re: DISI draft

Chris Weider <clw> Tue, 02 April 1991 18:35 UTC

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Date: Tue, 2 Apr 91 13:31:40 EST
From: Chris Weider <clw>
Message-Id: <>
To: jkrey@ISI.EDU
Subject: re: DISI draft
Cc: disi

Joyce (and to anyone else who didn't get a hardcopy at the IETF...)
    Here's the paper I distributed...

		Expanding the Scope of X.500:
	Experimental Internet Site Contacts Data Base
  		    Chris Weider, Merit

1. Introduction

     X.500 is a protocol which resides in the Application Layer of the OSI
  protocol suite, and defines a global network directory. It is a 
  distributed, heirarchically structured directory with these features:

  	* Decentralized Maintenance:
	   Each site running such a Directory is responsible ONLY for its
	   local part of the Directory, so updates and maintenance can be done

	* Authoritative Local Information:
	   Since each site is responsible only for local information, backups
	   need only be kept locally.

	* Structured Directory Information:
	   Since each site resides in a specified location in the global
	   heirarchy, Directory searches are made much more efficient.

2. How X.500 works

     The abstract X.500 server contains two pieces: a Directory User
  Agent (DUA) and a Directory Service Agent (DSA).  The worldwide collection
  of DSAs form a vast distributed directory, and the fact that the DSAs are
  hierarchically ordered allows each DSA to contact all the others without
  maintaining huge location tables. The DUA acts as an interface between the
  user and the DSAs.
     The DUA, when handed a request by a user, contacts the "nearest" DSA. If
  that DSA does not have the requested information, but suspects that another
  DSA may contain the information, a referral/chaining process is
  initiated to allow the information to be obtained from other DSA(s).
  To the user, it looks as if the entire global directory resides 
3. The White Pages Project Implementation of X.500

     There are a number of pilot directory projects in the internet
  community, and notably PSI is supporting a White Pages Project for
  the USA. The White Pages Project is based on the ISODE (Marshall
  Rose) and QUIPU (University College London) software, and is fairly
  widely used as a directory of organizations and people. It is based
  on X.500 and has several user agent programs. Merit joined the
  White Pages Project in 1990, and now operates three parts of the
  Directory Information Tree: 1) a directory of Merit Computer Network
  staff members, 2) a directory of the customers of Sprintmail in
  support of the Sprintmail X.400/Internet gateway, and 3) a
  Site Contacts directory for the internet.

4. Merit adds Internet Site Contact Info

     In cooperation with the SRI-NIC, some of the information on
  network infrastructure for the internet kept in the "whois"
  database has now been entered in the X.500 Directory. This has
  been done on a prototype basis, and it is expected that further
  work will be done in this area. Currently the network-contacts
  and autonomous system information have been entered and are
  available under the @o=Internet@ou=Site Contacts position in 
  the White Pages Project Directory. The network-contacts and
  autonomous system information is updated from the NIC master files
     Merit has also created an expanded user interface that
  allows access to this Site Contact and AS information via X.500.
5. Merit helps You get X.500 access

     Since configuring and maintaining a DSA is quite a chore, Merit will
  assist you in getting access to X.500 by showing you how to set up a DUA 
  which can speak to Merit's DSA, and through that, to the global DSA. Merit
  will assist you in this by providing:
     a) Directions to set up ISODE and QUIPU.
     b) A user group and mailing list for discussion of advances and problems.
     c) The specialized user interface to access Merit's new information.

6. How to set up ISODE and QUIPU.

     To access Merit's DSA, you will need to start your own DUA.  To do
  this, please determine whether your organization is currently
  running ISODE and QUIPU, and follow the instructions below. If you
  have any difficulties with the installation procedures, please

     a) Running both ISODE and QUIPU

        If you are currently running both ISODE and QUIPU, you probably
	already have a DSA running, and all you need to know is that
	Merit's branch of the Directory tree is @c=us@o=Merit Computer
	Network, and that the site contact information is in the
	@o=Internet@ou=Site Contacts branch of the tree.  There are some
	programs available for anonymous ftp from to aid in
	searches through the Site Contacts information. The guide to the
	labyrinth is in a READ.ME file in the directory pub/x500.

   b) Running ISODE only

	If you are running ISODE but not QUIPU, you will need to
	issue the following instuctions from the topmost ISODE directory as
	the superuser:

>  ./make once-only all-quipu
>  ./make inst-quipu

	These commands will probably take a while to execute. After they have
	finished, you'll need to 

> find . -name dsaptailor -print

	and then cd to the directory in which dsaptailor resides. You'll then
	need to edit the dsaptailor file and make the following additions:
	find the line:

# the level-1 DSA

	and add underneath it the line

  dsa_address "white-nosed-saki" '0101'H/Internet=

	which tells your DUA that Merit's DSA resides at on port 
	17003. Then find the line

  local_DIT  "c=US"

	and edit it to read

  local_DIT  "c=US@o=Merit Computer Network"

	which tells the DUA which part of the Directory you're starting in.
	After you have made these changes, run dish(1c) by typing

> dish -c "white-nosed-saki"

	The documentation to all for all of these programs and many more are
	available for anonymous FTP from In addition,
 	the documentation and special user interfaces created by Merit are also
	available for anonymous FTP from the same location.

     c) Running neither ISODE nor QUIPU

	The ISODE installation documents are in a 'tar'ed postscript file
	available for anonymous ftp from FTP that file,
	untar it, and print it out, and then follow the instructions in
	Chapter 2, "Installation and Configuration". Then, after everything is
	installed and looks happy, find the dsaptailor file and edit it as 
	detailed in section 6b above. The documentation and special user
	interfaces created by Merit are also available for anonymous FTP from
	the same location.

7. System requirements

     ISODE runs on many hardware platforms. The source files and binarys will
  take up approximately 50 Mbytes of space, so be sure to install it in
  a machine with a fair amount of free space.

8. Questions and Problems

    The mailing list for the User's Group is To be added
  to this list, send your request to We'll be 
  glad to share our experiences with x500 with this group, and assist where
  we can. For problems with the ISODE system software, contact 

9. How to get this great offering

    For more information on this great offering, or to get started, contact
  Chris Weider at  Mail daemons are standing by.