Vixie, Cerf Clash On Net’s Future

    January 19, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Paul Vixie helped create BIND, the domain name system that lets people type in a domain name instead of a dotted quad; now the programmer has lent his talents to a German group seeking to create an alternative to the modern Internet.

“What were you thinking?” Vint Cerf, now with Google, asked Vixie upon learning of his efforts with Germany’s Open Root Server Network (ORSN), the Wall Street Journal said. “I don’t think it’s helpful to give visibility to a group that is fragmenting the Internet,” Cerf told the Journal.

Is it balkanization of the Internet, or simply a prudent effort to ensure the Internet remains above the potential political influence a government can wield? Vixie leans toward the latter; he noted in the Journal’s report that ICANN, the US group that manages the Internet’s root servers, would be “more likely to act in the global interest” with an alternative available.

Rodney Joffe, the chairman of UltraDNS, said in the story how previous breakaway efforts haven’t had any relevance. That has changed, and he sees what has happened over the past year as “the beginning of the balkanization of the Internet.”

Governments of countries like China, with an Internet-using population of over 100 million and growing, want change to come to ICANN, and preferably sooner instead of later. China has taken the step of creating three domain names in the Chinese language, and made them available only within the country.

ORSN’s founder, Markus Grundmann, acknowledge the Internet as “a child of the U.S. Government” in the story. “But now the child has grown up and can’t stay at home forever,” he said.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.