COM/NET/ORG/EDU Registry Informational Message

To All,

VeriSign GRS will be making several changes to the COM, NET, ORG and EDU
zone files. Their format will be modified to reduce the overall file
size by removing unnecessary text and extraneous records. Currently the
excess information causes an increase in the time required to generate
and distribute these files. In the interest of making timely updates and
meeting ICANN requirements for file distribution, the following changes
will be made:

1. Modify Zone File Format to Reduce Size

Using certain directives and shortcuts to replace recurring values will
significantly reduce the size of these zone files:

- Records will contain unqualified, or relative, domain names whenever
possible. The particular zone file�s origin will be specified with a
$ORIGIN directive and should be appended to unqualified domain names per
RFC 1035, section 5.1.

- The $TTL directive will be used set the default time to live for
subsequent records in the zone file per RFC 2308, section 4. Individual
records will no longer contain an explicit TTL.

- The IN class will be specified in the SOA record but omitted in all
subsequent records, since a record�s class defaults to the previously
specified class. See RFC 1035, section 5.1 for more information.

These format changes are currently scheduled to be implemented late Q2

2. Eliminate Orphan A Records

The current zone generation process publishes A (address) records (also
called glue records) regardless of whether the name server is referenced
by any NS (name server) records. Put another way, an A record is
published even if no zone delegations reference it. These A records are
called orphans, and their presence in the COM/NET/ORG zones is
undesirable for both administrative and technical reasons

The inclusion of these orphan A records can cause problems for
administrators of lower-level name servers. Even if the lower-level
servers are configured properly, orphan A records in the COM/NET/ORG
zones can interfere with normal resolution of lower-level zones and make
maintenance (especially changes) difficult and confusing. If the
lower-level name servers are configured improperly, the presence of
orphan A records may be the only reason that resolution is currently
working correctly. Therefore, it is important that all administrators of
COM/NET/ORG subzones have the correct information in their zones prior
to the removal of orphan A records from the COM/NET/ORG zones.

Verisign�s proposed resolution for achieving this is as follows:

Step 1 (by late February): A report will be generated weekly for each
registrar indicating the orphan A records owned by that registrar.
VeriSign GRS will also include instructions describing the steps that
should be taken to ensure that lower-level name servers are properly
configured so that removal of the orphan A records will not cause
failures in resolution.

Step 2 (by late February): A list of all orphan A records will be
posted to the VeriSign GRS web site and will be updated weekly. This
list will allow registrants to determine if they might be affected by
the elimination of orphan A records from the COM/NET/ORG zones and
provide instruction on resolving these issues

Step 3 (Currently scheduled for late Q2): Approximately a week before
the modification to the zone generation process to remove orphan A
records is implemented, another email will be sent out as a reminder
with the exact date that the change will occur.