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UK Parliament Domain Without Registrar 312

asobala writes "According to this story at The Register, the UK parliament is using the domain www.parliament.uk. It's a top-level domain because it was registered before August 1996, before Nominet handled .uk domains. But since there is no registrar, they can't prove that they own it."
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UK Parliament Domain Without Registrar

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  • .uk (Score:3, Funny)

    by oateater ( 593228 ) <oateater&nerdclub,net> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:30PM (#5261572) Homepage
    I should hurry up and sue, and get my website back!!!
    • Re:.uk (Score:1, Troll)

      by levik ( 52444 )
      I always knew they were a bunch of unruly wankers. But now it turns out they're cybersquatters as well!


  • by Anonymous Coward

    Innocent till proven guilty

    they cant prove they own it because they dont have to, its up to others to prove they don't own it or are not entitled to it

  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:32PM (#5261588)
    It is well known that parliament.uk is rightfully the property of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic.
  • by CySurflex ( 564206 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:32PM (#5261589)
    Are you kidding me?!

    Everyone knows they are just a bunch of cybersquaters who registered parliament.uk so all the people who don't know how to spell it the right way (Parlament) will get to their site.

    oh wait... that is the right spelling? never mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:34PM (#5261598)
    Yeah, I own slashdot.org, I registered it back in 1954 before Al Gore invented the internet. I DEMAND you hand the domain over to me!!
  • 90 (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkcity ( 577735 )
    I tried getting out of paying my £90 to nominet UK too, seriously thats how much they charge ro renew domains without a registra, ripp off.
    • Being a nominet member I can quite easily dispute this. It's £80. And that's for 2 years not 1.

      If you renew through one of the agents (They are registry agents and not registrars as we don't hold any part of the registry) you can get huge discounts as the Nominet members' price is far lower thanks to the savings passed on through a members' use of the automation tools and Nominet not having to chase for money.

      This charge can be as low as £5 - 6 for 2 years!

      Also note that if you register with Nominet directly or fail to allow your existing agent to renew for you you must provide your own name servers.

      This is because Nominet is not in competition with it's members - unlike the .com registry which is run by Verisign who not only allow members of the public to register domains and take services but actively want them too.

      Visit http://www.nominet.org.uk and Nominet claim that to register a domain you need to use a member.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:35PM (#5261602)
    soon they won't even be able to prove it exists.
  • by Akardam ( 186995 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:35PM (#5261603)
    Well, short of going in and holding a gun to Thwate's head, they have several options, as I see it:

    1. Setup www.parliment.govt.uk, and have the webserver that handles www.parliment.uk redirect /(.*) to www.parliment.govt.uk/$1.

    2. Sign their own cert.

    3. Farm out the credit card transactions themselves to another site.

    I guess if they got smart about it they could go through some sort of legal process that confirms that they have "ownership" of the netblock that the DNS servers for parliment.uk are on, and therefore they are the defacto owners (posession is 9/10ths of the law?) of parliment.uk.

    Nonetheless, an interesting situation.
    • its a shame that certificates can't be reliably delegated in the same way as DNS - securing the internet would be a much less painful process if the owner of the domain could announce their chosen cert authority as part of their domain's DNS record, then bodies like thawte could be left out of the loop altogether.

      [just my daft ruminations though, feel free to explain why this wouldn't work]
      • Your argument is an interesting one, but the problem is that DNS itself is insecure. That's the whole reason projects like DNSSEC [dnssec.net] exist. If we ever reach the point when we can guarantee that DNS queries are secure, then your proposal would be completely valid. Let's hope we get there someday :)
    • The way it _is_ being done is getting Nominet to ask The House of Commons very nicely to register that ccld with them. Once it's registered, Nominet will then have proof of ownership that they can hand to Thawte.
    • Parliament does not have to go through any externally imposed process to get anyone else to *legally* recognize them; under the British constitution, Parliament can legislate whatever it wants---it is completely and utterly sovereign.

