W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > May 2004

RE: Thoughts on top-level domains, esp. .mobi

From: Peter F Brown <peter@justbrown.net>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 13:29:21 -0700
To: <www-tag@w3.org>
Cc: "'Tim Berners-Lee'" <timbl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20040506202938.E0FABA07CD@frink.w3.org>

| -----Original Message-----
| From: Chris Lilley
| On Thursday, May 6, 2004, 11:33:54 AM, Peter wrote:
| PFB> Given that the current top level domains already consist of non 
| PFB> mutually-exclusive sets, I don't see why the TAG should get 
| PFB> exercised about the issue at all.
| 
| PFB> Either we re-engineer from the bottom: but no-one is going to stop 
| PFB> the world while we get off and fix it; or we accept that there is 
| PFB> no coherent taxonomy from a single root, and it's thus a
free-for-all.
| 
| I agree with you on the taxonomy side (and I think that is 
| part of timBL's point too, that the dns is not and should not 
| be a dewey decimal system).
| 
Granted, but it does seem risky to take as axiomatic that the Web is a
unified information space in which everything can be mapped, grounded upon a
system of network endpoints. The Web is not "designed as a universal space".
It happens to be a universal space for a particular information and network
construct, but it is (unfortunately) by no means all-embracing. It is a
universal space *only* to anyone with access to (one way or another) to an
IP address, not a DNS registration. Your DNS has to map to something if you
want to "appear" in that space.

Tim states that DNS is a tree with a single root. I can just about buy that,
as long as we are clear that the "root" is *not* the TLDs, as the sum of the
TLDs to do constitute a set. However, nothing prevents mapping multiple
(totally-unrelated) DNS addresses to the same "physical" IP address, so you
can/do already have multiple overlapping taxonomies mapping, as Tim actually
points out, within this space. When everyone with a .com, .edu, .mil, .org
or .gov DNS address moves to the .us or other ccTLD, then we might be able
to talk about a single root ;-) and even then...

Most people's concern, as Tim rightly states, is to have some "control" over
"their" information territory. But therein lies the problem, if such a
"territory" is defined as (and/or understood to mean) a DNS registration.
Several DNS gold rushes has come and gone (.com, .biz, .info), but there's
is far more gold in "them thar hills", if we keep inventing new hills to
mine. That should be a major concern: one can only claim something as one's
own, as "mine", if one can uniquivocally state at the same time also that it
is, by definition, not "yours". You can do that with IP (within the
constraints of DHCP, etc), but not with DNS. Just because I can state on
*my* map, for example, that some territory "is" the USA, or "is" a
trademarked brand-name, doesn't make it true. The map is *not* the
territory.

With overlapping information spaces (and I await with some trepidation to
see what finally comes out for the .eu domain, the internal politics of
which I have followed and are frankly hair-raising...), such a claim can
never be made without doubt or ambiguity.

| On the other hand, you don't typically have to use a 
| different browser or a different OS to get to .org as opposed 
| to .com addresses. Its the "oh, you can't use that URI I gave 
| you because I am on a phone and you are ona desktop' aspect 
| that worries us.
| 
Agreed

Regards,

Peter Brown

________________________________

Peter Brown
Head of Information Resources Management
European Parliament
 
Peter is currently on sabbatical, and affiliation is indicated for
information only. Any official correspondence with the European Parliament
should be addressed to gri@europarl.eu.int
 
Information Architecture with XML www.XMLbyStealth.net
Received on Thursday, 6 May 2004 16:29:38 UTC

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