Interestingly, Sclavos does the FUD-furthering Chicken Little thing - "We sure as hell don't need the digital equivalent of 9/11 to convince us we need to have a better digital infrastructure." So we can add him to our list of Internet fear-mongerers."
The net isn't going down even if all the USG root servers disappear. There are plenty of root servers out there with public DNS servers that anyone can use. There are also untold numbers of caching servers that will continue to function regardless of whether the 13 servers in USG root server system are functioning.
That is not my fear. I am more afraid of the types of "innoovations" contemplated by Verisign and those of the same ilk. Tampering with the core protocols that the net relies upon is a road map for instability. That's the issue, not whether the root itself is unstable. It really isn't. The management may be unstable if it allows the core to be tampered with.
I can see VGRS taking control of the root and using wildcards for all TLDs, redirecting errors to their own servers or ICANN's. Talk about screwing up the entire world; that would do it nicely.
VGRS inherited a contract to operate a registry as a public trust. That contract did not suggest that the operator could change the rules by which it is governed. It is not supposed to alter the way the DNS works and it rakes in $6 per registration or renewal. NSI was allowed to charge for registrations because they needed to recover costs. This is how the registry should be run, with a small profit margin to boot. VGRS now considers .com to be their own and further thinks they can make any changes they wish regardless of what - in their own words - "minor inconveniences" they may cause to others. They want to raise their bottom line and don't give a darn who it hurts. The cash cow they thought they had is no longer so robust, but they are stuck with it.
Well, that's horse puckey. Dot-com is not the property of VGRS and never was. It was simply a contract to operate it. It is still "owned" by the USG and I hope it remains so. It is now very apparent that VGRS has no interest in the public, but just its bottom line. That's fine for the registrar, but not this registry. Mess with the registry for the largest domain in the world and you mess with all of us who rely upon it to operate the way it always has.
It's time to find a new operator and show VGRS that it cannot take what does not belong to them and cannot abuse the trust that went with the contract. It is not there for VGRS to abuse it - or us.
As for new registries, for profit or not, none of them should be using wildcards, but if they do from the outset, people at least know what they are buying into and DNS operators can block errnoenous errors based on standards. That's a choice to be made at the edges, not the core. If a registry chooses to use non-standard methods, they need to be prepared to not be accepted.
ICANN should have known better than to accept registries that use wildcards rather than delegation. Instead they opted to allow their contracted registries to circumvent known practices and standards. What did it achieve? Chaos.