multi-level naming

John C Klensin klensin at
Thu Mar 23 14:43:02 CET 2017

--On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 18:32 +0900 "Martin J. Dürst"
<duerst at> wrote:

> Hello John,
> On 2017/03/17 09:51, John C Klensin wrote:
>> It has been long enough that I had forgotten that we actually
>> had a WG (at least the tracker says we did) and have no memory
>> of what is in a draft I apparently wrote, but...
>> Circumstances have obviously changed since the WG was shut
>> down (end of 2003 according to the tracker)
> The fact that the charter in the tracker still starts with
> "This BOF will" seems to be a strong indication that this was
> never actually a WG. Other indications in the tracker don't
> contradict that.
> I remember even less of this than John, so I could be wrong.

I just don't remember.  I do remember at least a few f2f
meetings, but don't remember if they were WG activities, one of
more BOFs, or some other arrangements.  The mailing list was not
hosted by the IETF (but on, so there is no
official archive.  

I've got my own archive, but I have no idea whether it is
complete or just the messages I decided to keep.   A quick scan
of that archive indicates that there was a BOF at IETF 52
(December 9-14, 2001; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA), minutes are at, section 2.1.15.  It also
turned up a Research Group called SIREN, chaired by  Scott
Hollenbeck. but, while the email shows at least one informal
meeting at IETF 56 (March 16-21, 2003; San Francisco,
California, USA), I can't remember whether it ever got off the
ground.  It is also reasonable to assume (although, again, I
haven't found any documentation to verify it) that the
conclusion from the IETF WG-forming effort was that this was a
research project and the result was a shift into that SIREN RG
effort.   There is a charter at, but the archive link shown in
that charter gets a "not found" error.

The most recent version of draft-klensin-dns-search was posted
in Februrary 2004, which would have been almost a year after
IETF 56 and the last message I appear to have on file from
either the irnss or siren lists.

Other that noting that the suggestion to look at
intermediate-level naming systems isn't new and had been
explored for at least three years in the distant past
(draft-klensin-dns-search-00 is dated May 2001 and I've got some
off-list correspondence before that), I'm not sure how much
value further archeology would have.

I think it is reasonable to assume that
draft-klensin-dns-search-06 is a reasonable characterization of
the thinking sometime between March 2003 and February 2004 and
might be worth a look.  However, that was the tail end of a
period in which there were a lot of ideas in the wind.  There
was still active work (including implementation, deployment, and
marketing) on "keywords", IDNA2003 was just being finished and
it wasn't clear yet whether it would work (I can't remember when
the original IDN WG got started (and the tracker doesn't help),
but I'm guessing around 2000 or 2002, which would make the start
dates of the two efforts roughly contemporaneous).  Even in that
WG, IDNA was only one of several ideas, with some of them being
quite radically different (for example, I remember a proposal
for phonetic-based rather than character-code-based IDNs).

Given that review, my guess is that, once the IDNA2003 documents
were approved and published, we all decided to stop putting
energy into other efforts and wait to see how well it worked

The more important question now is whether anyone is interested
in pursuing the ideas, and whether there is critical mass and
adequate support for doing so, or whether, e.g., the IDNA
situation (and/or the DNS situation generally) needs to get even
more visibly bad before we can get any momentum together.  If
the answer is "yes, there is serious interest in moving
forward", the next question is whether ideas are mature enough
and there is enough agreement about them to start pursuing a
mailing list and IETF WG (I don't believe using the idna-update
list longer term for this discussion is appropriate), whether to
pursue an RG, or whether to try to talk the IAB (or some other
body) into a workshop to explore our various ideas.

In case it helps people think about whether the activity would
have critical mass, if there is significant interest I'm willing
to go through that old I-D, correct materials that are clearly
OBE, annotate it as basis for discussion, and post the result.
But, while I am very interested in the idea (or family of ideas)
--to the point that I'm convinced that the DNS is just not going
to be able to do the job people expect and that something like
it is probably the only viable way forward-- I'm running out of
energy and getting too frustrated about IDN-related issues and
am not going to be the one pulling this particular train.


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