      The only problem is to get Thawte (or, rather, their British representative) to *technically* recognize them, so they can instruct their machines to approve the certificates. The obstacle is not a legal one, but rather a policy of Thawte itself. Thawte's policy is presumably strict so that its other clients can trust that spoofing won't be likely to happen.
    • Firstly, it would be a .gov.uk, not .govt.uk, but anyway...
      There is a reason why they use parliament.uk and not parliament.gov.uk, and that is that parliament is not government. From http://www.parliament.uk/faq/parlgov_faq.cfm [parliament.uk]
      "The Government is the institution that runs the country. It is also known as the Executive. The Government formulates policy and introduces legislation in Parliament. Members of the Government are usually either members of the House of Commons or House of Lords. This enables Parliament to keep a check on their work by asking questions or debating the issues."
      The job of Parliament is to make the law, the job of government is to produce draft bills to put before parliament, to implement the law and to run public services.
    • [...]Setup www.parliment.govt.uk[...]

      Err... Have you heard of seperation of executive and legislature? *.parliament.uk is a cross-party independent web-site to do with the Commons, the Lords, and general matters of legislation, as opposed to execution of law and formulation of government policy. Of course, there's HMSO.gov.uk, which is the printer of *.parliament.uk... Ah well.;-)

  • Hah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fateswarm ( 590255 )
    Interesting story. It's sounds so strange having all these second level org.uk, ac.uk, police.uk etc. and non an official .uk operator.

    It's the same thing that makes me wonder why is that the case.

    How can all these second level domain operators exist but not an operator of the 1st level?

    Why don't they give it to the sum of the second level operators to decide?

    If the matter is really on the air, that's the most sane solution I can think of
    • Re:Hah (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:00PM (#5261730)
      You misunderstand.

      Nominet controls the uk. TLD and most of the xxx.uk. SLDs.

      Nominet doesn't control parliament.uk. The authoritive name servers for uk. (Nominet's servers) return NS delegation records for parliament.uk., and those servers do not appear to be Nominet servers. Therefore, Parliament controls it's own SLD.

      Why this is difficult to deal with I don't know. Nominet should only have to confirm to Thawte that Parliament owns the SLD. Nominet controls uk. and, in turn, the UK government controls parliament.uk., what's the problem here?
  • by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#5261618)
    Doesn't anybody stop to think that the UK parliament might *implicitly* own the domain www.parliament.uk because they've been using it since before 1996? If they haven't registered it then nobody else has either, so nobody else is more apt to acquire it. And I'm sure somebody else wants it. I don't have a receipt for that pair of boots I bought in 1998. Maybe somebody else owns them even though I've been wearing them for the past 5 years. Come to think about it, I'm going out to buy a new pair of boots. Come on, give us some good articles to talk about.
  • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#5261624) Homepage
    ...and Slashdot the British parliament, mmmkay?

    We don't want the Royal Marines raiding the VA Software headquarters looking for alleged terrorists Abdul Hemos and the commander of the cell, Hashish Taco.

    • We don't want the Royal Marines raiding the VA Software headquarters looking for alleged terrorists Abdul Hemos and the commander of the cell, Hashish Taco.

      Sorry, we're too busy building up to a war on Iraq to go after actual terrorists threats.

  • .co.uk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Newtonian_p ( 412461 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#5261626) Homepage
    I always wondered why I always see .co.uk and (almost) never just .uk.

    I know that co stands for commercial but why doesn't Nominet allow plain .uk to be registered anymore?

    • by abardsley ( 24889 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:46PM (#5261660)
      Of course, the question should be why doesn't the UK use its *real* ISO country code GB instead of UK.
      • by skington ( 1698 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:09PM (#5262025) Homepage
        There was a discussion about this on the Nominet mailing lists recently. The most convincing reason is Northern Ireland.

        The official name of the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. "Great Britain" is the island that includes England, Wales, Scotland and the multitude of little islands, which includes the Isle of Wight (part of England), the Isle of Man (not really part of the UK at all), and doesn't include the Channel Islands (which are closest to Normandy, which the French refer to as the Anglo-Norman islands, but otherwise are as British as the Isle of Man).

        "GB" would be a useful code, except that it excludes Northern Ireland, and if you've followed Northern Irish history at all you'll know that the the protestants / Unionists in Northern Ireland are very fond of being part of the UK, and would vehemently protest to the UK being known by a code, "GB", that explicitly did not include them.

        So, way before ICANN's official policy to use the ISO country codes for ccTLDs, and even though Ukraine had a strong claim to .uk, the powers that be decided on using .uk for British domains, and it's stuck ever since.
      • I always thought it was because the British portion of the Internet was originally set up mostly by academics, and they wanted .ac.uk because they were all Bloom County fans.

