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Re: Namespaces (was: yet another dns namespace overlay play)

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Thu Mar 08 05:32:11 2001

On Thu, 08 March 2001, Joshua Goodall wrote:
> > The whole idea of unique human-readable names is broken (I would go as far
> > as to say that the idea of any global name space is silly :)
> It shouldn't be. The great mistake with DNS was allowing a hierarchical
> network engineering convenience to *become* a flat namespace used as a
> globally-unique identifier for bodies of data.

Somewhere along the process, DNS changed from an address space to to subject
space.  As an address space, having globally-unique identifiers is important;
but as a subject space, searching is more complicated because identifiers
aren't unique.

Think of the difference between the telephone white pages, and the telephone
yellow pages.  Or the difference between searching for a book in the library
by subject heading, and searching for an street address in a city.

Ok, so I wrote the authority control software for MARION database, so I'm a
bit biased about how things should work.

For example, suppose there is a large corporation which likes to go
by the name Disney, and several individuals whose name is Disney.

Who has priority?  Walt Disney, Roy Disney, Rosemary Disney, Dorthy Disney,
or Doris Disney?  Why does any of them need to have priority over the name
used for lookups?  If you want their globally unique address (i.e. to send
them mail) its not mandatory for it to be the same as the name you search for.

How do you go from the name everyone uses, to the "official" name for something.

What if someone is trying to find the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company?

Other than generating a lot of press,'s project doesn't seem to be
anything more exciting than a bunch of AOL Keywords (another flat proprietary

DNS is not, nor ever was intended to be a general purpose search tool.  That
was X.400/X.500's job :-)

If someone wanted to do something interesting, they would come up with a
new RESOLVER library and interface which searched on something at a higher
level than DNS names.

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