The All-Thing

All carrot and no stick, since ought-three.

谷口書齋寄楊補闕 (錢起)


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Wed, 02 Jul 2003

ICANN's true power

Interesting post on IP by some dude called Russ Nelson (who has a pretty reasonable blog ), re recent accusations of rather shady board-member-election mechanisms:

> And here's who will be running the Internetfor the next three years

I'm sorry, but can we please reduce the nonsense level here? I keep trying to turn the knob down, but it's stuck. ICANN is in charge of the mapping from names to numbers. That's IT. That's ALL. That's ONLY. No more, and no less.

One perfectly reasonably way to publish your web pages is to use a numeric-only address, such as, and tell people Google for Crynwr. Try it. Lo and behold, the very first match is for Crynwr software. No www, no com needed. Just "Google for Crynwr". Works for Russ Nelson, too. Google for Russ Nelson. First hit.


ICANN doesn't run the net. They don't even control the only mapping of names to numbers. They only control one such mapping. You can:

o Use Google.  Domain names aren't a search mechanism anyway.
o Use IP addresses.
o Use
o Use (or makeashorterurl or whatever).
o Configure your nameserver to use an alternative root.

ICANN has no real power.

Now certainly ICANN has a fair amount of control over the traditional, and most common, name<->number mapping system, DNS, and that last statement is definitely overboard, but to a certain extent, Nelson is right.

DNS is an extra layer on top of the fundamentals of the Internet, not a fundamental itself. There are other name resolution systems, from very indirect/supplementary (Google) to those seeking to supplant DNS entirely (e.g. OpenNIC ). And as ICANN fucks up DNS to a greater and greater extent, these alternatives will become more and more common.

So ultimately... who cares? This is pretty similar to how I feel about the FCC and all this media deregulation/regulation crap. Who cares? Radio, for one, is dead anyway—one channel full of soulless gruel after the next—and TV is pretty meaningless too. Fuck 'em. With the Internet, we can listen/watch/broadcast what and when we want to.

Freedom through superior technology, man.

Posted at 15:34 | /internet | (leave a comment) | permalink


Hell is empty and all the devils are here. -- Wm. Shakespeare, "The Tempest"