[Smaug] question about meeting

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jun 15 01:45:17 PDT 2005

Quoting relsqui at armory.com (relsqui at armory.com):

> [more ICANN being lame, lamer, lamest]

The sad thing is:  Many people looked forward to a strong ICANN to rein
in the hubris of NetSol/Verisign.  But it really didn't work.

And I forgot to tell you about ICANN's brief foray into allowing public
representatives.  At first, there was going to be broad representation
of the public on ICANN's Board of Directors.  Then, suddenly, we heard
that they were going to allow a _small_ number of Directors to be
elected by interested members of the public, while ensuring that those
could always be out-voted by the self-perpetuating in-crowd existing
directors, who were put in place when ICANN was incorporated.

One of those public representatives was Karl Auerbach.  I and numerous
other "netizen"-types voted for him with our "membership" in ICANN's
At-Large Advisory Group (or some name like that).  Auerbach was really,
really good -- and a very effective public spokesman.  He frequently
published essays critical of ICANN initiatives passed by the in-crowd
majority.  He was _so_ effective, in fact, that the in-crowd folks
eventually voted to eliminate both the public-elected Board positions
and the At-Large Advisory Group.

So, all that having happened, who decides policy for ICANN?  ICANN does.
You, I, and other peons have nothing to do with it.  Of course, that was
also true during the brief period when Auerbach was on the Board, but
_now_ they've decided that they can't even endure dissidents in their
meetings, even if those can always be outvoted.

I'm pretty sure a lot of Auerbach's critical writings are googleable.
Probably still worth reading.

> So... what body is there to even complain to? I suppose there aren't
> many people who both know and care enough to do so (mostly through no
> fault of their own), but in theory.

There are basically two possible approaches (short of picketing, etc.):

1.  Through the US Federal Commerce Dept.   Find some way to convince
them that ICANN does a terrible job as Commerce Dept's surrogate.  Of
course, Commerce doesn't really want to deal with Internet issues (e.g.,
keeping NetSol under control), which is why they elicited (and accepted)
the offer from ICANN to deal with that.

2.  Make your DNS daemons recognise alternative root servers, a la
OpenNIC.  This lets you recognise "non-official" TLDs alongside the
regular ones.  I've done this, from time to time.  It's a bottom-up
way of sidestepping the whole NetSol/ICANN power structure.

If enough DNS servers recognise the alternative root servers, then they 
and their extra TLDs become widely useful.

> Huh. Too bad it wouldn't really be feasible to arrange a TLD boycott,
> what with contractual obligations and existing sites and all. 

Yes, I'm as guilty as anyone, here.

> By the way, $50 a year, not $25. $40 if you buy five (a.k.a buy four,
> get one free). It must've changed.

Too bad.

> > Frankly, I'd much rather have nothing at all in [ICANN's] place.
> Leave it only to consensus, you mean? 

Not entirely.  Read Tonic's FAQ about how they run.  It's an almost 100%
automated system, and it's first-come, first-served.  That could be
implemented by the hundred-odd existing NetSol-affiliated registrars,
without any ICANN or equivalent to be their master.  If you don't like
what your registrar is doing, move sideways to a different one.  If your
registrar rips you off, sue it.  No need for ICANN at all.

The back-end registry portion of NetSol could be split off (or
duplicated) and put under IETF/Internet Society supervision, as it
should have been, years ago.

> On a semi-tangent, how do domains deeper than three levels work?
> (My school used to be cabrillo.cc.ca.us, although it's cabrillo.edu now.)

They work by being long.  ;->  Sometimes, sub-sub-domains get delegated
to some other DNS server elsewhere, which tells the world what hosts
(and optionally sub-sub-sub-domains) exist within it.

> And on a complete tangent, I just found out that we had a tsunami warning
> tonight. 

I shouldn't have waved so energetically.

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