..... Jon Postel died.
I remember quite well that day. Some other subscirbers of this list were
also in a meeting in Barcelona, precisely the first DNSO formation meeting.
OK, a date as arbitrary as any other. But how have we all performed in
the tasks we brought to the organization (priorities might vary, and
indeed, some people here and elsewhere have as their only priority
preventing anytihng from being done by DNSO/GNSO/ICANN.... but that's a
INHO, we have peroformed a less than stellar job. I would even say a
quite poor job. Is the DNS a better place for its users than five years
For one thing, ICANN's primary goal was as an answer to the question
"who has policy control over the root"? It could be USGov alone, it
could be an intergovernmental treaty organization, ITU or new one, but
ICANN was the anser in terms of a "international non-for-profit entity
based on open participation of the private sector".
Hell, we have not even STARTTED the discussion about this. Not only the
USGov stills retains the policy control, but not even the management of
the root is coordinated in the way it was supposed to. VeriSign, old
good NSI, still runs the A-server, if you jsut want a symbol. Nothing
has been achieved in terms of "insitutionalization" of the root server
opeartors agreemnts. OK, it works, sure. And perhaps nothing needed to
be done from a management point of view, i accept it. But as a
programatic point, is a clear failure for this process. And the policy
control issue is simply our deepest and most worrisome failure. ICANN as
an alibi for USGov direct control? An expensive one, hell, we don't need
all these travels around the world jsut to provide an illusion of
The internationalization of the process itself has also been, well,
mixed. For years, ICANN's real cultural diversity, as for who really
counted, ranged from Harvard to UCLA, more or less ;-)) It's becomeing a
little more balanced, not that much. At least in numbers. B ut the
mentality is still quite "Washington DC-centric". A fact of life? Yup,
but we all were supposed to help there, once again...
Are the TLDs managed in a way the better reprewsents the public interest
(in its largest sense)?. Once again, I wouldn't bet much money on this
one. The USGov forced a ridiculous agreement with NSI (by not using its
powr and prerrogatives in leaning towards a more balanced one). The
model,allowing for-profit, shareholder run registries to treat TLDs (a
common resource) as their private asset is not oly still present, but
has been extended to the new registries, which is makes it worse.
Another model failure. SiteFinder is its logical child...
Do we have more competition?. Well we have more diversity. To start
with, we do have more regbistry operators. But do they really compete? A
long debats, the short anser being "no, or not a to a large extent,
becasue they cannot". But increaed divversity and "power diveristy", yes.
We then have the reigstrars, sure. But is this a healthy competitive
market? A debate for another day, too long. It is certainly more
competition, saying the contrary would be ridiculous, but this does not
mean htat we have established a solidly competittive system. Registrars
are very weak element in a reinforced registry.centric model (WLS;
SiteFinder, .anme email forwarding...). More importantly, form the users
point of view, which is the most important one, competition is still
difficult to achieve. The paramount conept was and is domain name
protability.... and we have miserably failed to impose on registrars a
system that really guarantees such portability. It's really difficult to
do, even at the end of 2003. And this one a very sinmple one, from day
one. Shame on us.
Do we have m more diversified DNS? Do we have astable, comprehensive,
understandable system for addition of new TLDs, or for not adding them?
Yu, we do have seven more TLDs (or it is yet six, as of today?). Perhaps
you haven't noticed them all, but theyr are there, just pay more
atterntion... But, FIVE YEARS LATER not only we lack a hint of an idea
of how to do it. We lack the debate, the intellectual process for doing
so. In this regard (and not only in this regard) the old gTLD-MoU
process was years ahead. Or the Newdom-lists days. At least there was
debate, and there was a discussion of the proncs and cons of alternative
methods. Today, silence.... Just discussion of whether we should have an
RFC for sponsored TLDs open to all applicatns or limited to those who
fialed in November 2000. I stop here, before I sasy somehting I would
reret tomorrow ,-)
Is the DNS simpler, more stable, more user-friendly? Think about the
non-geek, the non-ICANN-proficient user. Do you know a single person who
could tell sunrise from IP claims? Anyone, outside the inner circle of
domain name or IP orofessionals who got a clue about defensive
registrations? about successive landrushes? The eperts build a sytem for
experts-only. Not good ;-)))
Oh, and no, I won't comment on SiteFinder anymore, promised ;-)
Have we improved the DNS traditional services in order to accomodate
some recurrent requests, for isntance, about privacy? Oh, yes, we had
several WhoIs WGs and TFs and papers and.... ntohing yet, so many years
later. We are not too fast, no we won't break any traffic speed limit!!!
Are we efficient preventing "bad things" to happen? I promised Iwould
not mention again certain service, so.... Think about so-called
internationalised domain names. We all want a system that accepts our
and everygbodys non-US-ASCII characters, sure. But are we allsure that
once introduced, the way it's being introduced, we will still have a
syustem that can claim addresses are unique and universally resolvable?
I am not sure, quite the contrary.
Not to speak about what will happen with the hundreds of thousands of
names that were pre-registered into the so-called VeriSign "testbed".
Will we allow them to be "grandfathered" into the zone without any sort
of general, open surise or whatever other process for the introdcution
of what is more sensible than a new TLD? The end of "first come, fisrt
served"? Cusmoters of some companies having prior and bettrer rights
than the genral public that decided that, according to what ICANN was
saying, no IDNs exited yet? And without any debate? No good, no godd...
Oh, but we do have the structure tht will allow solving/improving all
this and many other things over time. Yes. But in the meeting I
mentioned, five years ago, the ccTLDs were there. Now they are sort of
builidng their own apartment in the condominium. The RIRs, sort of. The
root server oeprators, they are doing fine, thanks. Yes, we do have the
structure, and we LOVE fighting over it, is the thing taht took most
energy over all these years. But by the end of 2003 it still looks
incomplete, and could look more stable, frankly.
Don't misunderstnad me: this is still my procesws. This is still the
better option I see to at least try some of those things (or the
contrary of those things, if you want). No WSIS-sposnored alternative
could come close to it, in my view. Disbanding ICANN, or the GNSO, or
whatever not only would not help making things any better, it would make
them a lot worse, for sure.
But all this time, this energy, this efforts.... and only these results?
We all have done a less than stellar job, I've already say it. Let's
OK, I leave it here. I have a GNSO Council telconf, now ;-)))
Have a good night. And make your own evaluation.