[TUHS] Of login (and host) names

Mary Ann Horton mah at mhorton.net
Tue Jul 19 00:46:39 AEST 2016

When we were running the UUCP Zone, 3Com wanted to register 3com.com 
through us.  ISI balked at it, saying the RFC said domains had to start 
with a letter.  It turned out the original code decided if it was an IP 
address or a domain name by looking at whether the first character was a 
letter or digit.  We pushed back, it was allowed, and the code (and 
eventually RFC) was fixed.  UUCP, of course, didn't have that issue.

     Mary Ann

On 07/18/2016 07:35 AM, Norman Wilson wrote:
> While I was there, senior management bought a Cray X-MP/24 for
> the research group.  (Thank you for using AT&T.)  Since it too
> was accessible via Datakit (using a custom hardware interface
> built by Alan Kaplan, but that's another story), it had to have
> a hostname.  It was either Dave or Rob, I forget which, who
> suggested 3k, because (a) it was a supercomputer, so `big bang'
> seemed to fit; (b) it was Arno Penzias, then VP for Research,
> who got us the money, so `big bang' and 3K radiation seemed
> even more appropriate; and, most important, (c) it was fun to
> see whether a hostname beginning with a digit broke anything.
> So far as I recall, nothing broke.  Some people who were
> involved with TCP/IP networking at the labs were frightened
> about it; I don't remember whether that Cray was ever connected
> to an IP network so I don't know whether anything went wrong
> there.  Of course such names are not a problem today, but
> in those long-lost days when nobody worried much about buffer
> overflows either, such bugs were much more common.  Weren't they?
> Norman Wilson
> Toronto ON

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