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IETF getting cold feet about P2P Names?

With broad support from the P2P community, we have been trying for a while to follow RFC 6761 to register special use domain names for ".bit", ".exit", ".gnu", ".i2p", ".onion" and ".zkey" to reduce the likelihood of ICANN accidentally creating a conflicting gTLD assignment.

There are a number of attendees at IETF that appreciate that DNS is not the only name resolution protocol on the Internet, and that the IETF/ICANN might thus want to have a process to accommodate alternatives. However, there are also a number of DNS-centric people with a totally lack of alacrity in the dnsop WG to continue to stall the process by repeating arguments that were exchanged dozens of times in hundreds of e-mails, for example on the dnsop mailinglist.

The result of two years of discussions and a dozen revisions of the draft(s) at IETF 93: The IAB Chair Andrew Sullivan, who works for the DNS Service provider, says the IETF should not support special use domain names threatening the DNS business model, as it might otherwise become the target of lawsuits of organizations trying to protect their business model. He clarified saying that ".i2p" and ".onion" might be OK, because they are limited in scope (similar to ".local") and thus do not compete with DNS. Finally, he said that were it not for the political/legal issues, he would support IETF documenting the (other) special-use domain names. So if (some of) the drafts do not turn into RFCs, you now know why: some at the IETF have cold feet.

Admittedly, RFC 6761 might not be perfect -- it describes what an RFC reserving special use domain names should contain, but not what standard the IETF should apply to approving it. Furthermore, the approval process itself is, well, underspecified. That said, with the process taking typically several years already, the real problem is that many things (like Microsoft's will just continue to be deployed without documentation.

The future process for the other P2P names will demonstrate to which extent the IETF is able to abide by its mission and serve its users at large, even when this might fly in the face of some corporate interests. The fact that the IAB chair says that he does not think the IETF currently has the stomach to approve an informational draft highlights how toxic the process currently is.

After the session, one of the WG chairs told me that they would "now" --- after this discussion and after splitting the one original draft into five --- begin the "technical review". So the drafts will remain in purgatory for now. I was also told that I should bring this up with ICANN instead...

A report about the meeting in German can be found at Heise. A summary of the discussion by dnsop is posted in the IETF data tracker.