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China Prepares to Launch Alternate Internet 510

Posted by Zonk
from the aided-by-google-no-doubt dept.
Netfree writes "The Chinese government has announced plans to launch an alternate Internet root system with new Chinese character domains for dot-com and dot-net. This may mean that Chinese Internet users will no longer rely on ICANN, the U.S.-backed domain name administrator, and, as one commentator notes, could be the beginning of the end of the globally interoperable Internet."
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China Prepares to Launch Alternate Internet

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:11PM (#14817794)

    Given the intransigence the U.S. has displayed in the past regarding control of TLDs, this move isn't all that surprising. It is somewhat surprising, however, that China has chosen .com and .net as two of their TLDs, virtually guaranteeing operability problems with the rest of the Internet. While this manufactured difficulty is obviously by design, the motive remains unclear. Do the Chinese wish to:

    • create their own internet, by design incompatible with the rest of the world,
    • cause as much trouble as possible for the 'other' internet, or
    • a combination of the two?

    One thing is for sure...network administrators will have an interesting time trying to reconcile the conflicting TLDs .com and .net. Perhaps the fact that the Chinese TLDs are in the Chinese character set can be used to some effect, but I'm not certain.

    Wha I am certain of is this: when I'm in charge, we'll have none of this 'multiple language' crap. Everyone will speak Esperanto [wikipedia.org], or else.
    • Very simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Brunellus (875635) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:13PM (#14817839) Homepage

      The idea is user-friendliness and connectivity, but on the terms of the Chinese Communist Party

      Chinese-encoded TLDs will make it easier for an increasingly-wired Chinese people to use the internet. It will also make it much easier for the Party to control exactly what happens on Chinese-language domains.

      In an earlier age, Mao said that the Party must be in control of the gun. Now, the Party must be in control of the network. The effect is the same.

    • It is somewhat surprising, however, that China has chosen .com and .net as two of their TLDs, virtually guaranteeing operability problems with the rest of the Internet.

      Should not be a problem as long as their names include even one Chinese character, since I'm not aware that ICANN is even capable of assigning such names otherwise. At least I have yet to hear about any such names.

      Strikes me that what they're trying to do is even further cut themselves off from undesired Western influences. They may wel

    • China has already implemented this internet, and the url in the OP is hosted on it! That's why I'm getting access denied!
    • Surely you mean lojban [wikipedia.org] right?
    • Given the intransigence the U.S. has displayed in the past regarding control of TLDs, this move isn't all that surprising. It is somewhat surprising, however, that China has chosen .com and .net as two of their TLDs, virtually guaranteeing operability problems with the rest of the Internet.

      Hmm... you seem to have made some spelling errors...

      Given the attitude that the Chinese government has displayed in the past regarding control of information flows (see the Great Firewall), this move isn't all that surpri
    • I never could understand what the big deal is here; people can get their DNS information from whoever they want, and the big ISPs can setup their DNS servers any way they want. For example, lets say China has DNS servers that resolve "google.com" to some chinese server. Any US ISP can route google.com to the "right" (current) place, and then make a pointer (say, google.com.china) to point to the chinese server. US users would have to get to the chinese server via www.google.com.china, and if the owners of t
  • Because why would any Chinese citizen use that over the actual internet?

    -Jesse
    • "Because why would any Chinese citizen use that over the actual internet?"

      You assume they will have a choice?
    • Of course not (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      All root systems are totally optional. You don't need to use DNS at all to use the Internet, and if you do use DNS, you are free to use your own that is tied to no roots and assign domains to IPs as you see fit. The ICANN roots are simply the defacto standard. It's a system that nearly everyone uses to provide DNS that's accessable to everyone else. There are other root services, OpenNIC for example, they just aren't used all that much.

      This is all much ado about nothing, as it always has been with these DNS
      • Re:Of course not (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ErikZ (55491)
        You don't need to use DNS at all to use the Internet, and if you do use DNS, you are free to use your own that is tied to no roots and assign domains to IPs as you see fit.

