I've been going through the 4th Edition (2001, yes, very old) of the O'Reilly "DNS and Bind" book, and it keeps talking about
nslookup, which seems to be relatively hard to get one's hands on in this decade.
In particular, they keep mentioning
nslookup -ls as a way to "pull a copy of a zone." Microsoft's docs also say:
Lists information for a Domain Name System (DNS) domain.
All of my references ("DNS and Bind", Microsoft, random web pages) seem to be very coy about how
nslookup -ls actually works. (And it's not implemented in the version of
nslookup on my MacBook.) They also don't say anything suggestive about troubleshooting, like, "If
nslookup -ls is showing no results, check to make sure your name server is configured to respond to unauthorized
Still, my educated guess is that
nslookup -ls just sends a raw
AXFR query to the remote nameserver, which will initiate a zone transfer if and only if the remote nameserver is dumb enough to respond to unsolicited, unauthorized
AXFRs originating from random machines on the Internet. And then as servers started getting wiser,
nslookup -ls stopped working, and then eventually that useless code got ripped out of distributions. This hypothesis seems to match up with the evidence pretty well.
But I'd really like to get an authoritative answer on the subject. Does
nslookup -ls actually use