    • Re:.co.uk (Score:5, Interesting)

      by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:51PM (#5261680)
      Interesting point, which makes me remember, that .de domain names are usually just that, plain .de . For example earlier today we had this [xboxmediaplayer.de], ther's also this site [whitehouse.de]. The same thing goes for .ch - for example the URL this famous site [www.cern.ch] - and probably a few more countries.

      Wonder what the regulations really are.

      The DNS system is pretty much full of inconsistencies anyway (.tv, .cx, hmm what else?). I once had an idea how they can be arranged to be more logical, but change would just confuse oh-the-so-numerous websurfing grandmothers of the world.
      • Re:.co.uk (Score:2, Insightful)

        by abardsley ( 24889 )
        The .de thing is just a choice by the registrar.
        Nominet chooses to have the subdomains (which is
        fair enough).

        Using UK rather than GB is an historical accident, but I usu. feel compelled to point it out ;)

        As for countries selling there domains, well, that's their choice.
    • by Epeeist ( 2682 )
      I always wondered why I always see .com, and almost never .com.us.
    • Because you can't get a .uk ever
      All UK domain names (with three exceptions) are within one of the following:
      .co.uk - anyone may use
      .org.uk - anyone may use
      .net.uk - ISP networks only
      .plc.uk - UK PLCs
      .ltd.uk - UK limited companies
      .me.uk - anyone may use
      .ac.uk - universities and other higher education bodies
      .sch.uk - schools (in the form schoolname.areaname.sch.uk)
      .gov.uk - government usage
      .mod.uk - military
      .police.uk - police forces
      .nhs.uk - National health Service bodies

      and the three oddities,
      .nic.uk - Nominet usage
      .parliament.uk - they don't have a gov.uk because parliament != government
      .bl.uk - The British Library, I have no idea why they have this
  • I read this a few days ago on The Reg, and I couldn't believe it.

    No matter what the rules are, it's pretty obvious to anyone that parliament.uk belongs to the UK parliament.

    Expert network security analysis: http://www.arhont.com/ [arhont.com]
  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... m.org minus poet> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:46PM (#5261658) Homepage
    In fact, no one runs parliament.uk and it doesn't officially exist. OK, go on, you twisted my arm. For a mere £78k per annum, and a lifetime seat in the House of Lords, I'll oversee the running of this tld.

    Obviously, I'll need a 155Mb pipe, and all the leggy blondes I can eat. (So to speak.) Oh, and a nice quiet office somewhere :)
  • Time to think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:48PM (#5261670)
    This is a time to think why USA doesn't use .us and com.us, org.us, ac.us, gov.us more often.

    This is 2003. It's not 1988 when USA had 90% of the inet.

    Is it a flame bait? Or is a bait to all sane people the fact that I stress?
    • Re:Time to think (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:48PM (#5261932)
      Its simple: The US invented it, lock, stock and barrel. Well, not exactly. Al Gore did. But, he is an American.

      The naming conventions in use now have been in use in the US for 20+ years. Changing existing addresses would be confusing, add little value, and would largely be an exercise in political correctness. Anyone is largely free to use the existing tlds if they want to register. The country domains have been popular as a means of differentiating a domain, and associating it with a place, not necessarily because they have to. There are .us addresses in use, but it is mainly local governments and schools. (I will also add that it used to be tied to an inconvenient geographic naming convention.)

      You could treat our use of the current naming conventions as a minor tribute for funding and developing the internet. Or, if it makes you feel any better, you can view it as implied that .gov, .mil, .com, .org, .net, .etc, ;) are .us addresses. Or, we're just keeping .gov warm until the One World Government demands it.

      Of course, I suppose that the day will come when America will be bashed for internet address imperialism. Our unbounded use of domain names outside of .us will be viewed as an act of aggression and yet another reason to hate us. Demands will come that we retreat back inside the borders of .us.

      Ah, well, ... if the world doesn't like it, I guess we could just take our internet and go home.

      Of course that would lead to howls about American pr0n embargos, and threats of trade sanctions until we reopen the internet pr0n pipes. Of course, there will be world-wide joy AND rage over both actions. Violence will ensue. Counter-violence will follow the violence.

      Sigh. I guess we can't win.

      The only reasonably safe course of action is to not change anything.

