DNS: A short history and a short future


  • Ted Byfield




This paper examines some of the basic premises that typify the rhetoric of the DNS debates. It challenges the assumption that these problems are new; instead, they reiterate the text-to-number mapping problems that plagued the national and international integration of telephony systems. The later telephonic transitions were marked by an interplay between the phasing-out of telephonic addressing systems and marketing innovations. DNS is faced with an analogous problem: DNS policies inflexibly founded on past conditions have conspired with marketing forces to create an illusory scarcity of domain names. The easy correspondence between domain names and names used in other spheres of life, a correspondence that business interests demand, is untenable; and reforms geared toward facilitating such a situation are undesirable. Newer techniques that offer even higher levels of abstraction than DNS are paving the way practical solutions: domain names will cease to be a primary interface for navigation, and in ways that will facilitate the exploitation of the entire name space.




How to Cite

Byfield, T. (1999). DNS: A short history and a short future. First Monday, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v4i3.654