History: The end of an era.

One of the oldest ".be" name servers is being taken out of production today (24 Apr 2003). Name servers are those machines that enable computers to be reached on the Internet using a symbolic name: the domain name. All of the machines that have been made available in the past by various companies on a voluntary basis are being replaced by our own machines that are linked via commercial Internet service providers. The aim of this move is to ensure the availability and stability of the .be domain into the future.

The shutting down of the .be name server at the Department of Computer Sciences represents a symbolic end to a period of the Department's close involvement with the start-up of the Internet in Belgium. The .be domain was set up in 1989 and was entrusted to the management of Professor Verbaeten. At the beginning of 1993, Jean Huens, system manager at the department, was responsible for connecting Belgium to the Internet by introducing a permanent connection (just 19.2 Kbps) for IP traffic between Leuven and Amsterdam. One of the first machines to be connected was the name server for the .be domain. "From that moment on, Belgium was connected properly to the Internet," recalls Professor Verbaeten. "Just a year later, the permanent line was transferred to one of the first commercial ISPs in Belgium, but the department remained responsible for managing the .be domain."

So today the interim final stage in this process is now being completed, a week after the top level machines were reconfigured. The current configuration enjoys extensive geographic coverage, with the focus on Belgium, and as such is much broader than the previous system in terms of bandwidth.

In addition to the extensive coverage, additional servers are also being brought on-line in Paris and Amsterdam.

Some pictures of the shutting down of the oldest .be name server.

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