    • Re:Time to think (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I work for a multinational. All of our domains are .com or .net. For example, the servers we have in London got .co.uk as an afterthought.

      It's not just the US that uses .com, it's the whole globe.

      The only exception (in our case) is Japan... always .co.jp. I dunno why, maybe that's preferred in Japan.
  • Possession (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _fuzz_ ( 111591 ) <.me. .at. .davedunkin.com.> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:53PM (#5261693) Homepage
    They say that possession is 9/10 of the law. I think the fact that they've had the domain for 9 years should be proof enough that they own it.
    • by damiam ( 409504 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:57PM (#5261707)
      possession is 9/10 of the law

      Yes, but Parliament is 10/10 of the law, and it's not helping them. Thawte is a private company, and it can set whatever qualifications it wants for a cert.

      • Yes, but Parliament is 10/10 of the law, and it's not helping them.

        Actually I'm sure it *will* help them out. The fact that they ARE the law means that someone high up enough at Thawte to make a decision will decide to acknowledge Parliment's ownership of their domain. Or parliment can pass a law that simply says "we own parliment.uk" - If that is not enough for Thawte Parliment could pass a law that says "Any entity failing to recongise parliments sole ownership of 'Parliment.uk" shall have it's assets frozen and executives held in custody until such time as they recongise said ownership". I'm sure Thawte would come around, it doesn't pay for a commercial entity to get into a fight with the legislative body of a country they want to do business in.
        • If they ARE the law, then youd think they would abide it. Maybe Im asking too much.
          • If they ARE the law, then youd think they would abide it. Maybe Im asking too much.

            I'm not sure I get your point. What law is Parliment not abiding by? It's their domain, they not only own the domain under the law as it exists but they write the laws about .uk domains in the first place. I'm being silly when I suggest that they could imprison or fine the executives of Thawte for refusing to recongnize their ownership to make a point - the write the laws! Yes they *wouldn't* write a law that penalizes Thawte in horrible and nasty ways for refusing to play ball but they *could* and it would be perfectly legal because they determine what is legal and what isn't (within unwritten constitutional limits that are to some extent determined by - you guessed it: Parliment)

        • Any entity failing to recongise parliments sole ownership of 'Parliment.uk" shall have it's assets frozen and executives held in custody until such time as they recongise said ownership".

          They wouldn't even have to worry about the second part, contempt of Parliament, is up there with contempt of court or treason, pretty dam serious.
          • Contempt of Parliament

            Any action taken by either a Member of Parliament or a stranger which obstructs or impedes either Parliament in the performance of its functions, or its Members or staff in the performance of their duties, is a contempt of Parliament.

            The Commons has the power to order anyone who has committed a contempt of Parliament to appear at the Bar of the House and to punish the offender.

            If the offence has been committed by an MP he or she may be suspended or expelled.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:53PM (#5261694)
    Since the national governments control the domains with their country code, all that Parliment should have to do is pass an act that says that they own/controll *.parliment.uk. Send a copy of the law to anyone who asks. That would be the end of matter. If that still doesn't work, they could (threaten to) pass a law making Her Majesty's Gov't the certificate authority for the Realm. I think that most commercial entities would find that persuasive. If they still refuse even that, the Royal Marines might be able to persuade them.

    "Right. What's all this then about you impingin' on our Parliment's sovereignty, eh?"

    • Re:Simple solution (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jc42 ( 318812 )
      Funny, but basically correct for humans.

      But the problem on hand that it's not humans rejecting parliament.uk; it's the ssl certification routines used by lots of browsers. And they won't be able to read a piece of paper with a law on it, will they?

      The real solution is that the organizations involved get their act together and fix their files so that ssl certificates work for this domain.

      Of course, there's then the problem that this makes it obvious how arbitrary it all is, and how a bit of talking (perhaps with a bit of money changing hands) behind the scenes can "fix" any problem with the certification system.

      Time for a bit of Kevin Mitnick's social engineering ...

      • Sorry - you've got that a little twisted.

        It's Thawte that won't issue a cert because they can't - through traditional means - verify the ownership of parliament.uk.

        It's not that a cert has been issued and won't be recognised it's that Thawte will not issue the cert.

        This is very much a human issue and not a technological one.
  • I mean George Clinton [georgeclinton.com] of Parliament fame. Master of Funk.

