Hostname Naming Compliance

Kevin Darcy kcd at
Wed Feb 25 01:38:39 UTC 2009

Eric C. Davis wrote:
> Are there plans for Bind to enforce hostname compliance according to 
> RFC's or is this going to be left up to each DNS operator?
I'm going to take an even more radical "con" position than most of the 
people in this thread.

An A record maps a DNS name into a 32-bit value.

An AAAA record maps a DNS name into a 128-bit value.

Who's to say for sure that those bit-values are "addresses"? Who's to 
say for sure that those names are "hostnames"? It's just a mapping 
function. It could be anything to anything. BIND shouldn't assume.

Hostname compliance checking/enforcement belongs in whatever 
processes/tools/mechanisms frontend the maintenance of one's zone data. 
A relatively-sophisticated frontend is assumed. after all, one can't 
just let one's users throw any manner of garbage into one's zone files. 
Not only would that let hostnames violate the hostname RFCs (which are 
distinct from the DNS RFCs, by the way), but would open oneself up to 
actual *DNS* standards violations, or violations of best practice, e.g. 
mismatched forward/reverse records, "CNAME and other data", chained 
CNAMEs, etc. etc. Some of those will prevent zones from loading and 
break one's DNS.

The frontend is where you can put your hostname compliance 
checking/enforcement, not only against Internet Standards, but also 
compliance with your own local conventions and rules regarding the 
composition of hostnames.

It's not BIND's job, I would be one of the ones hacking *mandatory* 
compliance out of the code.

So, does that mean BIND is just dumping this job in the "operator's" 
lap? Not necessarily. In addition to the commercial offerings, there's 
nothing stopping anyone from developing and/or enhancing F/OSS frontends 
for maintaining DNS zone data, and for operators everywhere to use the 
same frontend package, configuring it for their own local rules and 
conventions. A lot of folks say good things about Webmin, for instance 
(although I've never used it personally). Maybe it will evolve into a 
tool that will become the "dominant" one for frontending zone-data 
maintenance. Or maybe some other package will step into that role. If 
you're so passionate about hostname-standards-enforcement and have some 
coding skills, maybe this is something you could work on.

- Kevin

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