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INFORMATIONAL

Network Working Group                                        B. Callaghan
Request for Comments: 2224                         Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Category: Informational                                      October 1997

                             NFS URL Scheme

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1997).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   A new URL scheme, 'nfs' is defined.  It is used to refer to files and
   directories on NFS servers using the general URL syntax defined in
   RFC 1738, "Uniform Resource Locators (URL)".

   This scheme uses the public filehandle and multi-component lookup
   [RFC2054, RFC2055] to access server data with a minimum of protocol
   overhead.

   The NFS protocol provides access to shared filesystems across
   networks.  It is designed to be machine, operating system, network
   architecture, and transport protocol independent.  The protocol
   currently exists in two versions: version 2 [RFC1094] and version 3
   [RFC1813], both built on ONC RPC [RFC1831] at its associated eXternal
   Data Representation (XDR) [RFC1832] and Binding Protocol [RFC1833].

Table of Contents

      1.    URL Syntax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
      2.    URL Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
      3.    Server Connection  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
      4.    NFS Version  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
      5.    Public Filehandle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      5.1     NFS Version 2 Public Filehandle  . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      5.2     NFS Version 3 Public Filehandle  . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      6.    Multi-component Lookup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
      6.1     Absolute vs Relative Pathname  . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
      6.2     Symbolic Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      7.    Mount Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
      8.    Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
      9.    Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8



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      10.   BNF for NFS URL Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
      11.   Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
      12.   Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
      13.   Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

1. URL Syntax

   An NFS URL is based on the Common Internet Scheme Syntax described in
   section 3.1 of RFC 1738.  It has the general form:

        nfs://<host>:<port><url-path>

   The ":<port>" part is optional.  If omitted then port 2049 is
   assumed.  The <url-path> is also optional.

   The <url-path> is a hierarchical directory path of the form
   /<directory>/<directory>/<directory>/.../<name>. The <url-path> must
   consist only of characters within the US-ASCII character set.  Within
   a <directory> or <name> component the character "/" is reserved and
   must be encoded as described in Section 2.2 of RFC 1738.  If <url-
   path> is omitted or consists solely of "/", it must default to the
   path ".".

2. URL Evaluation

   A client must evaluate an NFS URL by a method known as WebNFS
   [RFC2054, RFC2055]. This method provides easy passage through
   firewalls and proxy servers, as well as using a minimum number of
   messages.  The WebNFS method is defined for NFS versions 2 and 3. It
   assumes that the server registers on TCP or UDP port 2049 and
   supports the public filehandle and multi-component lookup semantics
   as described in the following sections.

3. Server Connection

   The client must first attempt to create a TCP connection to <host>
   using the <port> specified.  If :<port> is omitted, then port 2049
   will be used.  If the server refuses the TCP connection, then the
   client will use UDP.

4. NFS Version

   The client must first attempt to use NFS version 3.  If the server
   returns an RPC PROG_MISMATCH error then the client must assume that
   NFS version 3 is not supported, and retry the operation with an NFS
   version 2 public filehandle.





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5. Public Filehandle

   NFS filehandles are normally created by the server and used to
   identify uniquely a particular file or directory on the server.  The
   client does not normally create filehandles or have any knowledge of
   the contents of a filehandle.

   The public filehandle is an an exception.  It is an NFS filehandle
   with a reserved value and special semantics that allow an initial
   filehandle to be obtained.  A WebNFS client uses the public
   filehandle as an initial filehandle rather than using the MOUNT
   protocol.  Since NFS version 2 and version 3 have different
   filehandle formats, the public filehandle is defined differently for
   each.

   The public filehandle is a zero filehandle.  For NFS version 2 this
   is a filehandle with 32 zero octets.  A version 3 public filehandle
   has zero length.

5.1 NFS Version 2 Public Filehandle

   A version 2 filehandle is defined in RFC 1094 as an opaque value
   occupying 32 octets.  A version 2 public filehandle has a zero in
   each octet, i.e. all zeros.

    1                                                             32
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

5.2 NFS Version 3 Public Filehandle

   A version 3 filehandle is defined in RFC 1813 as a variable length
   opaque value occupying up to 64 octets.  The length of the filehandle
   is indicated by an integer value contained in a 4 octet value which
   describes the number of valid octets that follow. A version 3 public
   filehandle has a length of zero.

