Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
The Internet

FSF Proposes .gnu TLD To ICANN 326

n3rd writes "It looks like the Free Software Foundation would like a .gnu TLD (Top Level Domain) in order to 'expand the name space, particularly for individuals and software developers who cannot find the name they want from .com, .net or .org'. If additional TLDs are going to be added, shouldn't they be more 'generic' so everyone can make use of them, not just the OSS community?" No. I want the TLD "Dot". Please? With Sugar on Top?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FSF Proposes .gnu TLD To ICANN

Comments Filter:
  • Er, what happens to DNS in this case? Namely, how are the root-level name servers allocated -- by first letter (varying load, no doubt...), or something else?
  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @12:07PM (#938904)
    So what good then does it do to add more domains without registration restrictions?

    In fact, I think that ought to be the criterion used to judge whether a proposed TLD is appropriate:

    1. Does this TLD represent some potential group of sites, across multiple separate organizations, that logically should be grouped together?
    2. Do the existing TLDs fail to provide for this grouping or is there a reason for a parallel to one of them with a different administrative body at the top?

    I can see creating country and language specific TLDs so that registrations can be handled by someone acting under the same legal system and speaking the same language. But that has already been done. How fine do we need to slice it?
  • or you can combine a .gnu site and a porn site and get:

  • This whole mess reminds me of Stallman's previous snafu over li-gnu-x vs. linux.

    For the uninitiated, Stallman complained that Linux used much of gnu's software (gcc compiler, utilities, etc) yet was named for the creator of its kernel (Linus Torvalds), not really giving Stallman's group proper credit.

    So Stallman proposed changing the name from linux to lignux, and this was actually done in protest in a ./configure script somewhere in a gnu utility (was it emacs? I can't recall).

    This kind of self-serving garbage is not especially useful. However, the idea of a TLD is not bad, but it should be a TLD like .free -- somethat that could be set up to allow both for advocacy and more transparent signalling to the common person, since .gpl, .gnu, .fsf etc... mean nothing to the masses.

  • Consumer Project on Technology/ Essential Information's proposal for new top level domain names (including .sucks and others) was submitted to ICANN on June 10.

    This [] and other "expressions of interest" can be viewed on ICANN's website [].

    Additionally, CPT maintains a website [] about new tldn's.

    - Vergil

  • I'd personally like to see TLDs opened up to anyone and everyone. That way, you'd have less trouble with corporations and strong-arm tactics, because they seriously couldn't register in each and every tld. In this scenario I could, for example, register a .jcd TLD. It would make the www a far more interesting place, and effectively eliminate the problem of limited space in the big three TLDs.

    Of course, this probably won't happen, given that consumer interests are not held in the highest regard by ICANN. Corporations tend to have rather a lot of representation. Given how North American society is, I don't see this changing anytime soon.

    Unfortunate, really.
  • Can you imagine the outrage if someone proposed .msft? .att? .sun?
    Outrage?!? Hell, I'm all for it! What the hell purpose does .com serve nowadays? Absolutely nothing. The same company ends up buying, and anyways. When I type a URL in my web browser, I never bother typing the .com anymore.

    I think allowing arbitrary top-level domains would be the best thing.

  • Reminds me of the e-mail address

  • I read a Bob Metcalfe article in InfoWorld [] where he proposed junking the .com, .org, .net, etc. TLDs and just keeping the country codes. I like this idea. Each country controls its own domain, and can apply whatever bizarre local interpretation of trademark law it has to its domain names. Corporations would need to register in every country in which they want a virtual presence.

    The paperwork alone should keep cybersquatting to a minimum...

  • by HerrNewton ( 39310 ) <thoiigd3pn5p25001@sneake m a> on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:12AM (#938920) Homepage
    Will this take to happen. Seriously. People have been badmittoning ideas for new TLDs around for at least 5 years. I think we really need to see .sex or .xxx before we see .gnu, though I do admit it would be cool for prestige.

  • People seem to have fogotten the purpose of TLD's. They were intended to divide the Internet into broad groups such as .org for organizations, .edu for schools, .gov for government, specific foreign countries, etc. Having an infinite number of TLDs completely overrides their purpose.
  • by zorgon ( 66258 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:13AM (#938925) Homepage Journal
    .gnu, .bsd, .lnx ... ???

    Naw, don't think so. We need unifying domains, not ones to split 'us' up more -- that only suits the purposes of the direct marketroid collective. This is a dumb idea. Sorry, .rms ;)

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • GNU does not deserve a TLD after 15 years of work for the community and a pity attempt to get something from the corporations does?

    Well,heck, if you're going by that metric, better give one to Dr. Dobbs Journal - they've been indulging in promoting the free software community since 1976. Note the date: that's before it was even a twinkle in Stallman's eye.

    Read the latest issue for more on this.

  • Right now, there is only one dot-com domain (and net TLD, now generally used as a second-class .com). So if someone registers, well, there's that. But if there are an infinite number of TLDs, no one can possibly take them all. Reasonably speaking, there's going to be a large-but-finite number, and taking all of the good ones is still an extremely expensive proposition.

    I'm not proposing that anyone can get exclusive use of a TLD, as you seem to assume in your example.

    As for trademarks: there currently seems to be the weird assumption that anyone with a trademark is entitled to Perhaps I'm being optimistic, but I'm hoping that with a more open namespace, this special-status assumption would go away.


  • You seem to really like using this quote, although I suspect that RMS never said it. Do you have some sort of personal attachment to the subject matter or something? You seem quite infatuated with it.

