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What DNS Is Not

Nov 09, 2009, 17:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Vixie)

"DNS (Domain Name System) is a hierarchical, distributed, autonomous, reliable database. The first and only of its kind, it offers realtime performance levels to a global audience with global contributors. Every TCP/IP traffic flow including every World Wide Web page view begins with at least one DNS transaction. DNS is, in a word, glorious.

"To underline our understanding of what DNS is, we must differentiate it from what it is not. The Internet economy rewards unlimited creativity in the monetization of human action, and fairly often this takes the form of some kind of intermediation. For DNS, monetized intermediation means lying. The innovators who bring us such monetized intermediation do not call what they sell "lies," but in this case it walks like a duck and quacks like one, too.

"Not all misuses of DNS take the form of lying. Another frequently seen abuse is to treat DNS as a directory system, which it is not. In a directory system one can ask approximate questions and get approximate answers. Think of a printed telephone white pages directory here: users often find what they want in the printed directory not by knowing exactly what the listing is but by starting with a guess or a general idea. DNS has nothing like that: all questions and all answers are exact."

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