At the beginning of December 2023, we released a new version of FRED, the domain management system we developed for the operation of the Czech national domain, .CZ. and serving the same purpose in ten other countries. It is used to manage the domains of Argentina (.AR), Bosnia and Herzegovina (.BA), Costa Rica (.CR), Albania (.AL), North Macedonia (.MK), Tanzania (.TZ), Angola (.IT.AO and .CO.AO), Malawi (.MW), Lesotho (.LS) and Macau (.MO). The new version of FRED is pieced together from a multitude of incremental changes developed over the last 12+ months, which, with a few exceptions, we have continuously deployed into production in our country. A number of the modifications were interdependent in a significant way, so it was not possible to publish minor updates of the system because it would have been difficult for foreign registries to switch to them. FRED 2.48 is recommended as the version to upgrade to.
Since its first release, FRED has come a long way and has changed significantly. From a relatively small original project, over time it has grown to include modules related to the registry and the time has come for it to get a more significant reconstruction. There have also been shifts in the way the interface is designed, in the project management, as well as technological changes. The original method with a distinctive interface for each client gave way to more general and smaller interfaces, which each client can combine according to their needs. Similarly, we are moving towards modular source code architecture and last but not least, we are replacing Corba technology with gRPC. Another significant disadvantage for the large system is the narrow and poorly defined interdependence of individual parts, which slows down its response to new queries.
Last November I had the privilege to visit NIC Costa Rica, our counterpart in that small Central American country. There is a much smaller team working in the local NIC, which takes care of about 28,000 domains for the administration of which our FRED system has been used since 2011.
On the 15th of November, following the prior maintenance notification, our system administrators have successfully installed a new version of FRED, the system that is the basis of the .cz domain name registry (as well as national domain name registries in a dozen of other countries). What does that actually mean though?
Last year, our open source FRED registration system experienced a success in Togo, Argentina and Malawi. In particular, Argentina, as the eighth largest country of the world, made us very happy. Argentina is now the largest domain register that uses FRED apart from us. Since we have information from countries that have been testing our system for a long time, we were quite surprised to hear from Macau at the beginning of this year that they managed to complete the installation and transition and are planning to run production soon. The .MO domain registry is the first Asian destination of our product. Shortly thereafter, we learned of another registry in Africa that managed the transition to FRED. It is a small land of Lesotho using the .LS domain. Let’s look at these new additions to the FRED user community in more detail.