Bonjour (protocol)

From Academic Kids

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Rendezvous_icon.jpg
The Rendezvous logo.

Bonjour, formerly Rendezvous, is Apple's trade name for its implementation of the IETF Zeroconf protocol - a computer network technology used in Apple's Mac OS X from version 10.2 onwards. It uses standard DNS packets in a new way. Thus it is a new service, but it is using a technology that is relatively old, DNS over IP.

Bonjour is a general method to discover services on a local area network. This technology is widely used throughout Mac OS X and allows users to setup a network without any configuration. Currently it is used by Mac OS X to find printers and file sharing servers. It is also used by iTunes to find shared music, iPhoto to find shared photos, iChat to find other local iChat users, TiVo Desktop to find digital video recorders, and SubEthaEdit to find document collaborators. Additionally it is used by Safari to find local web servers and configuration pages for local devices.

Without special DNS configuration, Bonjour only works on a single subnet, which is usually a small area.

Bonjour is sometimes misunderstood to make services on a personal computer (for instance, file sharing) available to the public Internet, which could be considered a security risk. In fact, Bonjour does not provide any extra access to services; it merely advertises them. For example, a user can browse a list of nearby computers which share files—Bonjour on these computers has told his that the service is available—but he must still provide a password to access any protected files on these machines. Additionally, Bonjour works only in a close range; by default, its messages only reach users of the same subnet. Thus, the only security impact of Bonjour is that advertised services are no longer protected by security through obscurity within the local subnet. If the services are protected through a means other than obscurity, they will remain protected.

Rendezvous was renamed Bonjour with the release of Mac OS X v10.4 due to a 2004 settlement between Apple and Tibco Software Inc. Tibco already marketed a product with the name Rendezvous. It was widely rumored in 2004 that the new name would be OpenTalk, but this name was not picked (possibly due to the similarities to LocalTalk and PowerTalk).

Bonjour services are largely implemented at the application level using standard TCP/IP calls, rather than in the operating system. Although Mac OS X provides various Bonjour services, Mac OS X is not actually required to use Bonjour. Apple has made available an open source implementation of the Bonjour mDNS (multicast DNS) responder (the core component of service discovery), and has released a closed source set of services for Microsoft Windows.

See also

External links

de:Rendezvous (Apple)fr:Apple Bonjour

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