   +-+-+-+-+
   |   0   |
   +-+-+-+-+

6. Multi-component Lookup

   Normally the NFS LOOKUP request (version 2 or 3) takes a directory
   filehandle along with the name of a directory member, and returns the
   filehandle of the directory member.  If a client needs to evaluate a
   pathname that contains a sequence of components, then beginning with



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   the directory filehandle of the first component it must issue a
   series of LOOKUP requests one component at a time.  For instance,
   evaluation of the path  "a/b/c" will generate separate LOOKUP
   requests for each component of the pathname "a", "b", and "c".

   A LOOKUP request that uses the public filehandle can provide a
   pathname containing multiple components.  The server is expected to
   evaluate the entire pathname and return a filehandle for the final
   component.

   For example, rather than evaluate the path "a/b/c" as:

        LOOKUP  FH=0x0  "a"  --->
                             <---  FH=0x1
        LOOKUP  FH=0x1  "b"  --->
                             <---  FH=0x2
        LOOKUP  FH=0x2  "c"  --->
                             <---  FH=0x3

   Relative to the public filehandle these three LOOKUP
   requests can be replaced by a single multi-component
   lookup:

        LOOKUP  FH=0x0  "a/b/c"  --->
                                 <---  FH=0x3

   Multi-component lookup is supported only for LOOKUP requests relative
   to the public filehandle.

   The <url-path> of the NFS URL must be evaluated as a multi-component
   lookup. This implies that the path components are delimited by
   slashes and the characters that make up the path must be in the
   printable US-ASCII character set. Characters not in the "unreserved"
   set (see BNF description below) may be included in pathname
   components but must be escaped.

   If the <url-path> is empty or consists solely of "/", the client must
   send a multi-component lookup for the pathname ".".

6.1 Absolute vs. Relative Pathname

   A multi-component pathname that begins with a slash character is
   considered "absolute" and will be evaluated relative to the server's
   root.  A pathname that does not begin with a slash is "relative" and
   will be evaluated relative to the directory with which the public
   filehandle is associated.





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   Note that the initial "/" that introduces the <url-path> of an NFS
   URL must not be passed to the server for multi-component lookup since
   the pathname is to be evaluated relative to the public filehandle
   directory.  For example, if the public filehandle is associated with
   the server's directory "/a/b/c" then the URL:

        nfs://server/d/e/f

   will be evaluated with a multi-component lookup of the path
   "d/e/f" relative to the server's directory "/a/b/c" while
   the URL:

        nfs://server//a/b/c/d/e/f

   will locate the same file with an absolute multi-component lookup of
   the path "/a/b/c/d/e/f" relative to the server's filesystem root.
   Notice that a double slash is required at the beginning of the path.

   Not all WebNFS servers can support arbitrary use of absolute paths.
   Clearly, the server must not return a filehandle if the path
   identifies a file or directory that is not exported by the server.
   In addition, some servers will not return a filehandle if the path
   names a file or directory in an exported filesystem different from
   the one that is associated with the public filehandle.

6.2 Symbolic Links

   The NFS protocol supports symbolic links, which are the filesystem
   equivalent of a relative URL. If a WebNFS client retrieves a
   filehandle for a symbolic link (as indicated by the file type
   attribute) then it should send a READLINK request to the server to
   retrieve the path comprising the symbolic link.

   This path should then be combined with the URL which referenced the
   symbolic link according to the rules described in RFC 1808.  If the
   relative URL in the symbolic link text is to be resolved successfully
   then it must contain only ASCII characters and conform to the syntax
   described in RFC 1808.  Note that this allows a symbolic link to
   contain an entire URL and it may specify a scheme that is not
   necessarily an NFS URL.

   A symbolic link path that begins with a slash will be evaluated as an
   absolute path relative to the directory associated with the public
   filehandle which may not be the same as the server's system root
   directory.  If symbolic links with absolute paths are to be evaluated
   correctly on both client and server then the public filehandle must
   be associated with the system root directory.




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   For example, if the symbolic link is named by the URL

        nfs://server/a/b

   then the following examples show how a new URL can be
   formed from the symbolic link text:

         c                      = nfs://server/a/c

         c/d                    = nfs://server/a/c/d

         ../c                   = nfs://server/c

         /c/d                   = nfs://server/c/d

         nfs://server2/a/b      = nfs://server2/a/b

7. Mount Protocol

   The NFS URL may have limited use for naming files on servers that do
   not support the public filehandle and multi-component lookup.

