ICANN is not the only one with ideas about alternate roots. Simon Higgs has just published two IETF Internet Drafts, one on Alternative Roots and the Virtual Inclusive Root, and another on Root Server Definitions. These lay out a vision of the Internet in which ICANN's centralized control over the authoritative root is essentially destroyed. An internet-draft of this type is only a proposal, and doesn't imply adoption by the IETF. Rather, it is an invitation to start a process of consensus standard-formation.
And, in a happy coincidence, New.net today issued its Proposal to Introduce Market-Based Principles into Domain Name Governance, fresh on the heels of ICANN's own attempt to short-circuit the growing debate on whether ICANN's current alternate root policy, one of malign neglect, needs revisting or amendment. New.net also issued a press release.
While there is much to debate in these proposals, it seems clear that one should be able to find a means to have a DNS policy that is not so constrained by our current single point of failure (begins with an "I").
One difficult issue, however, that I think will need to be faced eventually, at least if we are to achieve anything close to true consensus, is how to balance the competing claims of people who have built functioning alternate roots and see themselves as pioneers, as against those who chose to play by ICANN's rules, had their claims rejected (perhaps through no fault of their own), and see the 'pioneers' as claim jumpers and profiteers. I have some sympathy for both views, which makes figuring out a fair and just solution particularly hard.
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