what problem are we solving? (was Re: ICANN opens up Pandora's

Joe Greco jgreco at ns.sol.net
Tue Jul 1 01:40:15 UTC 2008

> On Sat, Jun 28, 2008 at 08:46:33AM -0500, Joe Greco wrote:
> > Yes.  It completely marginalizes the remaining positive qualities of the
> > Domain Name System as a way to find things, in the name of giving people
> > "more options."
> The Domain Name System is not now, and never has been, away to *find*
> things, anymore than 123 Elm St, Worcester MA is a way to *find* a
> house.
> It's a way to *denote* things, uniquely.
> You *find* an address by looking in a map directory, and then on the
> map.  You find things on the Internet using a search engine, and the
> second-order derivatives.

It seems clear that the authors of 1480 did not agree with this.  This may
have been because there were no "search engines", as we know them today, at
that time.

> > Let me start by saying that I believe that the trends in the DNS have been
> > going the wrong way for well over a decade.  The insistence on the part of
> > many that the namespace be flattened is just a poor choice.  People are now
> > used to trying "<foo>.com" to reach a company.  In some cases, this makes
> > fair sense; I can see why "ibm.com" or "seagate.com" are that way, even
> > though in some cases there are namespace collisions with other trademarks.
> "Famous trademarks".
> > In others, it's ridiculous - why the heck do I get someplace in California
> > when I go to "martyspizza.com", rather than our local very excellent pizza
> > place?  (sadly this example is less effective now, they managed to get
> > "martyspizza.net" a few years back).
> Sure.  Local collisions are inevitable.  Blocker Transfer, a local
> moving company client of mine, wanted to register a domain back in
> 1997... when the company was 99 years old.  blocker.com was taken.
> They took blocker100.com, and promoted it.

That doesn't seem to be a "local collision," except insofar as the Internet
can be collectively considered "local."  In any case, company's solution is
only useful if you already know the domain name (or have a way to find it).

> > We never had any business allowing small, local businesses to register in
> > .com, or non-networking companies to register in .net, or non-organizations
> > in .org...  but a whole generation of Internet "professionals" "knew better"
> > and the end result at the end of the road is that DNS will end up being
> > almost as useless as IPv4 numbers for identifying the more obscure bits of
> > the Internet.
> Correct; this is exactly the problem.  But a lot of it stems, Joe, from
> the misconception you led with.

Not a misconception.  Simply a different view of how the system could have
evolved, had it followed the lead of RFC1480, instead of having everyone
and their brother load on in to .com...

It could be said that search engines doomed any hope of trying to make the
DNS sensible.

> > It would have been much better for us to fix some of the obvious problems
> > with DNS back in the day.  Instead, we didn't bother, and instead allowed
> > "market forces" to dictate what happened next.  This of course got buyers
> > whatever they wanted (which was generally "short names!"), but what buyers
> > wanted didn't necessarily map well into what would have made sense for 
> > /users/ of the system, which would have been "predictability of names."
> See all the debates about area code overlays vs splits, and the
> extension of US telephone Directory Numbers to 12 digits.

Sure.  I'm familiar.

> > We are now reaping the evolution of that into even further mayhem.
> Yep.
> > I look forward to many more years of having to remember that Marty's
> > Pizza is "martyspizza.net" instead of "martyspizza.brookfield.wi.us", 
> > that Milwaukee's Department of Public Works is at "mpw.net" instead of
> > "dpw.ci.milwaukee.wi.us", etc.
> I am, in turn, very pleased with a lot of my local municipalities.
> Some of them, admittedly, *have* silly pinellascounty.org or
> pinellas-park.com names, but they also answer to the long-form .fl.us
> names you would prefer.  Sometimes they redirect one way, sometimes the
> other; sometimes each domain merely overlays the other.

That's fine, I have been wishing for DNAME support for years.  Locally, in
the pre-1480 days, we were "mil.wi.us", then became "milwaukee.wi.us", but
only through the magic of duplicating everything between the zones, and in
the more recent "delegate elsewhere" model, that means that some registrants
invariably only configure one or the other, so "foo.mil.wi.us" works while
"foo.milwaukee.wi.us" doesn't...

> But at least they are, as you say, deterministic.
> I don't think it's fixable anymore, either.  But I remain determined to
> spit into the wind, Jim notwithstanding.


... JG
Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.

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