07-20-97 Electronic Filings on Internet Domain Names

Number: 125
From:      "Randy Huggins" randy@hdsi.com>
To:        NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date:      7/20/97 12:54pm
Subject:   Commerce's Request for Internet Domain Name comments

Below please find my response to the Department of Commerce's request for
comments on Internet Domain Names.  In addition to addressing Commerce, I
have also CC'd this message to my state Senators and Representative, as
well as the author of the original MSNBC article.

The DNS software system is inherently hierarchical, and therefore lends
itself to distributed control and almost limitless scaleability.  The DNS
software isn't the problem; the problem is that we haven't structured the
domains to parallel any real-world control system hierarchy. We're still
struggling with a naming scheme which only made sense for the United States
based "Arpanet" of twenty years ago.

The first part of the solution seems obvious to me: The United Nations
needs to take over control of the top-level (and only the top-level) domain
names, and base them on country abbreviations.  Its the ONLY thing that
makes any sense.  ".COM", ".EDU", ".GOV", and the like at the top-level
must go away.  There is no central control authority on a global basis to
parallel such a naming structure, contrary to what the IAHC might believe.

Until the UN (or IAHC) takes over the DNS server computers which resolve
top-level names, I contend that market forces will provide an interim
solution.  Nothing in DNS says there has to be an InterNIC, only that there
has to be a way to resolve the top-level domain names.  Let market forces
decide if the Network Solutions company continues to have any customer base
for serving ".COM", ".EDU", etc. names after its National Science
Foundation contract expires.

Even without the UN control authority in-place, the United States has to
move toward a system which puts our names under the ".us" top-level domain
name which already exists.  The few thousand huge, multinational companies,
with their household names like "IBM.COM" loose, but I contend there is no
miracle nor acceptable compromise which will solve this problem, and it
can't be allowed to impede progress toward something that can be made to
work.  Market forces may again prevail and fill the transition void here,
as some enterprise like Network Solutions may continue to serve ".COM"
names (assuming there isn't a country named ".COM" by the UN).

In terms of the present debate, the US government must fund or let a
contract for somebody to administer our top-level (".US") domain name
server computers.  Fortunately, in this design, this administration doesn't
include much in the way of processing new requests for domain names, since
a federal control authority will already have dictated what they are.  The
work done by the contracted service organization is primarly the "care and
feeding" of the DNS server computers for the ".us" domain and their
connected networking paraphenalia.

In the architecture described herein, there are at least two naming schemes
for the second tier which might make sense.  The first would be based on
state/commonwealth with a ".fed" thrown in for completeness.  The second
would be at least partial preservation of the ".COM", ".EDU", ".MIL"
hierarchy we have now, only underneath a ".US" top level domain.

I'm partial to the state-based second-tier myself.  Companies and
educational institutions are chartered by the states, and it seems obvious
that the states should be the control authority for their own third-level
domain names  (e.g. IBM.NY.US or NYU.NY.US).  A given state may or may not
want some part of the "COM", "EDU" hierarchy within its own state (e.g.
IBM.COM.NY.US or NYU.EDU.NY.US), and control the entities through their own
departments of Commerce and Education, for example. The point being that
this approach has a state-based control authority which parallels the
second-tier domain names.  In this approach, each state would fund or
contract out the work of administering its own domain and running the
associated DNS computers.

The competing idea within my architectural concept is that we preserve some
of the current commercial, educational, and government naming concepts in
the second tier, but force a correspondence between each second-tier name
and a government control authority.  It makes some sense to allocate ".COM"
to the Department of Commerce, ".EDU" to the Department of Education, and
".MIL" to the Department of Defense, giving us names like "IBM.COM.US",
"MIT.EDU.US", and "AF.MIL.US".  Others might proliferate, but it doesn't
matter as long at there is a parallel control authority.  The states might
be their own second level domains (e.g. "NY.US") or might be allocated
third-tier stature under ".GOV.US" (e.g. "NY.GOV.US"), administered by the
Department of the Interior.  Here, each government agency control authority
would fund or contract out the work of administering its own domain and
running its associated DNS computers.

The political strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches will be more
apparent to others than to the author.  On more pragmatic grounds, a
state-based approach is the only one that really makes any sense.  In
addition to adhering to the management precept of delegating as much
responsibility as possible, the state-based approach puts the control and
administration of corporate and educational institution DNS names where
those entities are chartered.  Further, on purely technical grounds, the
state-based approach will be a better performance choice by reducing the
bottleneck that a centralized ".COM.US" domain scheme would perpetuate.

Conclusion:  The domain naming scheme which was good for the tiny
"Internet" of twenty years ago must be abandoned.  The foundational
architectural design of DNS scales quite nicely to global proportions, but
the tiers of domain names must be re-designed to parallel world-wide
hierarchical control authorities.

Randy Huggins
VP Engineering, HDSi
Tel: 1.610.692.4109

CC:        NTIADC40.SMTP40("senator_specter@specter.senate.go...

Number: 126
From:      "Kevin Kelly" natsuo@hotmail.com>
To:        NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date:      7/20/97 4:49pm
Subject:   Domain Names and the Company with the Monopoly

I think the fact that Network Services Inc. is monopolizing domain name 
services is wrong. They are providing a service. It isn't their decision 
who we as the global community pick to provide that service, whether it 
be one company or several.

--Kevin Kelly

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

Number: 127
From:      "Steve Janss" Jansys@msn.com>
To:        NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date:      7/20/97 6:48pm
Subject:   Domain Names

1.  Maintain support for the current top-level domain names (.com, .edu, 
etc.).  The current economic viability of the Internet Market relies heavily 
on consistancy in this arena.  Changing these top-level domains will 
significantly, and unnecessarily wound the Internet Market.

2.  Add additional top-level domain names to ease crowding and domain-name 

3.  Increase the number of TCP/IP addresses from four three-digit numbers to 
six three-digit numbers.  Make it backwards-compatible by adding the 
additional six digits to the end.  In other words, would become  Why increase the numbers by a million?  Why not?  Why 
back everyone into the corner of having to do it again in another twenty 
years?  Think ahead!  It's going to be expensive enough as it is...

Steve Janss, Jansys Information Systems