Another field in the DNS

Mark Andrews Mark_Andrews at
Mon Mar 2 22:10:06 CET 2009

In message <20090302193110.GH1700 at>, Andrew Sullivan writes:
> On Mon, Mar 02, 2009 at 11:06:34AM -0800, Shawn Steele (???) wrote:
> > Erik suggested "another field in the DNS", and I have a similar
> > (lack of) knowledge of exactly what is doable, but it seems like we
> > need a "display name" for a resolved domain name.
> If you need a display name, you need some way to get it.  There are a
> few ways to do this:
> 1.  The in-band suggestion John made of just putting more metadata in
> HTML files.  See upthread for the objections.
> 2.  A special file, fetched via http, that gives the display mapping.
> See upthread for objections.
> 3.  A new RRTYPE that provides a way to pass along this additional
> information.  Aside from the objections upthread, remember that some
> of Microsoft's APIs don't properly support the Unknown RRTYPE.  I've
> heard people claim that it is effectively impossible to provide that
> support -- I've never seen the code & probably wouldn't understand it
> if I did -- which means that, for this approach to work, we may need
> all the Windows machines in the world to be upgraded.  That's even
> worse than requiring all the resolvers in the world to be upgraded. 
> 4.  Invent DNS2 and require that it include formatting information
> this way.
> I've so far heard nothing in the discussion of this line of thinking
> that made me optimistic about quick deployment, but if you have an
> idea I'm sure people would be delighted to hear it.
> > when displaying the name.  Even ASCII casing can have that problem.
> > AAA's links say, however IE displays them as aaa.
> Even if you type into the URL bar?  Remember, DNS is
> case-preserving and case-insensitive, so matches; but
> if you ask for that's what you should get back.  I just did
> some experiments to be sure, and when I ask for I get
> AAA; aaa then aaa; and even AaA then AaA.  So DNS at least looks to be
> working according to its usual rules.  I have no opinion about what
> DNS query an application ought to make when it tries to follow a URI
> containing

	You should get back in the question section.

	The answer section should return the case the data was
	entered with in a case preserving system.
> > So if IDN had rules where names mapped to a form that could be
> > resolved, but rDNS records could return unmapped forms (so long as
> > they mapped back to the normalized form), then some of these display
> > type preferences would be fixed.
> > 
> > Might also encourage people to make their reverse-mapping match too :)
> The reverse tree may contain more than one PTR, don't forget.  Also
> note that there is apparently less than universal agreement that the
> reverse tree is good or even useful (this is a sore point with me,
> actually).  It certainly isn't required to be there.
> A
> -- 
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at
> Shinkuro, Inc.
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Mark Andrews, ISC
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