   If the server returns an NFS3ERR_STALE, NFS3ERR_INVAL, or
   NFS3ERR_BADHANDLE error in response to the client's use of a public
   filehandle, then the client should attempt to resolve the <url-path>
   to a filehandle using the MOUNT protocol.

   Version 1 of the MOUNT protocol is described in Appendix A of RFC
   1094 and version 3 in Appendix I of RFC 1813. Version 2 of the MOUNT
   protocol is identical to version 1 except for the addition of a
   procedure MOUNTPROC_PATHCONF which returns POSIX pathconf information
   from the server.

   Note that the pathname sent to the server in the MOUNTPROC_MNT
   request is assumed to be a server native path, rather than a slash-
   separated path described by RFC 1738.  Hence, the MOUNT protocol can
   reasonably be expected to map a <url-path> to a filehandle only on
   servers that support slash-separated ASCII native paths.  In general,
   servers that do not support WebNFS access or slash-separated ASCII
   native paths should not advertise NFS URLs.

   At this point the client must already have some indication as to
   which version of the NFS protocol is supported on the server.  Since
   the filehandle format differs between NFS versions 2 and 3, the
   client must select the appropriate version of the MOUNT protocol.
   MOUNT versions 1 and 2 return only NFS version 2 filehandles, whereas
   MOUNT version 3 returns NFS version 3 filehandles.




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   Unlike the NFS service, the MOUNT service is not registered on a
   well-known port.  The client must use the PORTMAP service to locate
   the server's MOUNT port before it can transmit a MOUNTPROC_MNT
   request to retrieve the filehandle corresponding to the requested
   path.

       Client                                       Server
       ------                                       ------

       -------------- MOUNT port ? -------------->  Portmapper
       <-------------- Port=984 ------------------

       ------- Filehandle for /export/foo ?  ---->  Mountd @ port 984
       <--------- Filehandle=0xf82455ce0..  ------

   NFS servers commonly use a client's successful MOUNTPROC_MNT request
   request as an indication that the client has "mounted" the filesystem
   and may maintain this information in a file that lists the
   filesystems that clients currently have mounted.  This information is
   removed from the file when the client transmits an MOUNTPROC_UMNT
   request.  Upon receiving a successful reply to a MOUNTPROC_MNT
   request, a WebNFS client should send a MOUNTPROC_UMNT request to
   prevent an accumulation of "mounted" records on the server.

8.0 Bibliography

   [RFC1738]       Berners-Lee, T., Masinter, L. and M. McCahill,
                   "Uniform Resource Locators (URL)," RFC 1738,
                   December 1994.

   [RFC1808]       Fielding, R., "Relative Uniform Resource Locators,"
                   RFC 1808, June 1995.

   [RFC1831]       Srinivasan, R., "RPC: Remote Procedure Call
                   Protocol Specification Version 2," RFC 1831,
                   August 1995.

   [RFC1832]       Srinivasan, R., "XDR: External Data Representation
                   Standard," RFC 1832, August 1995.

   [RFC1833]       Srinivasan, R., "Binding Protocols for ONC RPC
                   Version 2," RFC 1833, August 1995.

   [RFC1094]       Sun Microsystems, Inc., "Network Filesystem
                   Specification," RFC 1094, March 1989.






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   [RFC1813]       Callaghan, B., Pawlowski, B. and P. Staubach,
                   "NFS Version 3 Protocol Specification," RFC 1813,
                   June 1995.

   [RFC2054]       Callaghan, B., "WebNFS Client Specification,"
                   RFC 2054, October 1996.

   [RFC2055]       Callaghan, B., "WebNFS Server Specification,"
                   RFC 2055, October 1996.

   [Sandberg]      Sandberg, R., D. Goldberg, S. Kleiman, D. Walsh,
                   B.  Lyon, "Design and Implementation of the Sun
                   Network Filesystem," USENIX Conference
                   Proceedings, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA,
                   Summer 1985.  The basic paper describing the
                   SunOS implementation of the NFS version 2
                   protocol, and discusses the goals, protocol
                   specification and trade-offs.

