Re: DNS: or

Re: DNS: or

From: Simon Hackett <simon§>
Date: Wed, 04 Dec 1996 12:29:42 +1000
>>The DNS is not a directory service. 
>It may not have been designed as a directory service.

It wasn't.

>>The DNS is not a directory service.

Is used as one, to some extent, yes. As a time-saving first approximation
before trying to find what you want in alta-vista.

>>Some people believe the DNS is a directory service.
>Many people use DNS as a directory service.

Absolutely. That doesn't mean they're doing the right thing.

>>The DNS is not a directory service.
>Effectively, it is a directory service, because it is used as such.

Yes, you're absolutely correct. The only things that will probably change
that are:

        - us, i.e. members of the industry understanding and promoting how
to "do it right" (which of course assumes we'd agree on that - and that is
perhaps unlikely).

        - the namespace becoming so fragemented despite our best efforts
that users learn that DNS endings are not a reliable home for the resources
they are looking for (e.g. .COM.AU, .COM already fragments it - some
proposals in the USA over time to scale COM.AU have included forcing new
names to be in A.COM, B.COM, C.COM etc based on the first letter of the
domain name underneath that - ugly as sin, but one way to let the core .COM
servers cope with the load, by distributing it. No, it hasn't happened (yet)).

>>You're solving the problem with the wrong tool. I know that this doesn't
>>stop "most" people wanting their company to be But the
>>real impacts of having to take a second-best option are overblown in my
>>view. People already use .COM as an escape valve if they can't get what they
>>want, and has that made them impossible to find? No!
>So you're saying that DNS is a good directory service?

No, I'm saying it's a bloody poor directory service, one which replaces
systematic search or a full index with heuristics and guesswork. There's
nothing wrong with heuristics and guesswork, they just don't always "hit"
where you want them to.

>Better directory services are available and even better ones emerging,
>but that is probably irrelevant to the topic of changing the DNS au
>name-space and its controllers to the benefit of its users.

It's probably not useful to enlarge the debate of "DNS as directory service"
here beyond what's already been said, but I wanted to say it to note that
most of the perceived problems are due to the mis-use of the DNS as a poor
directory service (poor because if all companies are in, for
instance, then that namespace by definition CANNOT be sufficient because
it's one dimensional underneath that - the second plumber can't be, he has to be or or or whatever).

In other words, asserting that we can keep the DNS struture operational by
carefully managing namespace presumes, incorrectly, that it is not
already broken.

Having said all that, I'll just make my views clear in another axis - I'm
saying all of this as a devils' advocate in some ways, not because I
disagree that people choose to use the DNS as a de-facto directory system.
It's one amongst others. Yes, I personally think that in the current size of
the internet name space in Australia, that the space in isn't "full"
yet in practice (c.f. .COM), and yes, I think there should be multiple DNA's
for, and yes, I'd be bidding to become one as soon as the opportunity
is available. 

As Geoff Huston has pointed out already, once there are multiple providers
of that service, allegations of monopolistic practices go away - if you
don't like provider A, you can change to provider B. That is its own solution.

Simon Hackett, Technical Director, Internode Systems Pty Ltd
31 York St [PO Box 284, Rundle Mall], Adelaide, SA 5000 Australia
Email: simon&#167;  Web:
Phone: +61-8-8223-2999          Fax: +61-8-8223-1777
Received on Wed Dec 04 1996 - 13:39:43 UTC

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