        And in other news, The Chinese government has banned the use of foriegn root servers. Violators may be enrolled in the the state "Organ Donor" farm program.
  • This most likely wouldn't have happened if the current Bush administration cooperates internationally. Thanks a bunch!
    • What? No... that doesn't make sense at all. What does Bush have anything to do with this? He's a dummy, no doubt, but seriously... What are you basing that conclusion on? Besides, having china off the internet just means less spam / viruses / crap for me.
      • Besides, having china off the internet just means less spam / viruses / crap for me.

        It won't have the slightest effect on that. Anyway, I live in Hong Kong and 95% of my spam is from the USA.

    • Are you people in denial? The Chinese are not particularly nice people, but their manufacturing economy would run a lot smoother over an interoperable Internet. Given the choice of maintaining the Great Firewall of China vs. maintaining their own damn Internet, I suspect even the PRC would choose the former if it were in any way easier.
    • The USA would not need to move to IPv6, and, we would not be getting a lot of blackmail DOS attacks by offshore people.
  • it makes sense... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AxemRed (755470) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:12PM (#14817813)
    Controlling the backbones will make the "internet" a lot easier for them to censor.
    • but its not a "backbone".. china already controls their network backbones. this is entirely different, they are root domain servers... i know im being picky, but still, come on.
  • I doubt it. The current system is too embedded in China to be totally replaced by their own DNS system.
    • I doubt it. The current system is too embedded in China to be totally replaced by their own DNS system.

      Not at all; China has one of the largest industrial bases on the planet. It would not surprise me if they could completely strip down and rework their entire Internet structure in as little as 2-3 years. Remember, the government mandates things; despite reforms, the Communist government is still in control and can "recommend" the use of their Internet over the larger one. And for anyone wishing to object

  • Or.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tdeuces (957421)
    "As one commentator notes, could be the beginning of the end of the globally interoperable Internet".

    Or it could mean the rest of the world will continue to be interoperable while China becomes even more isolated.
    • I haven't seen any comments on this yet, but my first thought on reading the summary was that this would make censorship of content on the internet(s) a lot easier. If you don't play by the rules, then their ICANN-equivalent can pull your domain registration.
    • Actually, China is one the frontend [technewsworld.com] of adopting IPv6. On the other hand, USA is behind, since the cost of upgrading the entire infrastructure is huge.
  • I guess (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Orclover (228413)
    I guess google's bending over backwards to censor the web searching just wasnt good enough, maybe some of the citizens figured out how to use lycos. Nothing they can do about that but recreate the internet in thier own immage. But without porn...will it really be the internet?
  • You know, the US used to be a lot more isolationist. We tend to see ourselves as superior, which limits our incentive to reach out to other countries. So we have people inside and outside of the US pressuring Americans go "go global." Given the commerce relationships we have with China, I have a feeling that they're one of the major source of that pressure. "Go global! Buy from China!"

    And then they turn around and start closing themselves off from the rest of the world.
  • sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eobanb (823187) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:15PM (#14817852) Homepage
    I can't help but view this as the fault of the US. Think about it. ICANN, a US organisation, has done little to cater to the wishes of China, even though they're a large (and growing) presence on the internet. I may not agree with some of the views of the Chinese government, but if they want Chinese TLDs, they should have them.

    ICANN needs to get off their high horse immediately.
    • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I can't help but view this as the fault of the US. Think about it. ICANN, a US organisation, has done little to cater to the wishes of China, even though they're a large (and growing) presence on the internet.

      China's wishes are irrelevant. Like most countries, ICANN gave control of .cn to the Chinese government to manage as they see fit. I have no clue if China is doing a good job of managing .cn. But it's up to them.

      I may not agree with some of the views of the Chinese government, but if they want Chinese
    • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:33PM (#14818064) Homepage Journal
      I can't help but view this as the fault of the US. Think about it.

