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The Internet

Karl Auerbach Profiled In Salon 36

nomadic writes: " Salon has a really interesting interview with recent ICANN board member-elect Karl Auerbach regarding his view of what ICANN should and should not become. Basically, he thinks it should be almost totally restructured, and I can't say I disagree with him. And whether you agree with his views or not, I think a lot of people here should appreciate the fact that someone with serious geek credentials made it to the board."
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Karl Auerbach Profiled In Salon

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  • QA from interview:

    Where does your relationship with Cisco fit into this?

    I don't speak for Cisco and I never will. Cisco is not like the old companies where the president gives an order and everyone marches off wherever he says. We are more of the cats. And most of us are financially independent, so we don't have to follow orders anyway.

    Let's be honest, we have to trust this guy based on his record. This new company stuff smells bad. If he's got stocks in Cisco, he's got an interest. Financial independence never kept anyone from persuing their interests.

    It must have been a brain fart. Would he believe this about anyone else?

  • IP addresses and domain/host names are related through DNS, which is just a big, distributed index. What would it take to build an alternate index, accessed via a different protocol?

    A post on slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, first of all, people complain that its too difficult to remember domains.

    Then they complain that people steal their domain names

    Then they complain that people can't steal domain names.

    Does anyone get the feeling that there is nothing that can be done without half the community bitching about it?
  • Whatever happend to name.space? It would be cool to see that stuff take off.

    Didn't you read this Slashdot article [slashdot.org] that referenced this list of TLD applications [icann.org]? Look at the list, and notice how many TLDs name.space wishes to claim.

    Can't say as I am enthused about a group with aspirations to some 118 TLDs -- I'm all for diversity, but aren't they asking for a bit much?

    Neither was this guy [slashdot.org].

    Regardless, I don't think name.space has disappeared off the map.

  • The reason it is relevant to TLDs is that the trademark people are fighting new TLDs because they consider their names to be somehow sacrosanct and universal. To the extent that DNS names are becoming more flexible and subject to differing interpretations based on the geographic context in which they are uttered and the identity of the person uttering them (there are some ugly ghosts of Doubleclick and Aristotle here) - to that extent the trademark universalists need to modify their views.

  • same protocol, different root servers. http://www.youcann.org/ [youcann.org] has info on it.. other people have posted the url, but I just looked at it and altered my linux box's root hints file and now I can get to youcann.here for example. Simple stuff and works well.


    --
  • by Troodon ( 213660 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:22AM (#703637) Homepage

    Should you yanks actually manage to pull your heads out of your collective rear ends you might notice that four other individuals where elected through this round of voting. ;)


    Asia/Australia/Pacific: Masanobu Katoh
    Europe: Andy Mueller-Maguhn
    Latin America and Caribbean: Ivan Moura Campos
    Africa: Nii Quaynor
    North America: Karl Auerbach

    I wouldnt exactly class master Mueller-Maguhn as regular, and how far are the views of the other three going to conicide with ICANN's core?

    Any bets so far for how long it'll take the board to freeze out any members with more 'extreme' views?

  • Name.space has no charter, no fscking idea what to do with all the TLDs their users have created. It's one thing to advocate anarchy. It's quite another to implement it - name.space is an example of what can go wrong.

    I think the Usenet model is more workable. Members choose what new top levels will exist by vote, much the same way newsgroups are created. There is also room for a DNS equivalent of the alt. hierarchy. Name.space might fill that role.

  • Wow, this is great - I'm re-meeting a bunch of folks I haven't seen or heard from in years!

    You are very right - it is absolutely critical for us to be active, to vote, to present lucid commentaries, and to otherwise rattle our representatives - at least within the the limits of law and etiquette.

  • I got the same impression you did, but what does that have to do with new TLDs or disputes about who owns a particular domain?
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:24AM (#703641) Journal
    From the article:
    right to inquire about and examine all the records, documents and procedures of a corporation. Very little is hidden from a director's eyes. This gives a director an enormous power to know what's going on in the corporation and to expose improper activity.

    That is the key - no longer will the goings on of ICAAN remain a secret. They're will be someone on the board who is not part of the club - interested in maintain a 'below the radar' regulatory body which does as it pleases. Remember that the EU elected the President of the German Chaos Computer Club - so KA is not absolutely alone. By KA repeating the doings and debates of the ICAAN to the Internet citizenry at large will shed a light on the motivations and machinations of ICAAN itself. Further exposing its true motivations. These slugs (ICAAN members) like to slip around in the dark and spread their filthy ooze all over in order to seize corporatist control of the Internet - wont it be funny when KA runs around with a flashlight, showing everyone what the little bastards are REALLY up to. I cant wait!

