Root hints updates

Lyle Giese lyle at
Thu Sep 6 15:13:03 UTC 2012

On 09/06/12 07:06, Timothe Litt wrote:
> In doing some system administration, I realized that I have a tool that
> might be
> generally useful - ISC is welcome to add it to contribs.  Hopefully the
> attachment
> will make it through the mailing list server.
> This is a script to automagically update the root hints file.  There are a
> bunch of these floating around the internet; most don't work; those that do
> don't work well.  I wrote this several years ago; it's worked for me.
> It will FTP the new file - or, if you value speed over comments, will
> fabricate
> a copy from the existing root servers - yes, it will deal with the case
> that a root server is renumbered or returns partial data.  It acts as a
> SYS V init script so that it runs on every boot; It's smart enough to
> requeue itself hourly if it fails to get data.  It verifies FTP transfers.
> It also runs as a cron job monthly to catch any updates.  It will log
> actions
> to syslog; will also send mail if you like.  It preserves file ownership and
> the timestamp of last download.  It knows to run rndc reconfig when it gets
> a new file. (And not when nothing has changed.)
> I did some cleanup for this release, but the core logic has run for several
> years on Fedora and random embedded Linuxes.  For me, it's install & forget.
> Install it (or create a link to it) in /etc/init.d/ as update_root.  E.g. if
> it's
> in /usr/local/sbin, then
>     ln -sf ../../../usr/local/sbin/update_root /etc/init.d/
> Then execute
>    /etc/init.d/update_root setup
> and
>    /etc/init.d/update_root
> Create a /etc/sysconfig/update_root file if you want a non-default
> configuration.
> The most useful configuration variables are:
> # Undefined uses FTP (default)
> #USEDNS=yes
> # Root file name
> # named control address (undef for none)
> # Root file owner
> DEFAULTOWNER="named:named" (When there's no file; normally copies from old)
> # Define for e-mail recipient (default is undef => none)
> #TO=hostmaster at
> # Cron directories
> CRONMONTHLY="/etc/cron.monthly"
> CRONHOURLY="/etc/cron.hourly"
> # No IPV6?  This may speed FTP connections.
> WGET="$WGET -4"
> Other parameters are in the first ~80 lines of the script.
> The script commands are:
>    start - check for update (default if no command)
>    setup - run chkconfig and link to monthly queue (don't if you use crontab)
>    status - list current file
> One caution: Do not copy the script using copy & paste; there are places
> where
> literal tabs and spaces are important.  [Some environments have very limited
> regexps.]
> It's freely redistributable, with the usual caveat that there is no warranty
> or
> promise of support & that you use it at your own risk.
> Enjoy.
> Timothe Litt
> ACM Distinguished Engineer
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> This communication may not represent the ACM or my employer's views,
> if any, on the matters discussed.
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Nice script.  Now my pet peeve time<GRIN>.

This file:

indicates the named.root file should be available at or  It's only at

This page has a pointer to root hints file(via FTP) that does not work 
either.  The http version shows the above mistake.  It's not available 

Lyle Giese
LCR Computer Services, Inc.

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