Oh dear!

James has responded again. I am responding because I believe the use of our weblogs as a place for public discussion is a great service to the community in airing the arguments – whether one agrees or disagrees with a given point of view.

This doesn’t need to be long but …. James, please re-read my piece.

I do not say John Klensin either does or will support SiteFinder. I say that his dns-search piece describes an outcome that is in every way similar to SiteFinder. It is an “above the DNS” search and directory layer. I also say that “if” John is consistent he would support it. By implication I am assuming he is not being consistent. His views, aired publicly, at the Stability committee last week suggest that too. So I am aware he is unlikely to actually support SiteFinder. I believe that is a “political” decision, not one that is justified technically. Shame on him if it is so.

Secondly. I absolutely see SiteFinder as “above the DNS”. It is an http service with search results. So by definition it is “above the DNS”. Why do you keep insisting it is not? 🙁

Also please distinguish between the wildcard and SiteFinder. They are two entirely different things. The wildcard is part of the DNS, and a standard part, albeit previously unimplemented. Let me repeat what the IAB said:

“We hesitate to recommend a flat prohibition against wildcards in “registry”-class zones, but strongly suggest that the burden of proof in such cases should be on the registry to demonstrate that their intended use of wildcards will not pose a threat to stable operation of the DNS or predictable behavior for applications and users.”

James, this is explicitly about the use of a wildcard in a TLD. And RFC is about the DNS in general, not excluding TLDs. So I really believe you are wrong on the issue of standards.

SiteFinder on the other hand is what happens once the DNS has released a query, having detected no valid domain name for the query in question. It is in that sense outside of and “above” the DNS.

Given all of this I really believe your rebuttal is simply avoiding my key points rather than addressing them.

VeriSign’s key mistake was one of not informing. It’s actual service is not a threat to the stability of the Internet and in my opinion can actually be a service to users and developers alike. What is needed is a clear statement of intent to re-introduce the wildcard, a date for doing so, and help for developers and network administrators in getting the best from it across all protocols.

I do not see any point in VeriSign engaging with the IETF on the wildcard. The IETF alrady has an RFC covering the wildcard and VeriSign has stuck to the RFC. So in a way there is nothing to discuss.

As for SiteFinder, there may well be very constructive discussions possible on how to evolve the service on top of the DNS. If VeriSign is prepared to engage the outside world in that discussion I can see only good coming from it. To be clear, that is not a standards discussion however. The very fact that SiteFinder is above the DNS makes it a discussion where different people can take differing views and none are either right or wrong in the abstract – it’s all a matter of opinion.

Clearly VeriSign’s opinion will count for a lot as it runs the .com and .net TLDs and so can redirect wildcard traffic to its own “above the DNS” solution. It is not very likely to abandon its own solution. That is just a commercial reality. We should all calm down and just get used to it. Running .com and .net carries a lot of power. Lets acknowledge it and get over it!

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Keith Teare

Keith Teare is a Silicon Valley based, UK born, entrepreneur. He was involved at the founding of Accelerated Digital Ventures, Archimedes.Studio, RealNames and EasyNet. He was also founding shareholder in TechCrunch. He is US Managing Partner at ADV.

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