xtraceroute - graphical (X11) traceroute
xtraceroute [options] [hostname]
This manual page briefly documents the xtraceroute, command. This manual page was origi-
nally 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
xtraceroute is a graphical version of the traceroute program, which traces the route your
IP packets travel to their destination.
On the display:
* Green dots have good location information that came from LOC fields in the DNS, which is
the best data out there.
* Orange ones has been guessed from the sites' suffix.
* Yellow ones got resolved via a database of city names and "known" routers. That data is
old and inaccurate and it's not getting any younger.
* Red ones are completely unknown.
* You can select dots by clicking on them both on the globe and in the list.
* Pressing and holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse will rotate the globe.
Using the middle mouse button will move it, and the right mouse button will zoom it (only
vertical movement counts). You can generally get the view you want this way.
hostname is the name (or IP address) of the host you are interested in.
The program follow the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two
Show version number
Display a brief help text.
-T, --texture texture-name
Use a custom texture (map). It can be any kind of file that gdk_pixbuf can load
(which is most reasonable formats). There are a few really good textures on
http://www.radcyberzine.com/xglobe/ (Meant for use with Xglobe, but they'll work
fine here as well.)
Set the level-of-detail for the sphere. (The default is 3, 0-4 are realistic val-
Makes the program read data from stdin instead of calling traceroute(8) (Mainly
useful for debugging)
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.
Default texture for the earth.
System-wide hosts file (optional)
System-wide networks file (optional)
The two files above are filled in by hand, following the model of /usr/lib/xtraceroute
Your personal hosts file
Your personal networks file
Your personal base of regular expressions
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 individ-
ual LOC entries for all machines, you can try getting them to add one or two for the whole
More information on xtraceroute is in /usr/doc/xtraceroute.
This manual page was written by Stephane Bortzmeyer <email@example.com>, for the
Debian GNU/Linux system (but may be used by others). Xtraceroute was written by Bjorn
Please send bug reports to Bjorn Augustsson <firstname.lastname@example.org>.