[ih] Before the DNS: How yours truly upstaged The NIC's Official HOSTS.TXT (An Internet history lesson)

the keyboard of geoff goodfellow geoff at iconia.com
Tue Mar 10 05:53:47 PDT 2020


don't recall exact what early 70's year yours truly started doing this
other than it surely commenced once yours truly became a "Tenex wheel" and
was able to edit

RST came into being with the inception of NCP, viz. NIC 8246:
and later wanting to be changed, viz.:

Network Working Group                                       J. Burchfiel
Request for Comments: 467                                   R. Tomlinson
NIC: 14741                                       Bolt Beranek and Newman
                                                        20 February 1973

                 Proposed Change To Host-Host Protocol
                Resynchronization Of Connection Status


On Wed, Feb 5, 2020 at 9:45 PM Steve Crocker <steve at shinkuro.com> wrote:

> Geoff,
> Do you remember when you started doing this?
> Also, when did RST come into being?
> Thanks,
> Steve
> P.S. Feel free to share on the list if you wish.
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Feb 5, 2020, at 10:05 PM, the keyboard of geoff goodfellow via
> Internet-history <internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:
> >
> > copy and pasted from https://iconia.com/before_the_dns.txt:
> >
> > Back in the early '70s of the ARPANET... before the Domain Name System
> (DNS)
> > even existed, the Network Information Center (NIC) based at SRI
> > International controlled and distributed The Official Host Table for The
> Net
> > called HOSTS.TXT. The NIC updated this table through "official channels"
> and
> > host administrators would periodically transfer over a new version of the
> > table to their systems. There was Just One Problem: The Official Channels
> > took forever for the NIC to update HOSTS.TXT and therefore The Nets host
> > table was frequently out of date with the reality of what was actually up
> > and operating on The Net.
> >
> > What I did, as a nobody teenager and budding system and network janitor
> at
> > the time, was to notice new "nameless" hosts when they came up on the
> net by
> > looking at a 'netstat' of hosts that did not have host names and only
> > showed up as numbers.  This was easy because in those early days the
> Network
> > Control Program known as NCP (this was before TCP/IP) would broadcast
> > messages called RSTs to every possible host address on the network when
> they
> > booted.  What RSTs did was say to a host: "Hi there, please mark me as
> UP in
> > your netstat listing and if you have any left over connections from the
> time
> > I went down, please reset them".
> >
> > I would then telnet or ftp to these nameless hosts and see what host name
> > the operating system login prompt gave me or what host name the ftp
> server
> > announced in its greeting. I would then plug this information into my
> > systems host table.
> >
> > Word started to spread through the grapevine to other system and network
> > janitors that my system's host table was the most up to date on The Net.
> You
> > can imagine what happened next: many system administrators started to
> > reference my host table instead of the NIC's. Someone suggested I create
> a
> > notification list so that every time my hostable was updated they would
> know
> > to install a new one (Some even installed automated daily processes that
> > would transfer over my host table without any human intervention.)
> >
> > When the NIC got wind of being upstaged by this guerilla/underground host
> > table information gathering and distribution network, they were mightily
> > unhappy about having their monopoly authority challenged. but, EACH OF
> hostable
> > was more up to date and better managed than the NIC's Official HOSTS.TXT
> > table, so WE CHOOSE TO USE IT.
> >
> > There was absolutely nothing the NIC could do to stop these individual
> > system admins from each making their own decision about who they wanted
> to
> > trust and where to get the most up to date host information. As far as
> > I know my host table was the preferred host table used by the majority of
> > sites on The Net until the DNS came along and host tables became moot.
> >
> > Please note that I did not develop my host table for the net. I just
> needed
> > one for my site that was more up-to-date, so I figured out how to create
> it.
> > Then my friends copied it, and word spread, and the market made its free
> > choice. Of course, I did not mind this happening, since they were just
> > copying what I needed to make for myself.
> >
> > --
> > Geoff.Goodfellow at iconia.com
> > living as The Truth is True
> > http://geoff.livejournal.com
> > --
> > Internet-history mailing list
> > Internet-history at elists.isoc.org
> > https://elists.isoc.org/mailman/listinfo/internet-history

Geoff.Goodfellow at iconia.com
living as The Truth is True

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