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ICANN, TLDs, and directory services.
I'm no big fan of Brock Meeks - he strikes me as being rather immature and naive much of the time. Still, his piece on the ICANN TLD meeting (see http://www.msnbc.com/news/493721.asp?0nm=-11P ) is certainly enough to make those of us who've been around for a while want to weep and gnash our teeth. The first taste of this sort of nonsense was, in my opinion, the CLNP fiasco of a few years ago. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed, but the blatant power-play that certain parties made at the Tokyo (it -was- Tokyo, wasn't it?) IETF meeting seems in hindsight to've been a foreshadowing of the bureaucratic diktat under which we now seem to be operating. ARIN's ill-informed (hadn't anyone there heard of SSL?) policy announcement regarding virtual hosting IPs was yet another - hopefully, this will go the way of the dodo after the public thrashing they've been subject to in this and other forums as a result of said stupidity. Still, the root problem (pardon the pun) of the namespace and how it should be managed is a pressing issue, and one which hasn't been resolved to anyone's satisfaction, not even ICANN's. IPv6 will, I think, begin to seep into mainstream usage as a matter of necessity. It's taking longer than it should, but security concerns alone (i.e., the fact that, as far as I can tell, spoofing addresses under IPv6 seems to be a pretty difficult, if not impossible task) will probably help give it some momentum. I wonder how long it will be until the 'research only' caveat will be eliminated by the registrars? The namespace is the big enchilada, though. There's been talk since at least 1993 of either a) switching to a directory service as the naming system for the Internet, or b) converting DNS itself into a true directory service by simply adding more and more directory-like features. X.500 was what most people saw as being the logical choice; its cumbersome design and the fact that it took so long to get the standard itself up to snuff made that choice stillborn during the 1990s. Now that we're starting to see, in very blatant terms, what technical/policy/regulatory issues arise with the current naming structure, I wonder if taking a serious look at directories as an ultimate DNS replacement might be more than just a quixotic thought-exercise? Structured properly, probably along national lines, the TLD/top-OU issue would go away, leaving people free to structure their namespaces as they choose. Object types and properties would certainly be a more elegant way of identifying various content-types rather than merely relying upon URL prefixes plus file extensions and their (assumed) proper mapping to MIME-types on the millions of client machines around the world. There are standards issues which must certainly be addressed before such a change could be contemplated; even so, I'm beginning to wonder whether or not it might be time to revisit the naming issue, with a specific focus on directory services? ----------------------------------------------------------- Roland Dobbins <[email protected]> // 818.535.5024 voice