xtraceroute - graphical (X11) traceroute
This manual page briefly documents the xtraceroute , command. This manual page was originally written for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution because the original program does not have a manual page. Since then the author has gotten his act together and keeps it up to date.
xtraceroute is a graphical version of the traceroute program, which traces the route your IP packets travel to their destination.
On the display:
hostname is the name (or IP address) of the host you are interested in.
xtraceroute tries hard to guess the location of machines, but it is just software, it doesn't know everything, and it makes mistakes.
The yellow dots has been guessed by looking at the top level domain (TLD) of the hostname. This works fairly well for most countries, but there's a few exceptions where some small countries (like Niue (.nu) and Tuvalu (.tv)) will let anyone register domains in their space for a fee. I don't care, If it says .nu and it hasn't got a LOC record, it'll get plotted in Niue. Also, very few US sites actually use the .us TLD.
If it finds a very high-latency link, it will assume it it a satellite hop and plot it accordingly. If you have some other kind of slow link, like PPP over something slow or a really busy router, it might show up as a satellite hop as well.
These three personal files are typically filled in via the Database menu.
The Correct Way to tell the geographical location of a host on the internet is to ask the DNS. The way to do that is described in RFC1876, which defines the LOC (for location) RR. It's not exactly widely used, but you see it every now and then. Hopefully this program can help change that.
How to get LOC data for your site into the DNS:
Ask your local sysadmin that maintain your nameserver to read the RFC. It's a fairly easy read as RFCs go, but it might help if you find out the location of your site in advance using, say, a GPS or a site like http://www.mapblast.com. Sysadmins are busy people.
When xtraceroute tries to resolve a hostname it will try the proper name first, and then higher domains. For example if our hostname is "apa.bepa.cepa.com", it will try that, "bepa.cepa.com" and "cepa.com". (But not just "com")
This means that if you're a big site and it's hard to persuade the admins to add individual LOC entries for all machines, you can try getting them to add one or two for the whole domain.
More information on xtraceroute is in /usr/share/doc/xt.
This manual page was written by Stephane Bortzmeyer <email@example.com>, for the Debian GNU/Linux system (but may be used by others), and then later modified by Ola Lundqvist <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Xtraceroute was written by Björn Augustsson <email@example.com>.
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