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TCP/IP Host Table Name System
(Page 1 of 4)
The pioneers of the modern Internet
made the first name system for the suite when they created simple files
containing the names and addresses of the machines in the early ARPAnet.
This system was so simple that it originally wasn't even formally specified
as a name system per se. Since the files contained names
for network hosts, the process for relating names to addresses was simply
called the host name mechanism. Later, these files were
called host tables, and for this reason I call this technology
the TCP/IP host table name system.
As a system, it is extremely simple,
since it consists of nothing more than a text file maintained on each
machine on the network. This file is normally called /etc/hosts
on a UNIX system, or HOSTS on a Windows system (usually residing
in the main Windows directory). The file usually begins with some comment
lines and then lists pairs of IP addresses and host names. A very simplified
example (using the modern table structure, which is slightly different
than the original host table format) is shown in Table 161.
Table 161: Example TCP/IP Host Table
# Host Database
# This file should contain the addresses and aliases
# for local hosts that share this file.
# Each line should take the form:
# <address> <host name>
Host Table Name Space
The name space and architecture for
this system is theoretically flat, with each name being able to take
any form without any real structure. Despite this, certain rules were
eventually put in place regarding how names should be created, for consistency.
As we will see later in this topic, it's also possible to use host tables
to support the implementation of a hierarchical name space, which would
obviously mean the names would have to be created using that name spaces
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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