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

Jay R. Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Mon Jun 30 21:22:16 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

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.

> 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.

> 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.

> 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.

> We are now reaping the evolution of that into even further mayhem.


> 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.

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.

-- jra

Jay R. Ashworth                   Baylink                      jra at baylink.com
Designer                     The Things I Think                       RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates     http://baylink.pitas.com                     '87 e24
St Petersburg FL USA      http://photo.imageinc.us             +1 727 647 1274

	     Those who cast the vote decide nothing.
	     Those who count the vote decide everything.
	       -- (Joseph Stalin)

More information about the NANOG mailing list