Andris Kalnozols andris at
Thu Dec 12 21:47:42 UTC 2002

> > If you have, say, an A RR for but no records for
> > and send a query for "" of any type,
> > older BINDs will answer NOERROR, empty answer section ("NODATA").
> > BIND 9 will return "NXDOMAIN". From the first one can deduce the
> > existence of something below "", while the second is
> > really misleading.
> i agree.
> > This must have been discussed before, but all I found was a rather old
> > quote from Paul Vixie stating:
> > 
> > >> NXDOMAIN's scope is the {name,type}.  RFC 2308 implicitly outlawed BIND's
> > >> behaviour, which is to return NOERROR/ANCOUNT=0 for empty nonterminals.
> note that i was wrong.  NXDOMAIN's scope is {name}, and is type-independent.
> > I did not yet manage to read this into RFC 2308 (section2, I guess)
> > and being "implicit" it would be in contradiction to section 4.3.2 of
> > RFC 1034. How can "" not exist if ""
> > does and obviously is below "" in the DNS hierarchy?
> > This is not consistent.
> that's true, and in the case of inconsistency there is no right answer, and
> in this case the latter document (RFC2308) was allowed to win.
> > Could someone please agree with me or shed some light upon this? Thanks!
> i still think NOERROR/ANCOUNT=0 is the right answer.

Back in July, I filed a bug report [ISC-Bugs #3264] on this very same
issue and Mark replied that it is a side-effect of implementing RFC-2535
(DNSSEC) and that namedroppers was the proper forum to get this resolved.

Here was the reply that I was working on:
Hmmm.  I just read RFC-2535 and could find no explicit requirement
that NXDOMAIN be set for NODATA responses.  In fact, for non-existent
RRtypes, the opposite is explicitly stated:

  5. Non-existent Names and Types

   The nonexistence of a name in a zone is indicated by the NXT ("next")
   RR for a name interval containing the nonexistent name. An NXT RR or
   RRs and its or their SIG(s) are returned in the authority section,
   along with the error, if the server is security aware.  The same is
   true for a non-existent type under an existing name except that there
   is no error indication other than an empty answer section
   accompanying the NXT(s).

To Mark's credit, he spotted this problem way back in 1999:

Because BIND9 is supposed to be a scrupulous implementation of the
related RFCs, I'm probably wrong and RFC-2535 requires BIND9 to return
NXDOMAIN for empty nodes.  If so, I think the following argument has
prectical merit:

Since this inconsistency is DNSSEC related, go ahead and return
NXDOMAIN along with the NXT RRs to a DNSSEC-aware resolver if
that's what's required.  The NXT RRs can be walked to determine
if the status is really NODATA.  However, if BIND9 returns NXDOMAIN
without the NXT RRs to a non-DNSSEC-aware resolver, that is really
an outright lie because there are no NXT records to enable the
correct status to be determined.  Lying is bad.  I certainly can't
see anything in RFC-2535 that would explicitly preclude BIND9 from
performing this conditional resolution.


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