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • What? A proposal, not a "Sure thing, we'll get right on it." I really doubt this will go through for the same reasons that the submittor suggested - this would apply only to a small community on the web. Most of the people who use the web have never heard of GNU. TLDs are needed to support huge numbers of domains... but the great majority of people who want domain names for their sites do not want .gnu But they've heard of "commercial" "organization" and "network." Yes, it would be wonderful for us, but I doubt it will come to be.

    I don't wnat to discourage this, I just want to be realistic.
  • If the same project was supported with a different name, say .egal, would you support it?
  • might be worth a try if you aren't too greedy (charge less than taking you to court, and unless you had a lot of dosh or a good law degree you would lose).

    In the end most big companies are going to buy up all the TLD's to protect their brandname, and it makes sense, if you have, what is the chance you are going to lose half your customers the second time they visit and type .com instead. Same with any other TLD that comes along.

    ccTLDs make some sense, and a lot of good could be done by scrapping the current .us one and replacing it with something slightly more sensible than (or whatever it is).

    Personally though I think the Usenet hierarchy makes more sense, for a start it drills down e.g. comp.lang.perl (2000/07/12 not 12/07/2000) and it is expandable to allow for future additions. Although it has it's problems too, I'd say that if anyone can come up with a really good alternative, well...

    ...ok, probably everyone's going to ignore them and they will die poor and bitter, but you never know.

    oh yeah, .gnu that is just silly

  • The TLD was loss years ago. Just as IP4 was.

    Start a new.

    Maybe have the UN have a copyright / trademark office. You get a global mark from them. So .coke can be owned by coke cola for world wide rights (saves alot in local lawyers)

    Then get back local .us and to handle smaller business in a local area. This does not mean that some one can take your local name world-wide use it - you have the right to first refusal.

    We the US can finally free the Internet of US centric. .com is US thing, .ca is a canda thing, so .us should be US thing only. .com should die die die.

    Now order comes back, oh this is all of course realy under the .earth, so new space station will be .low-earth :-)

    And while we are at it IP6 reverse the 254. for the xxx group 253. for casino.

  • Can you imagine the outrage if someone proposed .msft? .att? .sun?

    Can you imagine Stallman's outrage when Disney registers disney.gnu? He won't have any say in who does or does not get a .gnu domain, so it will just turn into another reason for him to start more boycotts.


  • Check out the USPTO trademark FAQ []. Some examples at random: Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Hand tools, Vehicles, Housewares, Advertising and business, Insurance and financial, Telecommunications, Education and entertainment.


  • GNU already does offer net resources to a lot of GNU projects. For any given GNU package, you have a high probability of getting a 2xx response from . Try gdb, gcc, bash, etc. Furthermore, there is the enormous collection of software at .
  • There is no shortage of money to pay for "internet infrastructure". Besides, why should top-levels be the exclusive province of the rich?

    I say what we really need is a TLD expressly for non-commercial purposes. ".free" or something like it. Run by volunteers and a voting membership - not unlike Usenet. Cybersqatters could be voted out of their domains. Spammers are by definition, commercial, and are not eligible. Evidence of commercial activity would be grounds for revocation.

  • by Chalst ( 57653 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @01:05PM (#938964) Homepage Journal
    Well, it doesn't if you read his bpost a little further. He proposes using the alphabet as a natural hierarchy. I rather like that idea.
  • by dweezil ( 116568 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @12:25PM (#938971)

    Allow anything to be used as a TLD.

    HOWEVER, still require registrations to consist of domain name + TLD. i.e., you must still sumbit both parts to constitute a single registration application. The TLD itself cannot be registered to anyone. and remains open for anyone to use.

    I like the idea, but it breaks the hierarchical nature of DNS. Each "." in a machine name delimits a "zone of authority". With out any cacheing, you have to ask a root server for a server that can answer .org queries. Then you ask that server for a server that can answer queries. Lastly you ask that server for the address of Normally, most of this data is cached in the lower levels of the hierarchy, giving use reasonable DNS performance as well as managability.

    As good as this idea is, it won't be adopted any time soon because of the infrastructure changes needed to support an unlimited number of TLDs.

  • Yes. This is exactly why trademarks should not apply to domain names ever -- trademarks are ONLY meaningful/valid in context.

    As for the www.tld problem -- that's really only an artifact of the current system. Perhaps as a work-around, the "www" second-level domain would be disallowed in the new scheme.


  • You may be mostly sarcastic, but I think you capture the sense of what .gnu should be.
    helloword.gnu would be a good spot for `hello world' in a large variety of languages.
    microsoft.gnu would contain most of the NT Server Resource kit, seems like. Another pointer to would not be acceptable use of microsoft.gnu.
    To be viable it would need be inclusive of the BSDs. The whole point of gnu (gnu's not unix) is to sidestep the trademark issues on the name unix. Seems like .gnu should be much more inclusive than
  • go visit
  • No, I'm "down on this" because I don't think that many organisations, if at all, could justify this. And if there were, they'd certainly be bigger than the FSF.

    And I don't think "because free software people can't get the .net/.com/.org that they want" is a justification. I can't either, but I'm not petitioning for a TLD. Something to do with supply and demand. Someone beat me to the domain(s) I wanted.

  • This is a far, far better idea, if you ask me. I can't help but wonder if this is a publicity thing. FSF/GNU may have a (very) strong role in Open Source/Free software, but it is not the only entity. *.mpl, *.al (artistic licence)?
  • by phil reed ( 626 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:14AM (#938987) Homepage
    If Gnu gets that far into the mainstream, I predict massive confusion.

    "Go to"

    "Did you say .new?"

    "No, .gnu."



  • > With infinite TLDs, there's ...

    You wouldn't have infinite TLDs.

