> All of this stuff (global WHOIS included) really needs to go into
> LDAP, using standardized schemas for the relevant data.
I'm not sure this is a good idea, or even possible.
That's two arguments, and they need to be separated.
As to the quality of the concept, standardized views of a partitioned
database are required in order to facilitate improved levels of debugging
and problem reporting. We already know this much: given that the Internet
is a collection of independent networks, mechanisms for locating and
identifying the operators of the networks are necessary in order for the
network operators to manage their interconnections effectively. Every
network operator with more than a year's experience under his belt will
agree with this. Standardizing the information structure and supplementing
the data with a standards-based referral mechanism to the downstream
databases is the only real difference for this model versus the
schema-free WHOIS/rWHOIS already tried. So if standardized views allow for
more/better management of independent networks and their interconnections
then its a good idea.
The benefits of standardized schema are most apparent when you look at
them in the context of a referral-based partitioned database. If every
network has its own isolated partition with its own WHOIS service
(requiring manual manipulation), standardized data is not necessary. But
if the data sources are interconnected then standardized schema allow for
higher degrees of automation, which does lead to "better". For example, an
operator can provide an address in question as a search key, and then
programmatically follow the referrals to locate the operator of the
end-point network which owns the address in question. Faster is the
"better" quality in this case. Programmatic access to distributed data can
also allow for a limited amount of route-management automation,
address-to-domain mapping (validation? DNS is very easy to lie to and
with), and many other services. These are all positive benefits, so the
idea is a good one. Whether the benefits are high enough to justify the
effort is your second question.
Given the wide range of organizational approaches and privacy customs
and/or laws worldwide, I'm not sure how you could approach this.
If the parties agree that it should be done, it will get done. It doesn't
appear they agree with the premise, so there's no motivation to do it.
Maybe from your perspective there is no requirement for it, but from the
outside there is a strong desire for this kind of service. Our jobs as
network operators are much harder than they should be.
Even within just the RIR's, there's the different philosophies
regarding the contents of the data. For instance, ARIN maintains
fairly tight-fisted control over it's database, which allows them the
freedom to fix things that are broken. The RIPE database is owned and
maintained by RIPE members, which allows members the freedom to update
their information on their own, and use the amount of protection they
feel appropriate. (Not to sure about the APNIC database, but the
Asia-Pacific region has its own cultural mores and specific background
What if this happened from the top down? Surely the parties would do it if
they were instructed to do so by the body that empowered them in the first
place? Given that scenario, the parties also have the power to do it
themselves once they are motivated. I am not reading motiviation from your
I get the impression that LDAP/X.500 was designed with a specific
corporate and/or governmental organizational structure in mind. I
don't necessarily think this maps very well on to the anarchy that is
The referral mechanism is the key, since it allows for distributed
management of autonomous partitions. The standardized schema is only
important if the referrals work. LDAP is a well-documented protocol for
querying, viewing, managing and navigating partitioned data so its a good
solution to the problem.