Re: Update of RFC 2606 based on the recent ICANN changes ?

Keith Moore <> Tue, 08 July 2008 21:11 UTC

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Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2008 17:11:35 -0400
From: Keith Moore <>
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To: Ted Faber <faber@ISI.EDU>
Subject: Re: Update of RFC 2606 based on the recent ICANN changes ?
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Cc: Mark Andrews <>, Theodore Tso <tytso@MIT.EDU>,
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Ted Faber wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 02:17:57PM -0400, Keith Moore wrote:

>> The notion of a single-label fully-qualified DNS name being "valid" is 
>> an odd one.   DNS, as far as I can tell, was always intended to be 
>> federated, both in assignment and lookup.  The notion of having terminal 
>> (basically, non NS) records at the root seems contraindicated by several 
>> of the DNS design goals.
> But there are no such non-NS records at the root.  The A record for the
> host hk is on the .hk servers, not the root servers.

I should have been clearer.  I meant the root of the name space, not the 
root zone.

>> And given the recent interest in vanity TLDs and ICANN's apparent lack 
>> of willingness to run the DNS for the benefit of all, maybe it's time 
>> for IETF to remind people that single label TLDs are not actually 
>> supposed to work.
> There are plenty of reasons to argue against using TLDs as hostnames,
> but I don't think consistency with the federation/delegation model is
> one.

I disagree.  I think this puts more pressure on the root.  It gives them 
a much larger, and more varied set of "customers" to deal with, when the 
root (i.e. ICANN) already has a fair amount of difficulty dealing with 
the ones it has.

There's a fairly basic (if implicit) assumption of DNS (and hierarchical 
names in general) that each delegation level has some shared interest 
with the one above it.  This shared interest helps to minimize conflicts 
and (more importantly) to keep those conflicts from affecting the rest 
of the net.

However, the assumption of shared interest breaks down at the root. 
This has traditionally been dealt with by imposing constraints on the 
root for all parties.  E.g.

(a) keep the root minimal and make changes only with great care,
(b) create TLDs that group together like interests and make it obvious 
where in the root a particular organization belongs (.COM, vs .ORG, vs .EDU)
(c) after .COM was captured (with various ill effects) - provide a small 
number of alternative TLDs (and with multiple, competing registrars) so 
that owner of a single TLD cannot impose a barrier to acquiring a domain.

Flattening the root (which is essentially what is being proposed) has 
the consequence that conflicts are more likely to affect parties not 
involved in the conflict.

And vanity TLDs are going to be much more attractive if people think 
they can get single-label host names out of them.


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