    I have experimentally discovered (using MSIE5 as an example) that the url box can be filled with up to 1033 characters. Allowing for "http://" and only a single character for the domain name itself you are still only left with 1024 chars for the TLD. (hmm. 1kb - is that a coincidence)

    Now, assuming all alphas and the numbers 0-9 there are 35^1024 possible TLDs.

    That's only about 1.33 x 10^1581. Microsoft could easily register that many.

  • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:46PM (#938993)
    Do you even know what a heirarchical name space is? A flat name space? No. You are just a complete fuckwit mouthing off about something you know nothing about.

    And what wanker moderators gave this tosspot a score of 5?

    If you want to see what *should* be done with the DNS system have a look at the following link:

  • by Paradox ( 13555 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:15AM (#938995) Homepage Journal
    It's not like the current TLD's are respected. Lots of .coms don't sell anything, and lots of .orgs aren't really organizations, and lots of .nets are just people who couldn't find the name they wanted in .com!

    What to do? Add more TLDs? I say why the hell not? It's not like they are anything more than cosmetic anyways these days.
    - Paradox
    Man of the C!!!
  • by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @01:27PM (#938997) Homepage
    Here's an interesting (and probably terrible) idea - have domain costs increase based on the number of domains you own. Say, standard rates for the first ten or so, then start raising the prices . . . Can anyone here think of a legit business that needs more than ten domain names? And it'd slow down the "domain shotgunning" a LOT, when the 100th domain costs upwards of $30K, and rising :)
  • by timotten ( 5411 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @02:59PM (#938999) Homepage
    If the ICANN board adopts a sponsorship [] model for special purpose TLDs, and a .gnu domain is authorized, then the FSF would likely gain a good deal of authority over registrations.

    I think that Free and Open Source Software movments are taking up a good deal of the second-level name space, and predictably so, given the high level of net-savvy among FS and OSS advocates. Supporters of this type of development certainly span the spectrum from non-profit organizations through corporations and into academia. The creation of a TLD for FS/OSS would be a good courtesy to the rest of the world.

    Notably, however, .gnu would be affiliated with RMS and his Free Software Movement. Second-level domains may very well be limited to sites that accept an FSF attitude connecting free software to free speech.

    This would be another FSF-sponsored perk that encourages developers to endorse copyleft. Imagine: Gimp.gnu, gnome.gnu, emacs.gnu, and gcc.gnu all become well-known URLs. The FSF could offer a free second-level domain name in this special TLD to young developers who adopt FSF principles.

    OSS advocates, BSD advocates, and others who view Stallman may be specifically excluded. They may want their own TLD -- and who knows, if RMS can get his, why can't ESR?

    The creation of a .gnu TLD could:

    (a) Consolidate free software web sites under a common TLD -- freeing up SLDs under .com and .org and .net.

    (b) Leverage a potentially popular TLD to encourage (at a minimum) lip service to the FSF.

    (c) Catalyze the conflict that RMS, ESR, et al perceive between free software movements.

    I'll be intrigued by ICANN's eventual decision on this.
  • I doubt he'd be happy to hear that. He has reluctantly 'approved' other licences as being "Free", but would much rather everyone used The One True Licence(TM). *sigh*
  • it's Stallman and the GNU Project. Plus, the "rules" for the domain could be that only Free Software can be used. It would be a good way of knowing that you are dealing with the right people, kind of like a Good Housekeeping Seal.

    Imagine that you have the choice between shopping at or Amazon.gnu. Which one do you choose? What message does that send to the world at large? A good one, I'd think...

  • Maybe a more generic TLD for Free Software would be better to avoid the inevitable complaining from non-GNU folks. Then again maybe we need to rethink the "very few in number" TLD approach considering
  • U.S. DOC's NIST subcontracted the IANA function to ICANN. OK, so if you care about the history, check out these links...
  • I hadn't thought of the www.tld issue. I can think of two work-around solutions.

    First, enforce (technically, not legally, of course) the RFC, which specifies that a domain name is NOT a hostname. This would require the holder of www.cocacola to actually put their website at www.www.cocacola (or something like that), which would look silly and defeat the problem.

    Or, we could simply make www disallowed as a second-level domain. I think that would probably remove the issue.


  • Unless the control of registration in the .gnu domain is turned over to the FSF, I see no advantage to this. If control is turned over to the FSF, many people will cry fowl.

    And rightly so if you ask me. Why should an organisation cry freedom but yet have a monopoly/control over something like this? Freedom means that anyone can register anything. If I want to set up my website, http://www.anti.gnu and my registration was blocked, I would be Not Impressed(TM). The words censorship and hypocrisy would be springing very quickly to mind.

  • by pforce ( 127543 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:17AM (#939025) Homepage
    Originally the TLDs existed to help sort out sites by their content.. e.g. .org's were supposed to be for non-profit organizations. This didn't quite happen, now did it? If this were the case, wouldn't go to the same place as So what good then does it do to add more domains without registration restrictions? Without these, you can be sure microsoft.gnu is going to go to the same site as right now.
  • by Fred Ferrigno ( 122319 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @03:19PM (#939026)
    Unownable TLDs also ENDS the "domain brokering" business because specific domains cease to possess any value. If you have,, and, you can demand high $$$ from any foo entities. With infinite TLDs, there's always an alternative choice.

    Not quite. I can still snatch up,,, etc. and sell them all for lots of money. All this does, really, is strip the ".com" and add a dot somewhere in the middle. Someone will still have the common names, as the bidding war moves from to linux.gnu.

    If you want a common domain + TLD combo, you're still going to have to fight with everyone else just as we fight over .com. There is a near infinite amount of .com domains already, provided you don't want an obvious one. is available, but you don't see Apple gearing up to snatch it. The domain war has never been about the shear number of available domain names, but the number of recognizable names, which won't change without regulation.

