Reflections on the DNS, RFC 1591, and Categories of Domains (RFC3071)
Original Publication Date: 2001-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
This document is being published primarily for historical context and comparative purposes, essentially to document some thoughts about how 1591 might have been interpreted and adjusted by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and ICANN to better reflect today's world while retaining characteristics and policies that have proven to be effective in supporting Internet growth and stability. This memo provides information for the Internet community.
Network Working Group J. Klensin Request for Comments: 3071 February 2001 Category: Informational
Reflections on the DNS, RFC 1591, and Categories of Domains
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2001). All Rights Reserved.
RFC 1591, "Domain Name System Structure and Delegation", laid out the basic administrative design and principles for the allocation and administration of domains, from the top level down. It was written before the introduction of the world wide web (WWW) and rapid growth of the Internet put significant market, social, and political pressure on domain name allocations. In recent years, 1591 has been cited by all sides in various debates, and attempts have been made by various bodies to update it or adjust its provisions, sometimes under pressures that have arguably produced policies that are less well thought out than the original. Some of those efforts have begun from misconceptions about the provisions of 1591 or the motivation for those provisions. The current directions of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and other groups who now determine the Domain Name System (DNS) policy directions appear to be drifting away from the policies and philosophy of 1591. This document is being published primarily for historical context and comparative purposes, essentially to document some thoughts about how 1591 might have been interpreted and adjusted by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and ICANN to better reflect today’s world while retaining characteristics and policies that have proven to be effective in supporting Internet growth and stability. An earlier variation of this memo was submitted to ICANN as a comment on its evolving Top-level Domain (TLD) policies.
Klensin Informational [Page 1]
RFC 3071 Reflections on the DNS and RFC 1591 February 2001
RFC 1591  has been heavily discussed and referenced in the last year or two, especially in discussions within ICANN and its predecessors about the creation, delegation, and management of top- level domains. In particular, the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), and especially its ccTLD constituency, have been the home of many discussions in which 1591 and interpretations of it have been cited in support of a variety of sometimes-contradictory positions. During that period, other discussions have gone on to try to reconstruct the thinking that went into RFC 1591. Those in turn have led me and others to muse on how that original thinking might relate to some of the issues being raised. 1591 is, I believe, one of Jon Postel’s masterpieces, drawing together very different philosophies (e.g., his traditional view that people are basically reasonable and will do the right thing if told what it is with some stronger mechani...