      Not at all. China wants full and complete control of the internet and how it gives information to it's users. If ICANN had made chinese-character-encoded TLDs available, the Chinese government would have chosen a different method of control.

      Make no mistake - this is an isolationary tactic, taking back control of what I'm sure the Chinese government sees as rightfully theirs. If ICANN does not exist in China and is not beholden to Chinese authority, then China does not have enough control and will shun ICANN, no matter how "cooperative" they may be.

    • Re:sigh (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kaa (21510)
      I can't help but view this as the fault of the US

      LOL. You're funny.

      It's pretty clear the Chinese government wants its own "internet" which it can control and which it can keep separate from the rest of the world. It's a control freaks' power trip.

      I may not agree with some of the views of the Chinese government, but if they want Chinese TLDs, they should have them.

      What do you think the .cn TLD is?
      • I think he meant Chinese-language TLDs. .cn probably isn't very satisfying -- it means using a foreign language to access every website, which doesn't exactly stoke nationalism. What if you had to type a couple of Chinese characters to go anywhere on the Internet?
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:15PM (#14817853)
    As if millions of MMORPG gold farmers cried out in terror, and were suddenly silences...
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:18PM (#14817871)
    This move puts Chinese companies at a competitive disadvantage -- how can they connect to foreign suppliers, distributors, and customers? Will western companies continue to outsource to China if the country puts up too many obstacles to free communication?
    • Generally, people who intentionally break inter-operability expect that they'll be a stronger force of attraction than the existing system. MS is a perfect exemple of that.

      Now the question everybody will have to ask himself is "Can I afford to be isolated from China?" Since China has become the world's factory, I doubt many people will stop doing business with them. So everybody will basically support a dual system.

      And if, at some point, people are forced to chose just one system because the two can't co
    • Will western companies continue to outsource to China if the country puts up too many obstacles to free communication?
      Not if it changes the economic to a great degree. Not only that but what if I can't find your company in the first place, let us say that I search Google for custom manufacturing and I only find places in Japan, the US, and India, but not China. Big problem. The government in China must ride the Tiger, if they stop it will attack them...
    • Will western companies continue to outsource to China if the country puts up too many obstacles to free communication?

      Of course they will. There is too much money to be made in China and western companies will just buy a new domain name on the Chinese root system and make it link to their websites...
    • by UnanimousCoward (9841) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:56PM (#14818367) Homepage Journal
      ...how can they connect to foreign suppliers, distributors, and customers?

      You should be asking the question the other way around:

      How can foreign suppliers, distributors, and customers connect to them?

      Clearly, China has made a calculated decision that these parties need China more than China needs them, and that steps will be taken to accommodate the problem...
    • ISPs or whoever will just have a .com and a .uscom or something like that so the end user, if they really want to, can still get to US domains. It's not any different than the phone system. If someone wants to call me, they would dial 555-1212. If someone in Germany called 555-1212 they'd probably get Hans in Munich. Is this because Germany is trying to ruin the US phone system? Of course not. It's just that MOST people dont need to call people across the planet, or even outside their immediate area,
  • And thanks for all the fish!
  • This could be great, if china closes itself off from the rest of the net, my firewalls will give an audible sigh of relief. Now only if eastern europe would follow suit.
    • That's what I was thinking too. Good riddance!. If anyone from the Chinese government is reading this, can you PLEASE take Korea with you? My mail server will thank you!
  • ... after reading all of this, does this mean that China is starting its own root, isolated from the rest of the world, or is it starting a roo that can understand chinese characters?

    I'm thinking the latter, though I'm at work and don't really care either way.
  • One artcle is slashdotted, and the other two are short on technical details. So, I'm wondering, how are they going to make people go to the governments name servers? Will using your own cache hints file beecome a hanging offense? Will they stop routing all of ICANN's root servers?

