which I have access ( SRI-ARC, BBN-TENEX, USC-ISI, and PARC-MAXC) has a slightly different mapping between host names and host addresses: none is complete, and I believe each one differs in some way from the official List.
Since the NIC has responsibility for maintaining the official list, lt seems appropriate for them to maintain an on-line file, accessible to anyone, which Lists names and host addresses ( and certain other information which I will suggest in a moment) in an easily machine-readable form.
This rules out, in my opinion, providing this information only in the form of an NLS structured file, since there are no facilities for accessing such files from the network and since many sites would not want to accommodate themselves to this structure even if there were.
The file I have in mind would be devoted principally to that information needed by programs, as opposed to people, since the ; former want their information in compact, easily parsed form, whereas the latter appreciate more verbose expression and more sophisticated facilities for browsing or querying. Therefore, I propose that the following information be included in such a file:
Of course, the official name and host address for each host. This would be the primary content of each entry.
Some information about the options of the various protocols supported by the host, including ( for FTP ) the preferred byte size and ( for TELNET) the preferred duplex mode. The former can have an enormous effect on the efficiency of file transfers. Since the new TELNET allows negotiation of options, the list need not be complete or accurate.
The function o f the host vis-a-vis the network ( user, server, TIP, etc.). This may aid NCPs in deciding whether to poll the host or give useful information for statistical purposes ( e.g. I would like to make my NCP collect statistics on traffic with TIPs vs. other hosts). Since the file will be generated centrally by a single program, but used widely by a variety of programs, it follows that its format should be organized for ease of interrogation at the expense of ease of construction. I feel a reasonable way to achieve this is to store it as an ASCII text file with the logical structure of a "property list". -1-
In other words, aside from the two basic facts in each entry ( name and address), the information will be expressed in the form of <attribute, value> pairs rather than having the attribute be recognized by format, position, etc.
l don’t believe it matters a great deal exactly how this file is formatted, so I will make a suggestion in t...