Re: [mif] bare names (was: [dnsext] 2nd Last Call for MIF DNS server selection document)

Andrew Sullivan <> Wed, 19 October 2011 14:27 UTC

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Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 10:26:27 -0400
From: Andrew Sullivan <>
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Cc: Keith Moore <>
Subject: Re: [mif] bare names (was: [dnsext] 2nd Last Call for MIF DNS server selection document)
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On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 09:48:23AM -0400, Keith Moore wrote:

>  I agree that search paths are somewhat broken.  What's not broken
> is the idea of using single-label names as local names.

[. . .]

> split-brain DNS is an abomination that should be eradicated from the planet.

By "local names", do you just mean "globally-accessible names that are
of special interest to me?"  (If not, then unless you are arguing that
everyone ought to be configuring /etc/hosts themselves, I don't see
how the above two claims are consistent.  The way you get single-label
names as local names (at least as deployed) is to use the seach path
mechanism and look things up in the "local" DNS.  By definition, that
means that split-brain DNS is in action: the DNS namespace is not, in
that case, global.)

In any case, we do not have the option of eradicating split-brain DNS
any more than we can un-know how to split atoms and make bombs.  Once
such an innovation exits, we have to figure out how to cope with it to
the extent it can be coped with.  I too think that split-brain DNS is
a mistake, and I think most of the things people are doing with it are
foolish and stupid, but they are doing it.  We can either make the
network work as well as it can in the presence of such systems, or
live with the inventions that such innovators come up with in an
attempt to bandage the foot they just shot. 

> and sometimes, single-label names are set up to work correctly on
> multiple networks - the salient point being that the meaning of the
> name might be inherently context-sensitive.

Right, but not by virtue of it being single-label.  You can look up
single labels in the DNS just fine.



Andrew Sullivan