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July 14, 2001
8:21 AM   Subscribe

I for one am getting fed up with ICANN's bureaucratic muddle and the slow pace at which they do everything, not to mention their fundamentally anti-user attitude towards things. Now they've declared that they're in charge. Horseshit! It is the users who are in charge of the Internet. You don't have to limit yourself to the top level domains that ICANN is dribbling out; you can go to new.net and install their plugin (Mac version available), and enable such domains as .travel, .mp3, .sport, .club, .tech and (hoo-hah!) .xxx. Strike a blow for freedom, and tweak ICANN's nose! They need to learn that they'll have to move fast or become irrelevant.
posted by Steven Den Beste (11 comments total)

 
What upsets me about new.net is that it is a commercial company declaring it's rights to .xxx, .club, etc. ICANN is technically a government endorsed agency, with the authority over the net names system.

While I think ICANN is full of crap, and that the new domains just suck money out of the pockets of trademark holders.

It occurred to me one thing, why can't someone sue to stop a domain from being used (ie. if mathowie has a trademark on metafilter, why can't he say, nobody may use metafilter.info, but, um... i don't want it either. just make in unregisterable). That would protect the trademark holders from this stupid system, and would protect organizations bottom lines.)

In summary, both ICANN and new.net are full of crap.
posted by benjh at 9:02 AM on July 14, 2001


for those mac huggers, it isn't a plug-in, just add "new.net" to the "additional search domains" field of the TCP/IP control panel.
posted by machaus at 9:03 AM on July 14, 2001


In fact, I don't think you have to install a plug-in — just add new.net to your resolver's search path. (There's an "Enable Your Browser" link on the new.net home page that'll show you how to do this on your platform.)

This works because these aren't real top-level domains, they're just subdomains of new.net. The site at "www.guitar.mp3" is really at "www.guitar.mp3.new.net", but once you've told your resolver to look for domains under new.net you can type www.guitar.mp3 into your browser and the site will come up.

While I admire new.net's ingenuity and agree that ICANN needs to be shown that users and ISPs have the ability and the motivation to add new root domains on their own, I don'r really like this approach, for two reasons:

First, this isn't how the DNS is supposed to work; DNS isn't something made up and imposed on us by ICANN, it's one of the wonderful inventions that made all this Internetty goodness possible. It oughtn't to be subverted to solve a problem it didn't create.

Second, if you think the registrars have too much control over domains now, you should fear new.net — read their Terms of Use and recognize that they control these domains and their sub-domains completely, and there's no other registrar that you can transfer your subdomain to.

So, add new.net to your search path, register some domains there for fun — but don't build a business or a serious hobby around it.
posted by nicwolff at 9:39 AM on July 14, 2001


From the standpoint of most of the folks I "see" around MeFi, I suppose this is potentially not a big deal - after all, you know at a glance what "add new.net to your search path" means... Asking a new AOL registrant to figure out what to do is another thing altogether. If new.net is going to succeed, they're going to have to figure out how to get some pretty darned big ISPs (AOL, MSN, Earthlink, AT&T - those would be a good start) to include the search of the new.net domains on the server side. (As you may have already guessed) I don't know all the technical ramifications of that, or even if it's really that big a deal, but right now you are expecting end users to enable it on their own, which almost guarantees that some huge percentage of the potential audience is already lost.
posted by m.polo at 10:20 AM on July 14, 2001


For an individual, they've got it so that you can enable their domains simply by clicking a single button and letting it install and execute an ActiveX control. It's easy enough even for an AOL user. It may be that all it's doing is to add an entry to the TCP/IP setup data, but the point is that they've hidden all the technical details entirely. It is no more difficult then installing the latest FLASH or ACROBAT plugin.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:27 AM on July 14, 2001


For an individual, they've got it so that you can enable their domains simply by clicking a single button and letting it install and execute an ActiveX control. It's easy enough even for an AOL user.

Simple it may be, but using an ActiveX control to alter DNS settings is precisely the kind of security issue that gets my alarm bells ringing.

Here's why: it was suggested in another forum that there's no reason why MS can't pull off a coup over the root DNS servers, by routing queries to its own, alternate DNS. It'd certainly suit the direction it's plotting with .NET, Hailstorm and Passport. And that kind of Balkanisation of DNS is something we ought to worry about.

ICANN is a mess. The sooner it implodes, the better. But new.net's attempt to blindside it seems half-cocked. DNS always functioned better as an benign autocracy, anyway.
posted by holgate at 12:59 PM on July 14, 2001


m.polo:

Prodigy is the latest to join New.net's current set of high-profile ISP partners: Earthlink, NetZero , Juno and Excite@Home. new.net press release

So they are lining up big ISP partners, although they'll never get AOL or MSN. Hey, did anyone else know that Prodigy was still around?!
posted by nicwolff at 2:49 PM on July 14, 2001


It is the users who are in charge of the Internet

Total horsepuckey. What you can and can't access was decided before the first browser hit the streets. What comes into the country, and where, was decided. Who was going to handle security, decided.

What you're allowed to decide is whether you discuss muppets or twinkies.
posted by Twang at 2:55 PM on July 14, 2001


letting it install and execute an ActiveX control

Sorry, not on my network... We at GlobeDominatingMegaCorp have blocked ActiveX at the firewall after a spate of (probably recreational but nonetheless sobering) incidents of controls running amok. For end users outside corporations, though, you're right, that's probably not a bad solution - but the problem is the user has to know to do it in the first place. Otherwise, they're going to type in www.bozo.family and get server-not-found errors with no indication of what to do.
posted by m.polo at 2:55 PM on July 14, 2001


Gosh, Twang, here we are discussing neither muppets nor twinkies but the future of the domain name system. Which is to say, none of those things are decided even now. I can access child pron, gamble on servers in the Marshall Islands, and encrypt my Web site with certificates from any of dozens of certificate providers (or make my own). So, what are you talking about?
posted by nicwolff at 4:59 PM on July 14, 2001


- From the standpoint of most of the folks I "see" around MeFi, I suppose this is potentially not a big deal - after all, you know at a glance what "add new.net to your search path" means...

You're giving us too much credit. Knowing what it means and doing it are two different matters. Yup I know what you mean, but no, I don't know how to do it.
posted by DBAPaul at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2001


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