    So we all agree that Big Biz has corrupted the US democracy, and our system is failing. Want to fix it? Help rebuild a -real- democracy for citizens. Tell your friends/neighbours/coworkers to:
  • Every decision he wants to make is going to be outvoted and quashed by the paid tools of corporate America. How do you think he's going to feel after a year of failure? Pretty bad would be my guess, and that's why I feel sorry for him.

    I agree that he's going to have a heck of a time accomplishing anything directly, but, like something Karl mentions in the Salon article, simply being a director gives him power.
    He's now able to get into all sorts of records and documents about the corporation, as well as reporting to the public, or at least the membership, his analysis of things from the inside, including his or other peoples positions, decisions.

    In essence, ICANN can't hide anything behind closed doors anymore, even if they still have the votes.
  • Yeah, I have Cisco stock - and Sun stock - and (please forgive me) Microsoft stock.

    And yes, there will probably be some subliminal impact.

    But I've tried to distance myself from Cisco and I think I'm being sucessful at that. But as you say, you really have to trust me on this one. I'm going to try to be fairly open in my communications - my mistakes will be pretty public too - so that if I go astray folks can try to set me straight sooner rather than later.

  • You're an optimist, but optimism won't work here. The only thing that will work will be a mass revolt against the current ICANN tyranny, because it's past the point of change right now. Once they start losing market share, then they'll start to give in.

    The thing is that the board won't accept anything right now that they wouldn't have accepted before. In a sense, his position is only a first step - not paving the way, but an expression of growing discontent.

  • I am very happy that Karl won, he was my #1 choice on the ballot. How many other people here actually voted in the election? I hear the turnout (especially for North America) was poor, the reason depends on who you ask. Many people blame the ICANN registration process. I didn't have very many problems registering, did anyone else who is reading this get locked out from the voting due to technical problems (I understand the ICANN site was overwhelmed on the last day to register)? I'm just interested in how involved the /. community was in these elections.

    Enigma
    .sigless


    Enigma
  • > But,
    > just because it's impossible doesn't mean someone shouldn't try. Also, and
    > perhaps I'm being naive here, but I believe that when things don't work they
    > fall apart eventually.

    I agree.

    And I think we have to positively engage the problem here, not ignore it. If we allow this governing board to remain in a chokehold by corporate interests, we will end up with the equivalent of a third world petty dictatorship, instead of a flawed government like in Europe or North America, where we have some room to live our lives in privacy & security.

    Geoff
  • I met Karl in 98 when I worked for Zd events (Interopnet N+I). Your assement of Karl is absolutely correct .But if any one can reform the system from with in it's Karl. He has my support for all it's worth. Eric
  • "...The idea is -- and Akamai and other companies are doing this -- you move content, you spread it around so it's replicated, so when somebody asks for it, you intercept the domain-name query and you look at it and say: "Where is this user coming from? Where is the closest place he can get the content?" And your DNS [domain name system] answers, then points the user to the place that's closest. Therefore, we've got geographically sensitive domain names."

    This is already being tried in newspaper publishing and IMHO it doesn't work: I get an edition of the Seattle Times that's geographically edited to be relevant to my geographic location -- which means that there's some local news I *never* hear about, at least via the newspaper, which has become largely irrelevant anyway...


    [...]

    I *don't* think distributed content servers are relevant to any discussion of gTLD issues -- distributed content is a marketing hack.

    I think what he's talking about is hacking the domain-name system so that, instead of pointing to that one machine is Finland, directs to a locally-administered mirror of that one machine in Finland. Hence the reference to Akamai (which performs essentially this function, IIRC).

    Jay (=
  • Don't feel too sorry - I brought this onto myself. ;-)

    But yes, it is going to be very much an uphill effort to get ICANN to change. But I'm not willing to let ICANN go its merry way without at least trying to change it.

    Sure I'll get outvoted a lot. But then again, a director has many powers beyond the mere vote - at least I'll be in a position to find out what is really behind the secrecy that seems to envelop ICANN.

    But more to your point - It is critically important that the user community keep up the pressure on ICANN to change. Just because the "election" is over is no reason to forget that ICANN exists.

