Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

36 .Com Registrars?

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:5/2/1999; 6:20:17 PM
Topic:36 .Com Registrars?
Msg #:5534
Prev/Next:5533 / 5535

I've been emailing privately with several people exchanging ideas for working past the current NSI-centric domain name system. Here's a cc of an email I sent earlier today.

I'm new to all this DNS stuff, this might be naive. All other disclaimers apply..

If the customer is to have choice, then the virtual database has to be a combination of two or more real databases. That would mean that to get updated, each second level server would have to receive updates from two or more servers.

They would have to know that server A can only update a certain set of .com names. And that B could only update a certain set, and C, D and E and so on. If that weren't true, then C could delete, and we wouldn't know who to contact to get it back on. We would have to call N different registrars. They would all point the finger at the others. It would take *longer* to fix mistakes, we'd be going in the wrong direction.

So.. hold an auction for each letter. Then split up the NIC database between the 26 different companies. Each company would be audited for performance, the same way the accountants audit companies. Registrars would be required to have an average of 20 screwups per year per thousand domains they manage. In year two that number would have to go down to 10, and so on. This would encourage development of more stable and secure administration systems. I think it should be possible to monitor performance totally with software, btw. Not exactly artificial intelligence.. ;->

So divided by first letter, there are 26 competitors of all sizes. A somewhat random system, but nothing breaks and the software gets a little more complex at the second level. From that point down the tree all the same DNS server software works. Dave Farber's hypothetical attack can only knock out one letter, not the whole .com tree. But the real benefit is competition, which the system truly needs.

What do you think?

PS: Dori Smith points out that there are actually 36 possible competitors, due to the numbers 0 thru 9.

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