Announcing Referral Whois (RWhois)


Scott and I have been working on trying to solve the whois problem involving
the network entites that we register and delegate to others. Our data is
heirarchical in nature and can be easily "referred" to other sites for the
particular record or additional information.

We have created a referral server and client (aka RWhois) to show this concept
and to get your comments on whether we should continue carrying on with this
idea. An alpha release of the RWhois client and server is available via
anonymous ftp from as /pub/rwhois/rwhois-B0.1.tar.Z. It
contains the source for the rwhois server; the rwhois client; a partial,
edited copy of the freeWAIS-0.1 distribution; and an example data directory
that you can bring up the rwhois server quickly.

Both the client and server are in the Alpha stages and things will be
changing as we continue to develop this idea (some are listed below). If you
are interested and/or want to get announcements for the latest and greatest
versions, please join the mailing list. To join,
send a request to:

If you experience any bugs, send a note to the RWhois development team:

Things that will be added/changed in releases in the very near future:

  Additional client-to-server commands:
  - soa (gives soa and update information and where to send templates)
  - badref (bad reference)
  - recurref (recursive reference found)
  - holdconnect (hold connection for interactive queries)

  Additional client options:
  - use of client-to-server commands
  - better handling of server-to-client commands

  Configuration details:
  - Currently the configuration defaults to port 3636 on
    your particular queries. THIS WILL CHANGE to port 4343
    with the full-blown database (I want my IPC back!).

  - The data is a SUBSET of the actual whois data. Do a -xfer to
    see what data is in each RWhois server to test (a set is also in
    the RWhois draft
  - To see examples of how RWhois works, look at the EXAMPLES file

  Addititional Documentation Coming:
  - RWhois protocol specification
  - RWhois client documentation
  - RWhois server documentation
Also in the archive, we have a set of examples along with explanations
of what is happening in /pub/rwhois/EXAMPLES.

We hope you will examine and experiment with RWhois. Please send your comments
to We would like to hear from you!

Thanks for your time,