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nettime: dns is a distributed database
MediaFilter on Mon, 17 Feb 97 11:38 MET


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nettime: dns is a distributed database


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One of our readers is confused by references to
"dynamically updated dns".

In his preconception, he misinterprets this to mean
that an entirely new database must be implemented.
This is where he is mislead by his own preconceptions.

DNS IS A DISTRIBUTED DATABASE.  a rather simplistic one,
at that.

The application in development by name.space is a sort of
"helper" that works with all the existing dns software
and employs all standardized protocols--nothing fancy or
exotic, as some people envision our solution to be.
We can forgive them, knowing that it's impossible for them
to know the details of our undisclosed information.
New things come about all the time from private development.

In fact the simplicity of the solution is its beauty.
It can be implemented rather easily over all existing
dns systems.  Only name registries need to be concerned
with it, not service providers or users--ONLY the Registries.

Any registry who is interested in participating in an open,
shared toplevel namespace is invited to engage in its imple-
mentation and development.

The nonsense about renaming protocols different names or
running someone's roots every other day is nothing but
noise emerging from ignorance on the subject and a lack
of information about the developments that name.space
has been engaged in.

The perception that something must appear in a newsgroup
or mailing list to exist or be true is an indication of
"cybernarcosis" similar to the "rapture of the deep" or
nitrogen narcosis that underwater divers experience from
diving too deep for too long.  Log out for a while and
take a walk outside.  There are other events and information
which exist elsewhere which are not discussed on line.

I have read very little of the dns-related mailing lists
because I had a hard time to find any substance above all the
noise.  People claiming to "own the earth" and other nonsense
like that.  Many people may have been talking about doing things
on these mailing lists, in their leisure time, as a hobby, whatever,
but actions DO speak louder than words.  It was the decision of
members of name.space to proceed with our ideas for development
and actually implement them.

As a result, name.space was the first to deploy a totally
automated name registration/record creation/accounting system.
The open model for public toplevel names has gained a remarkable
acceptance from our users.  In fact, the messages of thanks and
encouragement are in the majority.  Just read some of the comments
on the open forum on the name.space website.  The recent flames
are the voices of a very small but vocal MINORITY.  Don't be fooled
by them.

If you want to hear the news about name.space, listen to the source.
Right here.  All else is interpretation, rumor or misinformation.

For example, current legal situation:

One individual related to the alternic group, who claims to
"own" the word "web" as a toplevel domain is suing IAHC, IANA,
and a host of others for "infringing" on his property.  I havn't
read the legal grounds for his argument, having not been served
papers for carrying "web" (name.space, in accordance with its
dispute policy has temporarily suspended serving "web" until
a decision is made in the lawsuits between iodesign and IAHC, et. al).

In one argument, a nettime reader posted:


>       There are now a number of organizations engaged in distributing
>"TLD"s (top-level domains): I turned up agn.net, Root64.net, MCS.net, and
>vrx.net in a few minutes of searching. And, of course, there's alternic. As
>Rop and many other's criticisms have implied, the failure of these various
>upstarts to cooperate could produce a very useless chaos; but their
>cooperation will only reproduce the problem of the NIC's hegemony.

The fact is, all of the above mentioned "tld registries" are of the
same group:  Alternic.  They are technically separate companies, but
all are alternic "affiliates" each claiming to "own" their respective
toplevel names, thus the imprudent and misdirected case of "web vs IAHC".

(to demonstrate this, go to a unix shell and issue the following
command:

dig  {AT} agn.net. . any

- --Try this for all of the above mentioned addresses and you will see
- --that they all point to the alernic rootservers!)

This is not where the battle lines should be drawn, if they are to
be drawn intelligently, imho.

In fact this points out the fundamental difference between name.space
policy on toplevel namespace and alternic and their affiliates' policy.

Name.space seeks to keep all generic names (see the name.space website,
http://namespace.autono.net) public, to be shared by all registries
equally (I will elaborate more about this in a piece on the
privatization of the public domain, to be released soon).

The name.space model does away with ANY hegemony of one registry
over another.  Just think of DNS registries like travel agencies:
No one travel agancy has the right over any other travel agancy to
book a seat on any airline (unless, of course they buy the whole
flight!).  No two can book the same seat.  Just extrapolate that
to dns registration, and you have the answer.

The dns root-updater that name.space is developing will enable this.
And it's not such a big deal.  It is a totally sound and feasable
concept and solution that can be implemented using existing software.
It will probably be easier to implement that upgrading to Win95!
People make dns seem so arcane and complex.
This is a fallacy.  It's a smokescreen to baffle and confuse.
Don't be fooled by jargon and doublespeak.

The problem of cooperation will be resolved if other registries
want to function.  They don't have to do dynamic updates, but
it is then their responsibility to keep their databases up to date
by whatever other means.  This would be silly.

The direction that the "newdom" movement is moving in is a losing
one.  They for the most part seem to represent a group of speculators
who want to sell a "product", a name that they "own" as PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Already, if you do a dig to the nameserver which holds the alternic
version of "web" you will see a list of over 2000 obvious choices of
combinations of "anything.web".  I would be curious how many of these
are resolving to a web page, or even have "legitimate" clients behind them.

(go to a unix shell and issue the following command:

dig  {AT} NS.IODESIGN.COM. web. axfr

turn on capture to file first, and be prepared for a big load!)


Name.space, on the other hand, is operating to provide a SERVICE, which
uses a SHARED, PUBLIC NAMESPACE.  There are no claims to ownership
whatsoever of any of the toplevel names, and name.space believes
that those generic words should always REMAIN PUBLIC.

I stand behind this without fail.  I do not have to prove my
integrity to anyone.  My actions and my history speaks for itself.

Any attempts at discrediting me or defaming my character are coming
from people who have never known me personally or in any substantive
way.  Those who know me personally know that I am sincere, and not
some "profiteer" or "opportunist" and that this is not a self-serving
effort whatsoever.  I my previous post "say you want a revolution..."
I stated my position clearly and unequivocably.  You can't get any
closer to the source than that.

- --Paul Garrin
  mf {AT} mediafilter.org


don't abandon hope or succumb to cynicism....
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