[TUHS] [COFF] Pondering the hosts file
ron at ronnatalie.com
Fri Mar 12 06:32:52 AEST 2021
Which hosts table? The Berkeley one or the REAL internet one?
The Berkeley one (which I think may predate the IP implementation) is
the one that we know as /etc/hosts that has the address then the namees
of the hosts.
The "real" one is the one the NIC put out in the pre-domain days.
It's defined in RFC 952, looks like
HOST : 10.0.0.29 : BRL.ARPA, BRL : PDP-11/70 : UNIX : TCP :
There was also a simple TCP service that would serve up the file.
I detested the Berkeley one and we always downloaded and used the NIC
table on our machines. I rewrote "rhost" and it's successors
(gethostbyname, etc...) to read directly from the NIC format.
Amusingly one day we got an Imagen ethernet-connected laser printer.
Mike Muuss decided the thing should be named BRL-ZAP and since I didn't
know what to put down as the machine type, and it did have a 68000 in
it, I had Jake put 68000 in the entry in the host table.
The next day I got all kinds of hate mail from other BSD sites who
assumed I had intentionally sabotaged the host table. Apparently, the
BSD systems used a YACC grammar to parse the NIC table into the Berkeley
one. The only problem is they got the grammar wrong and assumed the
CPU type always began with a letter. There parse blew up on my "ZAP"
host and they assumed that was the desired effect.
I countered back that using a YACC grammar for this was rediculous.
There was already a real popular file on UNIX that had a bunch of fields
separated by colons and commas (/etc/passwd anybody) that it was never
necessary to use YACC to parse.
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