    When (not if) the Chinese government starts using their name servers as part of their censorship operations, a zillion "alternative" name servers will spring up behind the Great Firewall of China. A zillion distributed names se
  • end transmission.
  • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:33PM (#14818068) Journal
    This doesn't end the globally interoperable Internet - as long as IP packets go end-to-end, it's still just fine. Depending on exactly how they've implemented this, it may be cleanly interoperable with the rest of DNS (except that the Global Roots have to get around to including China's extra CC_TLDs), or it may be interoperable for anybody using a compatible Chinese character-set handler client (which shouldn't be a big problem, since the reason for Chinese-Character CCTLDs is to include Chinese-character content). On the other hand, it could be implemented in a way that horribly breaks any 7-bit-ASCII DNS client. It shouldn't do that - DNS is hierarchical, so the worst it should do is botch lookups to the section because the DNS server's responding in Unicode and the client doesn't understand them.
    • If things were as you say they are, phishing and DNS attacks would not be a problem.

      Most people don't type in IP addresses to get where they're going on the Interweb. I'm not sure most people type in URLs at all... except for maybe www.google.com now and then.

      This will be a mess to resolve, half measures or no.
    • by typical (886006)
      Verisign has been a twat for too long (.com wildcard, bogus "registration is expiring" notices to people other than their own subscribers, etc). Having the looming threat of really killing the goose that lays their golden eggs over their head might be sufficient to make them straighten up their act.

      There are already RFCs for stuffing UTF-8 into DNS. Microsoft's own DNS server does it.
    • If China sets up its own root servers and NICs, how are they going to coordinate with various NICs for giving out IP addresses?
  • ...as one commentator notes, could be the beginning of the end of the globally interoperable Internet.

    I'd be happy to read Michael Geist's comments if his server wasn't slashdotted. Based on the article summary (as well all know are always 100% accurate) I have to call this a load of crap.

    If both networks are still using IPv4 then there is no end to the global internet, only the global domain system. I know, I know. For most, domain names *are* the internet. But all I have to do is throw my DNS requests
  • Issue of Control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nkwe (604125) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:33PM (#14818074)
    If China wanted to control what their citizens could see and do on the Internet they could 1) set up their own DNS, and 2) Prohibit DNS traffic from leaving or entering the country. While technically savvy folks could navigate by solely IP or make partnerships with someone outside of China to get DNS information over non-standard ports, restricting use of DNS would be a highly effective control.
  • IIRC, the US and Europe ended up getting the biggest share of the IPv4 address space, and this hasn't helped Asian countries much when it comes to growing their Internet presence. I don't know how well IPv6 has taken off there (poorly if things in the US are any indication) so I wonder if one of the goals of the Chinese project is to eventually route their own Class A blocks along with TLDs? If they did that then they would be 100% on their own, as the rest of the 'Net would have to cut them off to avoid pa
  • Things won't entirely fail, but they'll sometimes be a lot more of a hassle...

    1) The two domain registrars can sync with mirror eachother's databases. Then the only glitches occur when the China and the U.S. have an active disagreement: they both want to register the same name to different parties, or China (most likely) wants to suppress from its people a DNS entry maintained by the U.S.

    2) As long as IP#s and routers remain configured properly, you can always fall back on using IP#s rather than DNS names
    • Since the Chinese DNS system will be using Chinese characters for (new) TLDs, I don't think there'll ever be a naming conflict with existing domain names. So this solution is eminently workable, and I don't see why it's the end of the interoperable Internet.

      Of course, any "real" Chinese company will need to register BOTH foo.com and foo.(dot-com-character).cn -- just as today, businesses feel compelled to register foo.com, foo.org, foo.net, foo.biz, foo.ws, and so forth. But really, adding a few new TLDs wo
  • Did I miss something?

    Or was Google's "censorship for the US" policy not covered on Slashdot in the last couple of days?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/27/google_cen sors_us_video/ [theregister.co.uk]

    Was this mentioned on Slashdot recently?
    • When one uploads a video to Google Video, the option to distribute the content to one, many, or all-but-one locale is available. The uploader selected the option not to make available the IED video referenced in the article (which has been updated, RTFA you moran/troll/whatever) to people coming from US netblocks.