    This doesn't solve the trademark issue either: Apple (as the richest of all Apple * companies) will snatch up all the obvious Apple related names (,, etc.). If I go to, am I looking to buy actual apples or Apple hardware and software? Who decides? And does Apple own everything in the .apple TLD because its trademark is in the name?

    Anyway, if it ever goes through, I'm going only going to get stuff in the *.tld TLD, for obvious humor-related reasons. (domain.tld anyone?)
  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:17AM (#939028) Homepage
    No. I want the TLD "Dot". Please? With Sugar on Top?

    aych tee tee pee colon slash slash slash dot dot dot

    There's trouble.
  • by 11223 ( 201561 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:19AM (#939044)
    If this is the case, why don't they start with offering a name of *, for example, It'd be much easier to convince ICANN of the usefuleness of the .gnu domain if there's already a lot of * domains, and they could all be switched over immediately.

    I think that the Free Software Foundation is a little late on the ball in supporting the community - they needed to have something like this years before. Unfortunately, most FSF software is done cathedral-style, and that's why Open Source is a stronger idea - because it builds a community. I can get *, but GNU has up until now made no moves towards supporting the Free Software community - which is why there isn't one.

    I'll support the community that supports me, thank you. In the mean time, push for a .oss for open source software.

  • I'm sorry you feel this way, and I'm really sorry you feel you have to be vulgar about it. However, you're wrong about my ignorance of the topic. Having an arbitrary number of TLDs does not make a flat namespace -- I didn't say TLDs should be abolished. Look at the way Usenet works these days -- ignoring the problems with spam, etc. -- there are many small special-purpose hierarchies (like gnu., or linux., or 3dfx.), yet that certainly doesn't make it a flat namespace


  • There is a LOT of Free Software out there that is not GNU or GPL'ed or anything similar. In fact, I've shipped a fully functional embedded product without a byte of GNU or GPL'ed code, so it's not impossible to find lots of non GNU stuff out there.

    I really don't think we need to pollute the TLD namespace any futher by adding a TLD for one group's software movement. If anything, make it a more generic name like .soft or something. I really think .org fits nicely for this sort of thing. Almost every GNU project is a "non profit organization", so why not use .org?

    If Microsoft wanted .msft, everyone would be screaming. Why is this collection of software any different in the terms of DNS?

    (flame suit on)

    -- Kevin
  • by Ron Harwood ( 136613 ) <[ac.xunil] [ta] [rdoowrah]> on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:19AM (#939060) Homepage Journal
    No. I want the TLD "Dot". Please? With Sugar on Top?

    Why? So you can have "slash dot dot dot"? Or the domain Let's go a level further and have ....

    Throw in some dashes and you have morse code!
  • Hell no! It sounds too much like egalite. I want to be the best that I can be. Egalite is synonymous with mediocrite. If I can't be as good as you, the only way we can be equal is if I pull you down.
  • ".dot" is pretty silly, but I recently saw this email address:

  • Why can't the FSF simply sell/provide namespace under instead? They don't *need* a TLD to provide namespace for those who can't find namespace in .com, .net, or .org.

    Even better, the FSF will get to keep all proceeds from providing names under, instead of forking over money to a registrar for each .gnu that they would register.

    (Unless FSF plans on an alternate method of administering a TLD, which clearly ICANN isn't even close to considering. Jeez, they're still considering how to consider *adding* long will it take them to consider how to consider administering the consideration of considering administration of new TLDs?)

  • The FSF need merely convince RedHat, SuSE, Debian &al to ship Linux, ahem, GNU/Linux distributions with named (BIND) enabled by default and the appropriate delegation entry in the /etc/named.conf file. After all, all the computers I administrate have the pointers to the AlterNIC []'s root servers for the domains they serve (such as .PORN).

    Remember: the power lies not with they who operate the root servers but with they who call them root servers.

    Ha, ha, only serious. []

  • You are happy because of the freedom you have with Linux or because AT&T decided to give you Plan 9?

    I am happy that AT&T has the freedom to release Plan 9 under any license they want. I am happy that RMS has not achieved his goal of eliminating individual liberty.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    .tar.gz ?
  • The article had a broken link to the proposals [].

    My favorite is the one from eNom [] featuring the following:

    7. Don't roll out another .com first: If people could only buy food from just one guy, and that guy is required to sell beef (lets say he has a government concession on selling beef, so that he is the only one ably supply food, and it must be beef) then he would have a monopoly, which would be a bad thing, because people would starve if they did not buy beef from him. But then, if you want to introduce competition and other foods slowly, would it be wise to next introduce another competitor who can only sell ever-so-slightly different beef, or, one who could only sell potatoes? By letting the potato guy into the food market next, you not only provide competition to beef (people will not starve if they do not buy beef), but also introduce other benefits as well (a more nutritious and balanced diet for example). Only later, after say introducing apples, chicken, cheese, ice cream, grits, salad, sushi, lobster, gummy-bears, and beer, would it be wise to introduce more beef producers, to provide competition in the beef part of the food market. It would never be wise to introduce spinach, by the way.

    This is obviously the guy I want handling my TLD.

  • by IntelliTubbie ( 29947 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:24AM (#939079)
    Is RMS really so arrogant as to think ICANN will create a TLD devoted to his organization? Let's be real: GNU is a brand, and if any other brand tried to pull this kind of stunt, we'd be screaming bloody murder about the Internet succumbing to private interests. Can you imagine the outrage if someone proposed .msft? .att? .sun?

