Root Authority

Joe Abley jabley at
Tue Dec 16 03:00:54 UTC 2003

On 15 Dec 2003, at 21:31, Valdis.Kletnieks at wrote:

> On Mon, 15 Dec 2003 14:28:05 PST, bill said:
>> Sorry Mr Bush.  We derive our authority from the old IANA, who
>> assigned out the exiting roots.
> No, that's who *appointed* you.  However, you derive your actual
> authority from all the hints files that point to you.

Actually from the NS set in the root zone served by the first server in 
the hints file to respond to a query, and thereafter, as cached records 
expire, from the nameserver in that NS set that happens to be queried 
for an update, and responds.

In general, coherent and stable authority results from both the fact 
that the same NS set for root is carried by all the root servers, and 
also the fact that hints files don't include the addresses of servers 
which respond differently.

Coherency in the root's NS set as served by all root nameservers is 
derived from the replication procedure which distributes a single zone 
specified by IANA. Coherency in the hints file is derived from the fact 
that most (all?) DNS server vendors ship with data derived from IANA, 
combined with the fact that the hints file doesn't change much (and 
hence rapid field-updates are largely unnecessary).

So, Bill's IANA answer sounds pretty good to me.


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