Shane Kerr shane at
Fri Apr 27 10:55:45 EDT 2001

On 2001-04-27 09:22:08 +0000, Muir, Ronald wrote:
> At the members meeting, on 4/4, I asked that the board consider ARIN
> taking over the future support and development of RWHOIS. I know that
> this is not just a simple task of saying we will do it but will
> involve some negotiations.

Question: how important is it for the referral to be handled by the

The reason I ask is that the RIPE Whois server allows the recipient of
certain kinds of records in the RIPE database to specify a "referral" to
another Whois server when a query for that record is made.

For example, the IS domain record in the RIPE database has the following

  refer:        ripe

This means that when the server gets a query for an .IS domain, it
actually opens a connection to and performs the query on
behalf of the client, effectively acting as a tunnel.  You can try:

  $ whois at 

To see how this looks from the user point of view.

Now, this kind of server referral is supported in the current RWhois
server, but it isn't really the intent (as I understand it).  The intent
was to allow RWhois to work something like HTTP, where the client
actually gets information on which server has the information the user
wants, and then queries it directly.

Having clients follow referrals is obviously much more efficient (for
the Internet at large - for a specific user the server tunnel is often
faster).  But it requires client software that supports the protocol.
Having the server follow referrals allows us to stick with "telnet" as a
Whois client.

The new RIPE Whois server, in production since April 23, is Much
Improved(tm).  Currently it only supports referrals for several types of
records - network allocations (inetnum) are not among them.  It would
probably be a lot less work to add this capability than to maintain two
seperate database interfaces.  Perhaps ARIN should pursue this as a goal
instead of taking on maintaining RWhois?  After all, the RIPE Whois
server is very actively maintained.  ;)

Your pal in Amsterdam,

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