    So I say: .gnu -- not in a million years.
  • Acutally, all the existing TLD's were created prior to the 'great domain name buildout'. As we all know, there are four TLDs plus the various country codes. Whose to say how the remaining countries are going to like a US-centric new TLD (like the big 4: com, org, net, gov. It may happen that all new TLD entries will have to be under (to the left of) .US.

    - another cosmic ray -
  • Since this is a "top" level domain, and should be inclusive, I'd recomend a better domain listing would be .gpl, under which all gnu public liscenced software could put theircode and projects, if they wanted. Linux, Slashdot's code, OpenGL for Java, and all the various projects could go there. But maybe that's not enough. Perhaps it should be inclusive enough for all free-code free-software products, like bsd, apache, mozilla, and gnu software.

  • Dear Mr Stallman,

    In reference to your proposal [] for a .gnu TLD, we are currently examining rules and policies for extending the TLD namespace, not accepting individual applications for new TLDs. Rest assured your suggestion that we permit expansion of the namespace is being taken with all seriousness: indeed, I can go so far as to guarantee that we will not be considering any policies which reduce the existing namespace, and we would consider no change to be no progress.

    On the other hand, although we are familiar with the Free Software Foundation and its not unsubstantial contribution to the public good in terms of free software, we would like some clarification on your proposal. We note that there are a substantial number of free software projects released by individuals and organisations other than the FSF, and although a substantial number of these identify with GNU in spirit, many do not. A number of questions arise from this.

    1. Must software be released under the GPL specifically in order to qualify for a .gnu TLD name?
      1. If so, then why should the GPL be granted such special treatment compared to other licenses?
      2. If not, then what criteria do you propose?
      3. In either case, do you think it fair that other free licenses (such as BSD) will be either excluded or offered a GNU name, as opposed to having their own TLD?
    2. Do you propose that all licenses be given their own TLD?
    3. Why should free software be given such special treatment, when most such projects already have domain names in .com, .org, or .net? Why .gnu when you already have

    Your clarification on these issues will be appreciated.


  • RMS KUNG FU []
  • What if somebody who is NOT very OSS-freindly wants to register a .gnu domain? Given that it is now SOP to register a domain in .com,.org, and .net, what will prevent Microsoft from registering microsoft.gnu?

    Unless the control of registration in the .gnu domain is turned over to the FSF, I see no advantage to this. If control is turned over to the FSF, many people will cry fowl. You just cannot win (Thermodynamics, Law 1)
  • We're seeing a huge shift away from limited 7-bit ASCII to full 8-bit ASCII, and on to larger character sets to handle non-Western alphabets. Lets not take a conceptual step backwards to "the American alphabet is a "natural" encoding," please.

    (Yes, I'm an American. Always have been.)
  • by CMiYC ( 6473 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:25AM (#939103) Homepage
    "ICANN is not considering TLD proposals.... (We) are still considering the policies for considering them," Dyson said in an email message to Wired News.

    As the article states, ICANN is not really accepting proposals for new TLDs. They are still developing policies for considering them. So although new TLDs like .gnu or .kids might sound like a good idea... its going to be a while before they even CONSIDER them....

  • I personally think we should take the time to completely rethink the whole system before we add more TLDs.

    Why not a system like:



    Add to this a more involved and enforced structure for TLDs, and we'll be in business. How about this:

    .com - Commercial entities .org - Non-profit entities .xxx - For porn sites .net - For ISPs and Internet infrastructure .edu - Educational facilities .gov - Government entities .per - Personal web sites

    This should be goverend overall by an international body (to determine TLDs) and a body in each country to determine proper assignment of the TLDs. Each entity should be able to take only one TLD per domain name (i.e. couldn't also get Existing trademark holders should get first crack at a domain name in the appropriate TLD, and if they opt not to get it, they relinquish the right to try to get it if someone else grabs it later. Domain name reselling should be made illegal (to prevent squatting).

    It's not a perfect system yet, I'm still mentally working it out. Please email me at if you have input as to how this could be improved (or have good ideas for TLDs). I'd also like ideas as to whom ideas should be presented of this nature.

  • by Mr T ( 21709 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @02:04PM (#939111) Homepage
    We could go through the databases and make sure all the .coms are really money making company or business type ventures. The .orgs are all actually non-profit and independant type groups. The .nets are all infrastructure providers. etc.. That alone should free up some .coms and .orgs. Then prohibit the use of a domain from .com on any other TLD if it is a registered trademark. Once microsoft buys there is no reason for or to be around, that should save the powers that be from fretting over extra TLDs. That is the crappy part, is taken but it'd sure be nice if John Q. Smith could take, but that's life. If they cleared it all up a little then you could add TLDs in a rational manner. There should be a .gnu, a .adult, there could be .family, .personal, .private for individuals and families. I'd even say that if you have a valid .com then you should be allowed to have a .store, .biz, .llc, .shoppe or some set of extra qualifications.

    Of course this is going to screw the lookup engines on the root servers which are optimized around having a small set of 3 letter TLDs.. It's fixable though.

    As a first step, I'd go for a .gnu. Free software makes the net run and is worthy of a .net of it's own. Since GNU is kind of a brand of free software maybe a .fs (free software) would be better.

  • A "flattened" namespace is just what the doctor ordered. Yes, the DNS system should be hierarchical, but no human is anal-compulsive
    enough to think that way, let alone follow the rules (why do you think we're in this mess in the first place?). Look at General Motors with their "" site (why not Because they didn't know about TLDs). It's easier to change how you represent things on the backend than it is to go and teach all the billions of people not currently using the internet how to use it as they start using it.