  • Well there's two ways to answer your question:

    First, it is possible to have multiple, competing root systems. I've been playing this this myself for a couple of years - For a while I ran my own servers as root servers and then later on I started using the ORSC roots - and I'm still using the ORSC root. So far I haven't had a single outage.

    Yes, there are problems that can occur - in theory. In particular, there could be problems when NS and CNAME records are written by a person who assumes one root and are interpreted on a machine that uses another root. And there are problems with web caches that are stupid and re-interpret the URL, re-running the host name through DNS rather than snarfing the IP address from the TCP connection.

    Personally I think that the DNS will soon have many well-established root systems - if only to remove the single point of failure (and point of attack) that the ICANN root represents. (Don't forget how NSI lost .com out of the ICANN root for several hours last month.) And the pressures of content management and internationalized domain names are also pushing folks to establish their own roots.

    As for replacing DNS - Let's not go that way. Rather, let's use DNS as a stable name layer between IP addresses and any number of name or directory services. That way we can avoid those services thrashing their databases whenever an IP address is reallocated and, at the same time, we can eventually get DNS names out of the sight of users and marketeers so they won't fight over the ones that have some sort of pretty semantic.

  • I think what he's talking about is hacking the domain-name system so that, instead of pointing to that one machine is Finland, directs to a locally-administered mirror of that one machine in Finland. Hence the reference to Akamai (which performs essentially this function, IIRC).

    Yes, I'm suggesting that DNS is a hook that folks can tie into to capture queries and either send the queries to a local DNS server (DNS traffic makes up a fair amount of the background traffic on the net) or that the responses are "adjusted" to point a user (I'm assuming web user here) to a topologically local server.

    As for the person who mentioned that he misses local news - well, the problem is in the algorithm that decides what content to give him based on his locality - in particular not giving him an override - and not in the fact tht DNS is used to try to localize net traffic.

    Overall, there's lots of alligators in the content management swamp - the IETF is thrashing around a bit with all the issues. But overall, the efficiencies gained turn into real money savings for ISPs - so they won't be ignorring this. And the retrieval speedup is potentially very noticable - to both users and things like Keynote.

  • ...that not all people with geek credentials think alike - eg the fractured nature of the various linux communities - so this board member-elect will still upset as many geeks as he pleases...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't tell Jon Katz that.
  • I think he knows what he's up agianst, hence the reference to Sisyphus. But, just because it's impossible doesn't mean someone shouldn't try. Also, and perhaps I'm being naive here, but I believe that when things don't work they fall apart eventually. ICANN doesn't work all that well. They may have to listen to him sooner or later. Or maybe he'll just pave the way for the next reformer.
  • by flatpack ( 212454 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @03:09AM (#703655)

    The guy has some interesting ideas and an actual understanding of the issues involved here beyond what the rest of the ICANN board has, and it's good to see that there is at least one non-corporate on such an important body.

    But I have to say, I feel sorry for the guy.

    Why? He may have all of these "revolutionary" (from ICANN's point of view anyway) ideas about how to restructure ICANN and make domain names fairer, but he's one man alone on a board with eighteen corporate whores all perfectly happy with the current system. The entire At Large elections were little more than a sop to satisfy geeks who felt, quite rightly, that they no longer had any power online.

    Every decision he wants to make is going to be outvoted and quashed by the paid tools of corporate America. How do you think he's going to feel after a year of failure? Pretty bad would be my guess, and that's why I feel sorry for him.

    ICANN made sure that the At Large elections would fail to produce any threat to it's domination by corporations. Auerbach's position, whilst gained honestly, is little more than a sham. I feel sorry for him when he comes to realise that.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ICANN's only role in the future of the internet will be to stear the entire infastructer towards a far more coprorate American system. Don't think that they willl make things any easier for non-Mega Global Corp. people.

    With the recent spate of doamin-name disputes that have been settled in favour of the corporation, it's pretty clear who's side ICANN is on. It isn't the little guy, thats for sure. They'll not only help these corporations walk all over Joe A. Internet, they'll activley incourage the act. It means more money for them, after all.

    I expect to see a whole slew of new TLD's aimes at corporations. .banc (.bank, surely?) .shop etc. are all a scam by ICANN to generate extra revenue from corporations registering the same domain across all TLD's.

