This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list’s (and related) discussions and news between February 27, and March 12, 2002.
(Please note that this summary does not claim to be complete. In fact, it does so even less than the usual summaries, since I have to catch up two weeks of traffic. In particular, I have refrained from the temptation to include all the bits about what’s currently going on at the ICANN meetings in Accra. – T.R.)
(i) Structure: Reactions to the Lynn Proposal. In a follow-up to the “preliminary comments” thread covered in the previous summary, Alexander Svensson noted that “having an Ombudsperson and a Manager of Public Participation sounds like a good idea.” However, he says, “it is equally necessary to ensure public participation not only personally (by making it someone’s job), but also structurally (by making it part of the ICANN process and structure).” [www.lextext.com], [www.dnso.org]
David P. Farrar suspected that the Lynn plan may “in fact be merely a red herring.” “It is one of the oldest political tricks,” he continues, “to propose something so extreme and controversial that when you finally withdraw it the masses are so happy they didn’t get Proposal A they don’t complain so much about Proposal B.” It turned out that David was not the only one with this particular suspicion. [www.dnso.org]
In another posting, David (who also represents the GA on the Structure TF) tried to analyze the “pros and cons of the Lynn plan.” The message is written in a very concise manner, and has a whole lot of good points. It’s required reading in its entirety, and I’m not going to summarize it here. [www.dnso.org]
Danny Younger forwarded an interesting quote from RIPE NCC’s response to the ICANN document: “Seeing that you are proposing fundamental changes to ICANN and the principles behind the ICANN – RIR MoU, signed in 1999, we believe that in the interest of our members, we have to thoroughly re-assess our relationship with ICANN.” [www.dnso.org]
In the following discussion, DPF suggested that the ccTLDs “should carry on forming their own peer association” to negotiate with the DoC taking “over ICANN’s role with regards to any ISO3166-1 entries in the root”. In another posting on this, he also characterizes the behavior of ICANN management as a declaration of war on the ccTLDs, and notes that “ICANN was primarily created due to the need to create new gTLDs not to form some mini-UN over the ccTLDs.” Looking for ICANN’s functions with respect to the ccTLDs, he comes up with a list of three functions needed: 1. Update the root zone, 2. Notify of minimum technical standards for a TLD, 3. Establish and administer re-delegation when needed by the local Internet community. “This could all be done very easily by the ccTLDs acting as a peer organization,” he concludes. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
Another “Preliminary Statement” on the Lynn proposal was posted by Rob Courtney of Center for Democracy & Technology, on behalf of the NAIS team. In that statement, the NAIS group demands that the ALSC’s report should be “openly evaluated before the whole idea of the At Large is abandoned.” It is also pointed out that ICANN Board action during the Accra meeting will be necessary in order to hold elections for new at-large directors. The current at-large directors’ terms end this year. Further, the NAIS team states that the Lynn proposal “fails to provide adequate support” to the principles of “openness, transparency, inclusiveness and participation”. [www.dnso.org]
(ii) Structure: icannatlarge.com. Significant discussion took place concerning the icannatlarge.com effort, and the steering group established for that effort. Some of that discussion concerned various details of the effort, at a time when the ALSC’s forum list was unreachable. Other discussion covered the question whether or not members of DNSO constituencies should be allowed to participate in an at large effort. The links below are to messages at both ends of the spectrum of opinions raised. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org]
Abel Wisman and Don Brown proposed GA feedback on the Waiting List Service, which lists various observations and concerns raised by GA members. The document concludes that “the GA does not support or endorse the WLS proposal in any manner”, and suggests that attention be turned to the ICANN Redemption Grace document, and that policy and procedure for the handling of expired registrations be developed. “The policy and procedure should safeguard the rights of Registrants during the post-expiration grace period and it should contain specific language designed to prevent potential abuses by the Registries and Registrars.” [www.dnso.org]
The document was supported by Kristy McKee, Harold Whiting, George Kirikos, Hugh Blair, Sotiris Sotiropoulos, David P. Farrar, Marc Schneiders, William X. Walsh, and Genie Livingstone.
(iv) DNSO funding. Verisign announced that it would redraw its offer to match any donations made to support the work of ICANN’s Domain Name Supporting Organization and Names Council for up to $100,000. [www.dnso.org]
(v) ICANN staff draft towards Mission Statement. Alexander Svensson forwarded an ICANN Staff Draft titled “What ICANN Does”, and published on March 7. In that draft, ICANN staff describes the corporation’s current activities. [www.dnso.org]
The draft caused significant discussion. ICANN director at large Karl Auerbach produced a shorter list of “what ICANN ought to do”, which is considerably shorter than the staff document. [www.dnso.org]
As a comment to Karl’s posting, Peter de Blanc (.VI) noted that “it is truly amazing that something once done by volunteers … now costs over US $5 million per year to sustain a bureaucracy that did not exist prior to commercialization of the Internet.” “Frankly,” he continues, “I do not see the need to pay so much for so little. Like there is not even a [Quality of Service] guarantee on the operation of the root server system.” [www.dnso.org]
Kent Crispin (now ICANN Staff) commented that there used to be paid IANA staff, that the Internet was much smaller in 1995/96, and that “the complexity of the things that IANA/ICANN does don’t scale linearly with the size of the Internet.” Concerning the cost, Kent claims that ICANN is “amazingly cheap,” “given the demands made.” [www.dnso.org]
Per Kle (.DK) responded that Kent’s note was “rubbish”, and argued that “as far as TLD’s is concerned ICANN/IANA is (only) managing a database with +250 entries.” In a different posting, Peter de Blanc stated his agreement. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org]
In response to that, Kent noted that the cost for the .DK database (which Per had also quoted) was indeed quite high from a pure database management point of view. “The reason it costs you $3mil to run your database has almost nothing to do with the size of your database,” Kent writes. “The cost is caused almost entirely by other factors. Similarly, the costs to ICANN/IANA for running the root zone have essentially nothing to do with the size of the root zone.” [www.dnso.org]
In another note from Karl Auerbach, he pointed out that “much is *still* done by volunteers.” “ICANN management,” he claims, “likes to inflate the complexity of what it is doing.” As an example, he quotes Stuart Lynn as saying that the operation of 12 root servers would cost $10,000,000 per year, and compares that with own estimates which yield about $3,000,000 per year. Also, he states that the cost ICANN itself currently incurs to run one of the root servers is not known. [www.dnso.org]
(vi) Root Server Operator MoU. In a branch of this discussion, Marc Schneiders asked where the memorandum of understanding between ICANN and the root server operators which Karl had mentioned was available. It turned out that the document seems to be unavailable. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
(vii) dot-usa. Danny Younger forwarded a Reuters news item on dotusa.com: The web site where users could “register” .usa domain names was shut down by a US court, according to the Federal Trade Commission. There was then some discussion on what the decision could mean for various kinds of alt.roots, and where the differences between dotusa.com and the other alt.roots, and new.net, are. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].