    When you want to ls a dir, do you type /bin/ls every time? No. You have a nice path statement to provide a level of flat namespace to you. Similarly, .com acts like the "commercial bin" for the internet, and allows people to "microsoft" or "yahoo" along. Forcing humans to use hierarchies when they don't think in them leads to problems with people who can't think that way. Plus, retyping all the Department of Redundancy, Redunancy Department locational information should be automated in the first place (we use computers because they lessen workload, not increase it)!

    The best solution would be to have the hierarchy imposed, but to have a nice equivalent to the path statement to make it easier for humans to use. Or a nice way of translating between human requests for information, and the "real" location of things.

    Humans always think in terms of relativity and relations, not hierarchy. That's why we have $HOME :-)
  • by wesmills ( 18791 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @05:19PM (#939118) Homepage
    And what about .arpa (yes a couple of sites still exist).

    Not according to the InterNIC's zone file, which is easily downloaded from []. A summarized version:

    ; The use of the Data contained in Network Solutions' aggregated
    ; .com, .org, and .net top-level domain zone files (including the checksum
    ; files) is subject to the restrictions described in the access Agreement
    ; with Network Solutions.

    (snip SOA)
    (snip 8 entries, B-I in order of H, C, G, F, B, I, E, D)
    (snip the above entries' IP addresses)
    (snip again, same order)
    ;End of file.

    So there are no sites under .arpa, just in-addr :)


  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:26AM (#939119) Homepage
    Then I can register hostname.domain.tld
    Yeah, I know it isn't funny. Go away.
  • by Superb0wl ( 205355 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:26AM (#939123) Homepage
    I was wondering what the word "Beaurocracy" meant when one of my co-workers mentioned it today, so i looked it up. here's a quote:
    "ICANN is not considering TLD proposals.... (We) are still considering the policies for considering them," Dyson said in an email message to Wired News.

  • Perhaps he wouldn't be. But the best types of people are those who can graciously accept criticism and not mindlessly attack or have emotional outbursts in response.
    I think that our community (Open Source) being so dependant upon his [RMS] blessing is slightly ridiculous. With a community brought together to promote peer growth and a equal tiered organization, why do we herald RMS so highly?
    Yes he has done great things, yes he has done things I would never do - some things I couldn't do. But he is just a man, he is fallible. I believe most often he is in error. I am still happy with the work (life) he has contributed. []
  • by Spazmoid ( 75087 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:27AM (#939126)
    I have said this before, and I will say it again, no TLD structure will work, unless those with authority over the TLD's and registration processes effectively verify that each registrant is using the TLD per it's definition.

    As it stands, the second they open up any new TLD's major corporations and domain squatters will grab up just about everything that is available.

    The definations for TLD's were good, but they were never adhered too, and currently I don't see any change to that.

    The whole system should now be ripped out, because as with anything else, it has become greedy mongering for www.mycorporation.everything.

    The tld's imposed organization ad structure that made sense, but no one had sense enough to stick with it. Granted, that cant really be blamed on any one person or organization as nobody forsaw the explosive persoronl and corporate growth of the internet untill it was already too late. Now it has grown so large that nothing at all is going to be done about TLD misuse ever, as anyone with money will feed their congressperson to oppose it.

    Gotta love corporate america. []
  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:27AM (#939128) Homepage
    There is NO technical reason not to allow ANY top-level domain. This would ease the "cybersquatting" issue (there are some cases where that's actually a legitimate complaint) and, interpretted in a rational way, would reduce the trademark silliness.

    So why isn't this even being considered? As far as I can tell, it's because big companies want to be guaranteed that they can get the second-level domain corresponding to their trademarks under ALL existing TLDs. This is ridiculous, and totally unlike the way trademarks act in the real world.

    (If I have a trademark on the word "Foo" for my brand of widgets, I can't stop you from using that trademark for an entirely different kind of product, and I certainly can't stop you from using it in conversation, or as a nickname, etc.)

    Increasingly, it seems that big-money interests see the digital age as a chance to extend their (government-given) intellectual property rights much much farther than they've ever been before -- taking more and more rights away from the individual.

    So sure, allow a .gnu TLD. Allow .cocacola and .microsoft and .foo and .sucks and .whateverelse.


  • TLDs representing the 40-some established classes of goods and services would be a start.


  • I understood him as meaning the letters a-z. There are standard
    translaterations for quoted and special characters (eg german uses ä
    -> ae, ö -> oe, etc.). For Chinese there is pinyan, and japanese has
    a standrad `into english lettering' encoding as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:31AM (#939147)

    Allow anything to be used as a TLD.

    HOWEVER, still require registrations to consist of domain name + TLD. i.e., you must still sumbit both parts to constitute a single registration application. The TLD itself cannot be registered to anyone. and remains open for anyone to use.

    This would END squatting because it would be impossible for Microsoft, etc. to register all forms of Microsoft.* as doing so would require infinite money.

    This also allows same named entities to coexist. Apple Records can have apple.records. Apple computer can have apple.computers. A farmer in WA can have apple.farms. While another company can have foster.farms.

    Unownable TLDs also ENDS the "domain brokering" business because specific domains cease to possess any value. If you have,, and, you can demand high $$$ from any foo entities. With infinite TLDs, there's always an alternative choice.

    How to implement this from a tech POV? Use the first letter of the TLD to divide up the TLDs among the root servers to balance the load. Subdivide for common letters.

