[discuss] Real world Impact of multiple roots

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Tue Jan 28 21:23:48 UTC 2014


On 28-Jan-14 14:46, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> On 29/01/2014 05:01, Avri Doria wrote:
> ...
>> As long as name authorities can be isolated so as to make references globally unique,
> Can you explain what that means? As far as I can see, if three naming
> authorities are isolated from each other, and all three choose to
> create a naming domain called (to take a ridiculous example that surely
> nobody would think useful) "xxx", references are no longer guaranteed
> to be globally unique. So in fact, the three naming authorities cannot
> be isolated; they will need to be locked in a room together, and the
> door can only be opened when they have reached an agreement or two of
> them are dead

Currently names are not really just domain.name, but are rather a tuple 
of schema, authority and domain.name etc.

it is just that the authority is permanently defaulted to ICANN's scheme 
these days with no real allowance for evolution of new schema and 
authorities - something that is the hallmark of the Internet Architecture.

Yes, lazy software would need to be updated to deal with the schema and 
authority and that would be a lot of work.  But not undoable.  And of 
course ICANN would remain the gold standard and default for a long time 
to come, but at least a multiplicity could be accommodated and we could 
move on from this particular global policy black hole we have been 
circling for decades.

> I suppose this is what MM would call a "bargain among autonomous actors".
> The point is that, rhetoric removed, that locked room is the new root.
> Or if the dispute ends up in court, the judge is the new root.
> It's hard to see how either is particularly better than ICANN.

I agree in some sense, even if the Internet were enabled to support 
multiple schema and authorities, this is what some have called a 
coordinated set of roots into a single greater root. But it s more than 
just a bargain, it is something that is controlled by standards, and policy.

The issue, is ICANN the only one that can serve as an authority.  And 
are we forever trapped in the current schema?

I tend to think the next step is to recognize that IANA is the 
coordinator of multiple schema, and authorities and roots, and see what 
we can do with that.

> The alternative - which I took to be the point of this thread -
> is three domains all called "xxx", confused users, and very great
> expense for technical measures to get around the ambiguity.

Authority = ICANN    name = porn.lust.xxx
Authority = TMI      name = vindiesel.lust.xxx

I believe that the URI syntax even allows for this behavior, so it is 
the API and the other SW that needs to support it.

Yes, it would be work, and someone would have to do it in FOSS systems 
and in plugins before the major vendors took up the chllange. And yes it 
adds to complexity.  But it is also an avenue for innovation and the 
creation of new names spaces in a single Internet.

Personally I think it is a better alternative than planting our feet and 
saying no, too hard.

But I never convinced anyone yet, so I am quite possibly wrong; I am 
certainly not the expert many others are on this particular corner of 
tech.  I just don't see why it could not be done with the will and money 
to do so.  I know that despite the fact that DNS is broken in that it 
can't support different authorities with the same names (though it seems 
to have been designed with the intent of doing so) does not mean that 
there is no other solution to be found.


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