    With the .org & .net domains taken up already (Mostly with redirects to .com anyway), where does the little man stand in all of this? Were do we get our domains from? No point asking ICANN, they don't care.
  • Anyone heard of FOCI (Friends Of a Competitive Internet)?

    http://joinfoci.org/

    " We're mad [joinfoci.org] because the current ICANN [icann.org] process to introduce new Top Level Domains (TLDs) into the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) is in danger of being hijacked in a sham designed to extend Network Solutions, Inc. [nsi.com] ( NSI [nsi.com]) and the other Afilias [afilias.com] registrars' monopoly control over the most popular Internet real estate."

    Looks like Karl Auerbach already has something to work against at ICANN.
  • IP addresses and domain/host names are related through DNS, which is just a big, distributed index. What would it take to build an alternate index, accessed via a different protocol?
  • I agree wholehartedly. The only solution, IMO, is for people to adopt third party domain providers. But that won't work unless lots of ISPs start doing it. Whatever happend to name.space? It would be cool to see that stuff take off.
  • What can 1 geek do in a board of 19 "regular" people?????

    Mark [zwienenberg.com]


    Mark [zwienenberg.com]
  • ...one part of the interview:

    "...The idea is -- and Akamai and other companies are doing this -- you move content, you spread it around so it's replicated, so when somebody asks for it, you intercept the domain-name query and you look at it and say: "Where is this user coming from? Where is the closest place he can get the content?" And your DNS [domain name system] answers, then points the user to the place that's closest. Therefore, we've got geographically sensitive domain names."

    This is already being tried in newspaper publishing and IMHO it doesn't work: I get an edition of the Seattle Times that's geographically edited to be relevant to my geographic location -- which means that there's some local news I *never* hear about, at least via the newspaper, which has become largely irrelevant anyway...

    I don't doubt for a minute that the concept of content replication across a wide geographic area, ostensibly to speed transmission to impatient users, will not be compromised and focused such that you get what some marketing droid *thinks* you're going to be interested in, simply based on where you're located.

    I *don't* think distributed content servers are relevant to any discussion of gTLD issues -- distributed content is a marketing hack.

    t_t_b
    --
    I think not; therefore I ain't®

  • Every decision he wants to make is going to be outvoted and quashed by the paid tools of corporate America. How do you think he's going to feel after a year of failure? Pretty bad would be my guess, and that's why I feel sorry for him.

    Unfortunately this is exactly what I'd expect to happen as well. I signed up for the ICANN at large elections as soon as I heard about them (On /.), I sent all the emails and jumped through all the hoops to get my voting rights but I never received a single confirmation. I'm half expecting a voting card to arrive next week :o)

    Unfortunately ICANN will try and get their way - I just hope that Nominet [nominet.org.uk] and other regional registries can force ICANN into being more accountable - if not to the general users then at least to them.

  • Having at least two radicals (Auerbach and Mueller-Maguhn) on the board is a Very Good Thing. It means that they'll be able to second each others' motions and get discussions going of things that other board members might not otherwise be happy to talk about. They may not get things passed, but at least it'll be discussed.

    It makes it that much harder for the corporate members to keep things under the table and off the radar.
    `ø,,ø`ø,,ø!

  • I met Karl wey back in '81 when I joined INTERactive Systems (first commerical vendor of UN*X). Karl knows his tech stuff and was a good person too. He has taken on a very tough roll for a radical reformer - working from the inside.

    As SubtleNuance says, a real value to Karl's membership will be having his eyes and ears inside. And as Troodon and SubtleNuance point out Karl will NOT be the lone free ranger on the board. I hope Karl, Andy and the other members-at-large can work to open the system. We should all give them our support.

    One big way to do this is to get your butt out and VOTE in the regular political elections (USA or elsewhere)! YOU can make a difference.
  • It's quite possible that I've misunderstood Auerbach's discussion (It's monday morning, after all), but I believe his point about content replication was attempting to draw an analogy as to why a single DNS root was not necessarily the only way to go. He was attempting to show that similar to how content replication can work, the DNS system could well have multiple separately-administered roots, in theory individually responsible for their own sets of gTLDs, and that usage of these gTLDs would be completely discretionary at the ISP level. Ughh... sorry for the run-on sentence, but can't edit much without coffee.
  • I can't remember all the details from when they came out, but at least some of the other board members are geeks too. There were five elected positions, the German candidate is from Chaos Computer Club who I think will agree completely with Auerbach, and the other elected people looked good too. Who knows.

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