    Will ICANN do this? Heck no. Bidding wars over limited domains generates big $$$. And trademark holders like the idea of "buying up all variations of our name so no one else can use it". So between the $$$ and politics, I suppose this sensible suggestion will never happen.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. RMS will try to sell this on the basis that the GNU project contains many sub-projects, with many authors, but the point is the same: Free Software is the movement, not GNU. GNU doesn't deserve the TLD, but maybe there should be a .oss.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • That still has the problem with overlapping trademarks -- trademarks are only unique within their class, and non-registered trademarks (tm instead of (r)) are limited by geography as well. There's a few famous marks (Coca Cola is probably one) but many many trademarks are re-used. Plus, there are a lot of commmon organizational terms which happen to be a trademark for one reason or another.


  • by IntelliTubbie ( 29947 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:32AM (#939155)
    I want the following domains:
    • brandspankin.gnu
    • out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the.gnu
    • spiro-a.gnu
  • The current .com servers seem to be handling things okay -- that's gotta be the vast majority of requests. Having more TLDs would allow things to be *more* heirarchical, and actually improve the situation.

    And the problem with the last bit is that company names aren't unique, and certainly aren't unique globally.


  • It would be interesting to try to explain to someone that is a great site. They'll think you cant speak straight! "no really one of the slashes is a word and only one dot is a period". It'll be great!
  • Rules schmules. No rules are actually applied to domain names, they're simply there as a useful way for web-surfers to find what they're looking for. You'll notice that this is still, although .com works too. This is not enforced now, and it would not be for .gnu either.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • [com, org, net, gov, mil, edu...]

    Don't forget .int [] (international), the quintessential top-level domain.

  • by The Big Bopper ( 150305 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:43AM (#939176) Homepage
    Really what they should do is provide hostname entries under or rather than cluttering up namespace with yet another TLD. There is no need for a .gnu TLD, and the FSF is really showing some audacity to think that they deserve one.
  • it gets worse when your subnet is named "dot" or "slash" like
  • This problem could easily be taken care of once versions of BIND (and other name servers) which support DNAME become readily available. For those of you who haven't heard of it, a DNAME is similar to a CNAME, except that it works for an entire domain. I.e. .new could be a DNAME for .gnu so that would be in a way a CNAME for

    My $.02

  • by wishus ( 174405 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:46AM (#939186) Journal
    The most needed TLD right now is .alt

    that way all the crazy stuff that's not good for "normal healthy americans" can hang out there unmolested.

    on top of that we need a law saying you can't sue someone over their .alt domain.

  • But what do I know. I program mainframes in COBOL.

    I want to see .390 TLD

    But what do I know, I program mainframes in assembler (and C) :)


  • by gfoyle ( 103123 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:38AM (#939192)

    This is the way to keep domains meaningful (or as meaningless as the DNS guru of the SLD cares to make it). It is how things are done in the .US TLD. Volunteers came forward to handle various cities and to distrbute the domains for those municipalities. If was willing to let software developers have third level domains, I could go to and know I would get the site(s) for ssh tools. The same holds true for movies; is 10^6 times better than AND it gives fox a little publicity to boot. Too many TLDs is just asking for trouble (although I think we need more than 3).

  • Okay, so you failed to demonstrate how this would ease cybersquatting or trademark silliness, but here's why it would be a catastrophically bad idea to open up the TLDs to everyone.

    If you allow anyone to register whatever TLD they want, what's the difference between that and only having one TLD? You're just moving the problem upstream a level.

    But you've worsened the problem, because you can't just run to a different higher-level domain (eg taking when is taken), because there *is* no higher level.

    No. The answer, instead, is to create new TLDs, and regulate them better this time (only allowing nonprofits in .org, for example).

  • There is NO technical reason not to allow ANY top-level domain. This would ease the "cybersquatting" issue
    Not really. Everyone would try and squat on www.cocacola or whatever. And you'd have the same disputes about whether such-and-such is a universal trade mark, just moved up from the second level domain to the TLD.
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:40AM (#939200) Homepage
    It's been widely speculated that the reasons .biz and .arts and the other .vapor TLDs never came to pass is because of pressure from business groups who want to ensure the namespace becomes as small as possible to ensuring nobody infringes their copyrights/trademarks/whatever. The more new TLDs we have, the more different variations on their name Disney and the 300 other agressively defensive businesses have to register. (of course, the fact that every corporation simply registers itself in every single TLD defeats the purpose of new TLDs in the first place, but whatever.)

    If you take it as given that the above paragraph is actually true, then .gnu has a pretty good chance of getting approved. After all, make a TLD in which each group must be certified as open-source, and you neatly throw out the problem of copyright disputes. I mean, orgainize nothing but free/open software and you don't have domains with copyrighted names, because all the projects are copylefted. Hence, no worries for the Men In Suits, who feel reassured by the fact the TLD isn't open to all comers. Hence, no political/monetary "pressure" on ICANN. Hence, nothing bars it, and the OSS people get a TLD.

    Now, of course, you could claim that they [the Suited People] would be scared more, because free software people tend to defend their copylefted ground rather fiercely, but you'd be wrong. A .gnu TLD may result in some Etoy Vs Etoys type disputes, but in the end the fact is that there will never be a coca-cola.gnu or ford.gnu or a microsoft.gnu-- and no huge corporations feeling "threatened". (silly word to use there, i know..)

    (oh, and on that last note: what if a company does _some_ open source but not _all_? Apple, as part of their Darwin project, has released code under their own APSL but has also given out [or at least is about to give out] some code *cough* *cough* EGCS enhancements *cough* as GPLed (mostly for the purpose of being integrated into an existing GPLed codebase..). Based on this, should apple get an apple.gnu TLD to map to, even though the majority of the software there is not actually GPLed?)