    "Under the guiding hand of mastermind George Clinton, the affiliated groups Parliament and Funkadelic established funk as an heir to and outgrowth of soul. If James Brown is funk's founding father, Clinton has been its chief architect and tactician. Over the decades, he's presided over a musical empire that's included Parliament and Funkadelic, plus numerous offshoots (such as the Brides of Funkenstein and Parlet), solo careers (Clinton's and bassist Bootsy Collins' being the notable) and aggregates (the P-Funk All-Stars). The pioneering work of Parliament and Funkadelic in the Seventies--driven by Clinton's conceptually inventive mind and the band members' tight ensemble playing and stretched-out jamming--prefigured everything from rap and hip-hop to techno and alternative. Clinton's latter-day disciples include Prince and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. "

  • I tried doing a whois query on it, it says it doesn't exist.

    My question is..how does my ISP's DNS server have an entry for it if it doesn't technically exist?
    • by yggdrazil ( 261592 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:32PM (#5261862)
      % dig -t ns @j.root-servers.net parliament.uk

      uk. 2D IN NS NS1.NIC.uk.
      uk. 2D IN NS NS0.JA.NET.
      uk. 2D IN NS NS.UU.NET.
      uk. 2D IN NS NS2.NIC.uk.

      % dig -t ns @NS1.NIC.uk parliament.uk

      parliament.uk. 2D IN NS ns0.netforce.net.
      parliament.uk. 2D IN NS ns1.netforce.net.
      parliament.uk. 2D IN NS relay.parliament.uk.
      parliament.uk. 2D IN NS relay2.parliament.uk.

      relay.parliament.uk. 2D IN A
      relay2.parliament.uk. 2D IN A

      % dig -t a @ns0.netforce.net www.parliament.uk

      www.parliament.uk. 1D IN A
  • by targo ( 409974 ) <targo_t.hotmail@com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:15PM (#5261805) Homepage
    And it has been caused by registration rules that were clearly not designed to accommodate thousands or millions of domain names. We would be much better off if domains were given out based on trademarks, person names or something else that a company or person actually owns or has a relationship with, which would avoid the stupid situations like this one, or many other disputes that have nothing to do with common sense. It should only be in case of really fuzzy situations (like two companies in different countries owning the same trademark for different products) where the first-come, first-served principle would apply.
    I remember a similar story where someone was able to "register" yahoo.com, amazon.com and some others just because of a fault in some registrar's web-based software. The situation was resolved quickly but still the guy claimed that he had been the owner of these domains, even if just for a few hours, as if it was something to be proud of. In essence it was an absolutely pointless story but still many big news agencies carried it, something that nicely illustrates how over-board all this is.
    I just wish people had more common sense about all this.
  • Can't they just legislate that they own their own domain name?
  • John BULL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:12PM (#5262039)
    The answer is simple. Pass an act of Parliament confirming the parliament.uk belongs and has always belonged to the UK Parliament.
    Have it engrossed on parchment, signed sealed by Liz II and whoever, and send it to Thwaite. Also remind them that if they wish to continued to do business in/with the UK, then "Do Not Fuck with the Parliament!"
  • I'm Confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mgrant ( 96571 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:16PM (#5262057) Homepage
    Can someone post a link to, or a short explanation of, how an entry is made on a DNS root server, and who is allowed to do it? This is all causing me a great deal of confusion... Who is keeping the root servers updated on Parliament's behalf, and wouldn't the party that's doing that have to have ``control'' over the top-level .uk domain? I'm sure Parliament isn't updating the root servers on their own.
    • The root servers have nothing to do with this - they only know what servers are responsible for .uk, .com etc etc

      parliament.uk is delegated on the original .uk DNS servers - it was there before Nominet was created and as was decided any domains that existed before Nominet's creation would be left there
      The reason it can't be found in the .uk whois is because the whoise servers only allow the checking of domains entered after the second level not in the second level.

      As such nominet.org.uk is in there but parliament.uk, co.uk, police.uk etc aren't in there because they're a level below that which the whois servers operate for.
    • The root servers delegate all .uk addresses to the Nominet servers. The Nominet servers delegate all .parliament.uk addresses to the Parliament servers, just as they delegate all .police.uk, .mod.uk and .nhs.uk addresses to the appropriate organisations. Looking at it like this, .parliament.uk has to be recognised by Nominet, as Nominet has control of the entire .uk namespace.