   [X/OpenNFS]     X/Open Company, Ltd., X/Open CAE Specification:
                   Protocols for X/Open Internetworking: XNFS,
                   X/Open Company, Ltd., Apex Plaza, Forbury Road,
                   Reading Berkshire, RG1 1AX, United Kingdom,
                   1991.  This is an indispensable reference for
                   the NFS and accompanying protocols, including
                   the Lock Manager and the Portmapper.

   [X/OpenPCNFS]   X/Open Company, Ltd., X/Open CAE Specification:
                   Protocols for X/Open Internetworking: (PC)NFS,
                   Developer's Specification, X/Open Company, Ltd.,
                   Apex Plaza, Forbury Road, Reading Berkshire, RG1
                   1AX, United Kingdom, 1991.  This is an
                   indispensable reference for NFS protocol and
                   accompanying protocols, including the Lock Manager
                   and the Portmapper.

9. Security Considerations

   Since the WebNFS server features are based on NFS protocol versions 2
   and 3, the RPC based security considerations described in RFC 1094,
   RFC 1831, and RFC 1832 apply here also.

   Server implementors should be careful when implementing multi-
   component lookup that the client cannot obtain unauthorized access to
   files or directories. For example: a path that includes multiple
   occurrences of "../" may locate a filesystem outside of the exported
   filesystem associated with the public filehandle.




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   Clients and servers may separately negotiate secure connection
   schemes for authentication, data integrity, and privacy.

10. BNF for NFS URL Scheme

   The syntax of the NFS URL is a subset of the Generic URL syntax
   described in RFC 1738.  An NFS URL does not include user or password
   components, nor does it recognize "?" query or "#" fragment
   components.
      nfsURL        = "nfs" ":" relativeURL
      relativeURL   = net_path | abs_path | rel_path
      net_path      = "//" hostport [ abs_path ]
      abs_path      = "/"  rel_path
      rel_path      = [ path_segments ]

      hostport      = host [ ":" port ]
      host          = hostname | hostnumber
      hostname      = *( domainlabel "." ) toplabel
      domainlabel   = alphanum | alphanum *( alphanum | "-" ) alphanum
      toplabel      = alpha | alpha *( alphanum | "-" ) alphanum
      hostnumber    = 1*digit "." 1*digit "." 1*digit "." 1*digit
      port          = *digit

      url-path      = [ "/" ] path_segments
      path_segments = segment *( "/" segment )
      segment       = *pchar
      pchar         = unreserved | escaped | ":" | "@" | "&" | "=" | "+"

      reserved      = ";" | "/" | "?" | ":" | "@" | "&" | "=" | "+"
      unreserved    = alpha | digit | mark
      mark          = "$" | "-" | "_" | "." | "!" | "~" |
                      "*" | "'" | "(" | ")" | ","

      escaped       = "%" hex hex
      hex           = digit | "A" | "B" | "C" | "D" | "E" | "F" |
                              "a" | "b" | "c" | "d" | "e" | "f"

      alphanum      = alpha | digit
      alpha         = lowalpha | upalpha

      lowalpha = "a" | "b" | "c" | "d" | "e" | "f" | "g" | "h" | "i" |
                 "j" | "k" | "l" | "m" | "n" | "o" | "p" | "q" | "r" |
                 "s" | "t" | "u" | "v" | "w" | "x" | "y" | "z"
      upalpha  = "A" | "B" | "C" | "D" | "E" | "F" | "G" | "H" | "I" |
                 "J" | "K" | "L" | "M" | "N" | "O" | "P" | "Q" | "R" |
                 "S" | "T" | "U" | "V" | "W" | "X" | "Y" | "Z"
      digit    = "0" | "1" | "2" | "3" | "4" | "5" | "6" | "7" |
                 "8" | "9"



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11. Acknowledgements

   This specification was extensively reviewed by the NFS group at
   SunSoft and brainstormed by Michael Eisler.

12. Author's Address

   Address comments related to this RFC to:

      brent@eng.sun.com


   Brent Callaghan
   Sun Microsystems, Inc.
   Mailstop Mpk17-201,
   901 San Antonio Road,
   Palo Alto, California 94303

   Phone: 1-415-786-5067
   EMail: brent.callaghan@eng.sun.com
   Fax:   1-415-786-5896






























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13.  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1997).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implmentation may be prepared, copied, published
   andand distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
   English.

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
   "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
   TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
   BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION
   HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
   MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE."
























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