    As for "does the FSF deserve a TLD"..? well, hell, they give them to countries, right? I honestly think that the GNU foundation has a bigger impact on geopolitics than Christmas Island [].
    Unfortunately the whole question becomes very painful when you bring up the question of What About BSD? and What About Qt/KDE? I'd like to hope any TLD made will have a more loose definition of "free" than "the GPL". [i like the LGPL better personally, but that's a flamewar for another day..].. In other words i'd just be a hell of a lot happier with .fsf than with .gnu, because .gnu implies less [and avoids the pronunciation problems mentioned in earlier threads..]
  • by Amphigory ( 2375 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @11:41AM (#939205) Homepage
    I think anyone should be able to start a TLD. For a massive fee. Say a minimum of $1 Million/yr, which could be used (please don't laugh -- I mean it) to pay for internet infrastructure. Obviously, the really popular one would have to be auctioned off or something similar. A few ground rules would have to be things like "in the event of a trademark dispute, the tld is canceled forever with no refund, so make damn sure you own the trademark."


  • Anyone should be able to create a TLD, if they can set up a root-level name server for that TLD, prove that they can operate that root-level name server properly, prove that they can provide a 100% reliable connection to that root-level name server, and prove that they have a reasonable potential market for that TLD. (For example, .gnu is probably too narrow for a TLD, while .oss is probably sufficiently broad.)

    Each TLD owner (and there should be exactly one owner per TLD) should be required to impose (or not) and enforce restrictions on the nature of owners of domain in their TLD. For example, .com addresses should not be given out to entities not legally registered as corporations, partnerships, proprietorships or the like. This would be more likely if there were one owner per TLD, and they were legally responsible for ensuring that domains they issue conform to the guidelines under which the TLD was created.

    The existing TLDs should be destroyed as meaningless, and recreated under the above guidelines. .net would still be useful if limited to organizations which exist to provide network connectivity (ISPs, telecom companies) or services (ASPs, registrars). .com probably needs to be broken into several domains, by either geography or the type of for-profit entity. .edu needs to apply to more than just post-secondary institutions, and probably needs to be broken down geographically.

    The number of domains owned by a given entity should be limited.

    Each legal entity capable of issuing and enforcing trademarks should have a domain within an appropriate TLD for trademarks. For example, for trademarks issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Then you could register, and there would be no possibility of confusion with Then, refuse to allow anyone to register domains in the .tm.* domains except for the responsible trademark office.

    These changes would, collectively, greatly increase the utility of the namespace in today's environment (as opposed to the pre-commercial environment in which the in-use namespace was conceived) and reduce confusion and lawsuits (as well as cybersquatting, if the limitations on the number of domains was done well). Of course, it will never happen, since it would require a big renaming. Maybe 10 years ago it could have been done, but a second Great Renaming now is probably not possible.

  • This is certainly not without precedent, the domain is owned just like any other .com domain but provides subdomains to other companies in much the same way that Nominet do with the official domains
  • RMS should register the "g" domain from .nu ( pretty close to TLD:)
  • by Devil ( 16134 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2000 @12:31PM (#939218) Homepage
    The problem is that we'll have the same domain squatting that we've had in the past, and we will have solved nothing.

    For example, I recently saw in 2600 Magazine how Verizon (the result of the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger) registered something like seven hundred domains, all with "Verizon" in them... even insulting ones, like "". They had registered all these domains under the .com, .net and .org TLDs. When the 2600 guys couldn't register "", they registered "". In response, Verizon sent them a letter informing them of their violation of trademark laws. Read all about it straight from the horse's mouth []. (This brings up the point: If Verizon registered "", could that be considered to be fraudulently using my name? I mean, after all, if I can't register a domain with THEIR name, would I/should I let them register a domain with MY name in it?)

    Anyway, simply adding a new TLD will just mean that they register there, too.

    The only way a .gnu TLD would be worth adding is if we, the Open Source community, somehow controlled it, so we could attempt to keep cybersquatters out, without compromising the freedom of it. Perhaps in order to GET a .gnu domain, you must PRODUCE something under the GNU Public License.

    Hey, maybe one day we'll all open up Slashdot to find that Microsoft wants to register "microsoft.gnu"! Ha!

    Two final point of interest, somewhat related to this story/thread:

    1. The policy of InterNIC [] USED to be $70US for two years (or $35US per year). This was a FLAT fee. Unfortunately, thanks to the agreement [] reached between ICANN and NSI last year, NSI can charge whatever it likes (well, presumably within reason). So how long do you think it'll be before NSI puts up its own "domain auction" site? Before you know it,, and will be owned by Ted Turner (or someone like him; I have nothing against Mr. Turner), and would cost you thousands of dollars to get back.
    2. I find it VERY unnerving that, one of the new domain registrars, is an "affiliate" of, a company who basically buys and sells domains to the highest bidder. I happen to own "" (no, there's nothing there... I haven't gotten around to it), and registering it cost me $70US. No more, no less. But, according to, the domain "" would cost me $250,000US! Is that a rip-off, or what?

    I'm interested to hear what others have to say about the topic. Reply here, or e-mail me [mailto].
    Robert Dumas

  • Forgive my ignorance ... name some of these classes, this is interesting.

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • H is actually spelled "Aitch". The reason I know this is because I was watching a spelling bee on ESPN of all channels, and they got to the finals. The poor girl was given the word "H". It was sadly pathetic to watch her ask for it to be used in a sentence, ask it's etamology, etc. So that's how I know how to spell "Aitch."

    This is coming from someone who's /. sig used to be "I hate spelling and grammar nazis". Then again, there are two spelling errors in this message, and one paradox.
  • The DNS isn't meant to be a directory service. That's what dmoz [] is for.

    How is having any TLD more confusing than, say, allowing human beings to have any last name? (Imagine the trouble if we were restricted to "Hi, I'm Matthew Com...")


In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982