[TUHS] network name space (was: My BSDcon talk)

Paul Ruizendaal pnr at planet.nl
Sun Jun 7 22:16:20 AEST 2020

> On 6/6/20, Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl
> > wrote:
> >
> > In my view, exposing the host names through integration in the Unix file
> > name space makes a lot of conceptual sense, but it unfortunately falls down
> > on the practicalities, with the host name set being hard to enumerate (it is
> > large, distributed and not stable - even back then).
> >
> With a proper dynamic VFS architecture, there is no reason why a
> resolver with a filesystem API has to bother supporting enumeration at
> all. All it needs to be able to do is respond to open() and stat()
> calls, returning ENOENT when resolution fails.

That is an intriguing thought. In Research Unix terms it would be a virtual directory that was not readable or writable, but still explorable (i.e. only the x bit set).

Maybe enumeration is only impractical for the networks that were designed to be ‘large’, such as Arpanet and Datakit. It would have been feasible for contemporary networks that were designed to be local only, such as Chaosnet or ARCnet.

A half-way house would be to only enumerate the local network and leaving everything else merely explorable. That is conceptually very messy, though.

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