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Re: new.net: yet another dns namespace overlay play

  • From: Aaron Hopkins
  • Date: Wed Mar 07 03:27:30 2001

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So the short answer minus the marketing-speak is that new.net is offering
domains in new TLDs without having them in *.root-servers.net.  The idea
isn't new; people have been doing this for years with limited success.

As domains in the new TLDs are obviously only useful if people can reach
them, new.net is offering a variety of ways to be able to resolve them.

Anyone in control of a recursive nameserver can:

- - Slave a root zone with the new TLDs appended.

- - Add stubs for the new TLDs pointing at udns[12].newdotnet.net.  (I'm
  pleased with the UltraDNS infrastructure, which is serving similarly here
  to the gtld-servers.net but for new.net's TLDs.  For those using the
  stub-zone hack, these are the only servers they ever see.)

- - Replace the root cache with one pointing to ns[123].newdotnet.net, which
  will delegate as appropriate to the various TLD servers.  (There are
  obviously too few of these available with not enough diversity, but more
  will be added soon.)

The "launch partners" are listed as Earthlink, Excite@Home, NetZero.  These
shortly will be using one of the above to allow their users to reach the new
TLDs.  Given that the whole goal is for the domains to be resolvable, expect
to see more.

But these options aren't available to the average end user.  Rather than
setting up a few centralized recursive nameservers and trying to get every
desktop in the world to send their traffic to them, new.net has elected to
also make the domains reachable with ".new.net" appended.  This allows for
proper local caching and search-path related tricks.  For all desktop users,
the option is available to just add new.net to the search path.

One of the functions of the Windows client offered on the site is a resolver
plugin that appends ".new.net" on to some queries.  It tries to cut down on
the number of failed DNS requests that just would be generated by just
adding new.net to the search path.  It will also act as a sub-proxy for
proxy users, appending ".new.net" on to some HTTP proxy requests.  I'm not
sure whats going on with a patent application on this.

This is obviously less clean than just having ICANN list new TLDs.  But
given the ongoing frustration with ICANN, there is significant interest in a
different approach, and new.net is taking one.

I'm pretty sure that I didn't want it to come to this, and I'm not entirely
convinced that anyone should be doing it.  But personal reservations aside,
its happening.  And I intend to see that its done as well as possible.

                             Aaron Hopkins
                             Systems Engineer, idealab!
                             Acting VP of Engineering, new.net

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