      What appears to be the problem here is that no legal relationship exists between Nominet and Parliament which would allow a third party to verify ownership of parliament.uk. In particular, there is no WHOIS record for parliament.uk, or, for that matter, any of the others listed above.

  • NHS.uk (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So where does that leave NHS.uk [www.nhs.uk]? I'm suprised that site actually loads, do I win an award for finding something associated with the NHS that actually works?

    And the question of MOD.uk [www.mod.uk], I'm suprised it doesn't just forward to Qatar considering the rest of the military establishment has moved over there.

    There's also an existential question for Nominet, if they don't control the main UK root does that mean that they [www.nic.uk] actually exist?
  • Parliament could definitely pass a law saying that they own the domain. If that's not legally recognizable authority, I don't know what is. This would really just be a case of passing a law consistent with reality.

    On the other hand, it wouldn't work for them to pass a law saying that they are the CA for the .parliament.uk domain. Certificate authorities are a technical entity, not a legal one. They might be legally a CA, but until most web browser manufacturers include their root CA in their CA list, the law would do them about as much good as a law that pi was now exactly 3.141.

    On the other hand, thawte is not the only CA in existence. Parliament could always go to a different root CA that is recognized by most browsers and get a certificate from them. Mozilla lists about 24 root CAs in it's security preferences page.

    • They might be legally a CA, but until most web browser manufacturers include their root CA in their CA list, the law would do them about as much good as a law that pi was now exactly 3.141.

      Hear Ye. Hear Ye.

      Let it be known henceforth, that in the UK, The Commonwealth and all other regions under the rule of the British Crown, all browsers not recognizing the British Parliament as a Certificate Authority are illigal to use, posess, distribute or in any way, shape or form interact with.

      Any person, company, legal entity and other in breach of this law will be stripped of ALL legal rights, labled a terrorist, subject to up to 20 years in solitary confinement AND sentened a fine of 1,000£ for every byte the browser in question takes up (wrt integrated browsers, the entire OS will count).

      Give them about a weeks notice and see if that won't get them recognized rather quickly ...
  • i'm sure he could sort this out
  • by phr2 ( 545169 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @03:04AM (#5262790)
    I worked at Bell Laboratories in the 1980's, before the Bell System breakup. Yeah, that Bell Labs, birthplace of Unix. I was in an adjacent building to Ken and Dennis and met them a few times.

    Anyway, we wanted to buy a printer/plotter for our VAX 4.1BSD system, which of course needed driver software. The $20,000 device was duly delivered, but because the driver software incorporated some Unix code, the vendor could not ship us the software until we sent them a copy of our Unix license. Um, Unix license? This is Bell Labs, Unix was written here, would you like to talk to the authors?

    But it was nothing doing. Bell Labs had never bothered issuing itself a license to run Unix, even though it was running on every computer in the place (this was before PC's). Better not let the BSA find out. And the vendor had to stick to procedures to stay out of trouble with Western Electric (the licensing entity for the outside world, and maybe for us too).

    I don't remember exactly how we got the problem straightened out, except that it took a while. We may have had to get the Western Electric legal department to issue us a license or otherwise tell the hardware vendor it was ok.

  • If you read the article you might come across the section that sats:

    there was no contract between Nominet and the registrants of domain names registered by the "Naming Committee" - the loose assortment of tech-heads that existed prior to Nominet.

    Since, at one point you didnt have to pay for .co.uk domains, you just submitted to the commitee, and if they liked you they voted that you could have the domain and use it. (There might be more to it, I was only 16 when the ISP I was working for was doing this!! - But I do belive thats the gist)

    There was also a 'limbo' of about 24 hours when the Naming commity handed over to Nominet, where people could register anything (No more voting by the committee), for free(Because Nominet werent charing yet).. but there is no paper work of any kind for these domains. (One of which I own - But cann't prove and not sure how to go about getting it back into my full control!)

    There's also been several court cases I know about because of this lack of paperwork, and people selling domains they may or may not have been the owners off.

    Since you never have to pay for these domains, you dont even have the invoices, no renewal fees etc. They just exist. Some are no doubt lost forever because people have just left them behind, and theres nothing to remind anyone about them.
  • ... and then it's yours.

    How can they possibly run a country if they can't even organise a domain name for thenselves. Well I ask you!

APL hackers do it in the quad.