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NICNAME/WHOIS (RFC0954) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004950D
Original Publication Date: 1985-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Document File: 4 page(s) / 5K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

K. Harrenstien: AUTHOR [+2]

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC0954: DOI


This RFC is the official specification of the NICNAME/WHOIS protocol. This memo describes the protocol and the service. This is an update of RFC-812.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 47% of the total text.

Network Working Group K. Harrenstien (SRI) Request for Comments: 954 M. Stahl (SRI) Obsoletes: RFC 812 E. Feinler (SRI) October 1985



This RFC is the official specification of the NICNAME/WHOIS protocol. This memo describes the protocol and the service. This is an update of RFC 812. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


The NICNAME/WHOIS Server is a TCP transaction based query/response server, running on the SRI-NIC machine ( or, that provides netwide directory service to internet users. It is one of a series of internet name services maintained by the DDN Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International on behalf of the Defense Communications Agency (DCA). The server is accessible across the Internet from user programs running on local hosts, and it delivers the full name, U.S. mailing address, telephone number, and network mailbox for DDN users who are registered in the NIC database.

This server, together with the corresponding WHOIS Database can also deliver online look-up of individuals or their online mailboxes, network organizations, DDN nodes and associated hosts, and TAC telephone numbers. The service is designed to be user-friendly and the information is delivered in human-readable format. DCA strongly encourages network hosts to provide their users with access to this network service.


DCA requests that each individual with a directory on an ARPANET or MILNET host, who is capable of passing traffic across the DoD Internet, be registered in the NIC WHOIS Database. MILNET TAC users must be registered in the database. To register, send via electronic mail to REGISTRAR@SRI-NIC.ARPA your full name, middle initial, U.S. mailing address (including mail stop and full explanation of abbreviations and acronyms), ZIP code, telephone (including Autovon and FTS, if available), and one network mailbox. Contact the DDN Network Information Center, REGISTRAR@SRI-NIC.ARPA or (800) 235-3155, for assistance with registration.

Harrenstien & Stahl & Feinler [Page 1]

RFC 954 October 1985 NICNAME/WHOIS


To access the NICNAME/WHOIS server:

Connect to the SRI-NIC service host at TCP service port 43 (decimal).

Send a single "command line", ending with <CRLF> (ASCII CR and LF).

Receive information in response to the command line. The server closes its connection as soon as the output is finished.


NICNAME is the global name for the user program, although many sites have chosen to use the more familiar name of "WHOIS". There are versions of the NICNAME user program for TENEX, TOPS-20, and UNIX. The TENEX and TOPS-20 programs are written in assembly language (FAIL/MACRO), and the UNIX version is written in C. They are easy to invoke, taking one argument which is passed directly to the NICNAME server at SRI-NIC. Contact NIC@SRI-NIC.ARPA for copies of the program.


A command line is normally a single name spec...