Internet Systems Consortium

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Internet Systems Consortium
Internet Systems Consortium logo.png
Founded1994; 25 years ago (1994)
TypeNetwork Engineering
FocusDNS, BIND, Internet, Kea
Area served
Key people
Jeff Osborn (President)
Formerly called
Internet Software Consortium

Internet Systems Consortium, Inc., also known as ISC, is a Delaware-registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that supports the infrastructure of the universal, self-organizing Internet by developing and maintaining core production-quality software, protocols, and operations.[1][2] ISC has developed several key Internet technologies that enable the global Internet, including: BIND, ISC DHCP and Kea. Other software projects no longer in active development include OpenReg and ISC AFTR (an implementation of an IPv4/IPv6 transition protocol based on Dual-Stack Lite).

ISC operates one of the 13 global authoritative DNS root servers, F-root.[3][4]

Over the years a number of additional software systems were operated under ISC (for example: INN and Lynx) to better support the Internet's infrastructure. ISC also expanded their operational activities to include Internet hosting facilities for other open-source projects such as NetBSD, XFree86,, secondary name-service (SNS) for more than 50 top-level domains, and a DNS OARC (Operations, Analysis and Research Center) for monitoring and reporting of the Internet's DNS.

ISC is actively involved in community design process; it authors and participates in the development of the IETF standards, including the production of managed open-source software used as a reference implementation of the DNS.

ISC is primarily funded by the sale of technical support contracts for its open source software. "2018 ISC Annual Report". ISC. Retrieved 2019-06-18.


Originally the company was founded as the Internet Software Consortium, Inc. The founders included Paul Vixie, Rick Adams and Carl Malamud. The corporation was intended to continue the development of BIND software. The founders believed that it was necessary for BIND's maintenance and development be managed and funded by an independent organization. ISC was designated as a root name server operator by IANA, originally as NS.ISC.ORG and later as F.ROOT-SERVERS.NET.

In January 2004, ISC reorganized under the new name Internet Systems Consortium, Inc.[5]

In July 2013, ISC spun off the Security Business Unit to Farsight Security, Inc. a new company started by ISC founder Paul Vixie.[6]

Open Source[edit]

ISC develops and maintains open-source networking software, including BIND and two DHCP implementations: ISC DHCP and Kea. ISC also distributes INN and several older, unmaintained projects.[1] Some aspects of its software have, in the past, been developed by developers that are commercially employed by Nominum, amongst others.[7]

ISC license[edit]

ISC developed and uses the ISC license, which is functionally similar to the simplified BSD and MIT licenses. The ISC license is OpenBSD's preferred license for new code.

DNS root server[edit]

ISC operates the DNS "F" root server,[1] the first such server to be distributed using anycast. In 2007 it was announced that ISC and ICANN would sign an agreement regarding the operation of F, the first such agreement made between ICANN and a root-server operator.[8]

Usenet moderators list[edit]

ISC maintains and publishes (on the central Usenet moderators list and relays for moderated groups, so individual server operators don't have to track moderator changes.[9]

Internet Domain Survey[edit]

Number of Internet hosts worldwide in 1970–2015[10]

The Internet Domain Survey searches the Domain Name System (DNS) to discover every Internet host. The survey began when only a few hundred hosts were Internet-linked.[11] The earliest published reports dated 1993 were performed by Network Wizards owner Mark K. Lottor. The Internet host count was 1313000 in January 1993 and 1062660523 in the latest January 2017 survey.[12]

ISC is the current sponsor and publisher with technical operations subcontracted to Network Wizards.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The History of ISC". Internet Systems Consortium. Archived from the original on 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  2. ^ Internal Revenue Service (2007-12-15). "501(c)(3) exemption letter". Internet Systems Consortium. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  3. ^ "F-root". Internet Systems Consortium. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ "ISC and ICANN F-root Agreement" (PDF). ICANN. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ "ISC Mission". Internet Systems Consortium. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  6. ^ "ISC Spins Off Its Security Business Unit". Internet Systems Consortium. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  7. ^ "Nominum Inc history". David Conrad founded Nominum in 1999develop BIND9 and ISC DHCP3 for the Internet Software Consortium
  8. ^ "Milestone Agreement Reached Between ICANN, and F Root Server Operator, Internet Systems Consortium". ICANN. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  9. ^ Usenet Hierarchy FAQ Section 4.
  10. ^ "Internet host count history". Internet Systems Consortium. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "ISC Internet Domain Survey". Internet Systems Consortium. Archived from the original on 2008-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  12. ^ "Internet Domain Survey, January 2017". Internet Systems Consortium. Retrieved 2017-02-14.

External links[edit]

  • ISC Official site