      This was a decision on the part of the submitter (aka 'creative control', probably a novelty around these parts) and not on the part of Google. Bitch at the submitter, if you have to bitch at som
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @12:39PM (#14818147)
    I'm going to go build my own internet! With blackjack! And hookers!

    In fact, forget the internet!

  • Just like the big money today goes and registers all variants of their web site name (.com, .net, .org, etc.), folks will just go reserve the proper names on the other network(s), and set up links so that when you hit one you are re-directed to the right place. Eventually, you won't even be able to tell which network you are on.

    Steve
  • If you read the first article (which is now slashdotted), it seems to indicate that the new TLDs aren't actually .com, .net, etc, but rather are the CHINESE EQUIVALENTS of them - in other words, they're adding a couple of new TLDs that will only be accessible in China, using the Chinese characters for company / network instead of the English abbreviations we use. So yahoo.com will still link to Yahoo, but yahoo.(chinese word for company) might go somewhere else if Yahoo doesn't promptly snap it up. This see
  • So you mean I can now say "internets" without being wrong?

    I have to wonder how this will affect the Chinese people. Are they even being told that their internet is being replaced, at least in part? First story is slashdotted already...

    When "counter-culture" types start seeing that all of their blogs and whatnot that speak against China suddely dissappear, will this invigorate their urge to spread democracy/free speech/what-have-you, or douse it? Will those previously ignorant (or who just didn't care) to th
  • I'll be surprised if this hasn't been said yet, but there's an obvious name for this:

    The Chinternet.
  • crawl back behind the Great Wall, then, commissars. home depot and wal-mart will get their stuff made in Haiti or Bangladesh, then. not a problem.
  • by Jhan (542783)

    I so hate it when people equate one of the many services runing on the internet with the Internet as such.


    This article equates internet with DNS, which is as bad as equating internet and the web.


    (Slightly in-topic) The internet will continue work just fine, the global DNS network OTOH might be slightly forked.


    I guess "China to launch slightly different name resolution protocol" isn't a good headline.

  • They've failed because they don't provide a true overlay of the additional functionality on top of the existing internet. By this, I mean of course that this alternate DNS should provide the ability to overlay additional .COMs and only if the lookup fails in the new DNS mechanisms should it default back to the existing ones. Yes, this would mean that the alternates could overlay well-known, pre-existing .com domain names. So what?

    If this were to ever come about, I (and probably thousands of other administra
  • If the Chinese create their own network, what does that mean? There are some real benefits to the rest of the world.

    What it means is having a limited number of gateways between the Chinese Internet and the rest of the world. Either that number will be zero or more than one. Any data exchange will doubtless be monitored and filtered to permit or deny whatever content they want to get in or come out.

    I seriously doubt the number of gateways will be zero. They may try to do it with just one, if some foolish
  • if it breaks the monopoly that the USA has taken for itself of the root DNS. It is quite simple to resolve, just have your DNS resolving scan both the ICANN root DNS and the chinese ones; as long as they don't serve up the same Top Level Domains there will not be a problem.

    What would be a problem was if china started handing out IP addresses that had been allocated elsewhere.

  • by code65536 (302481) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @02:31PM (#14819470) Homepage Journal
    I read both links, and I have to say that it's very cryptic. I think something got lost in the translation, but here is what *I* think they were saying...

    They are creating new TLDs to supplement .com and .net. The new TLDs will be composed of Chinese characters, so instead of blah.com, you'll have blah.[X][X] where [X] represents a Chinese character. If this is all that they are doing--creating new non-ASCII TLDs--then there wouldn't be much in the way of conflict with the existing .com and .net structure.

    But as I said, the language is confusing at best and I'm not sure if this is what they are really intending.

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