back to article ICANN dukes it out with the USSR in cold war rematch smackdown

The Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers - that's ICANN to you, Boris - has had enough, and decided to stick it to those godless pinko commie automatons once and for all, nukes be damned. For those readers who thought the cold war had vanished in rhetorical smoke years ago, Reuters has news for you. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK a troublemaker???

    "The UK has always been a troublemaker for the ISO 3166-1, what with the Brits thumbing their noses at the officially approved .gb for the sake of .uk and all. Take that, ICANN, and like it."

    Nice statement from someone that I would presume is from a country that uses as its suffix... er... nothing.

    How in standard is a country indicating that it is the only government on the planet by using .gov?

  2. RRRoamer

    That's always the problem with innovation...

    The US invented it, so they assumed it was just for them. But, they decided to be generous enough to expand it out so other countries could us it too.

    Like it or hate it. Use it or don't use it. That's YOUR call.

  3. Adam Azarchs

    @ The UK a troublemaker???

    The united states built the Internet. Long before it was international, it was a US government and educational network, so .gov, .mil, and .edu are all holdovers from that era. If you feel the need to complain, go build your own dang Internet. And GPS-knockoff, while you're at it.

  4. Nick Leverton

    Guys like .us

    I am always tempted, when Mr. Hansen starts wibbling on about top level domains and trotting out his great knowledge of how they ought to be run, to ask why he doesn't mention the little used and badly planned mess that appears to comprise the .us CCTLD (country-code top level domain).

    So, err, why ? Did I miss that week's opinion of his ?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    .SU for the righteous will of the People!

    > Like it or hate it. Use it or don't use it. That's YOUR call.

    Oh man yeah right. True. After all, we all know that the world is rightfully owned by USA and JESUS.

    > The united states built the Internet.

    O'RLY? Any word from the founding fathers on this?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    .uk is correct

    Following the pattern that CCTLD is supposed to be a country code then .uk is correct as opposed to .gb which presumable stands for Great Britain. That is in fact a geographical description of the islands comprising of the UK and Ireland. The area of France known as Britanny is actually geographically known as Little Britain but this is not widely used to protect the French from apoplectic fits. Presumably the Irish, having spent the past several hundred years trying to invent a tug powerful enough to tow their divided island as far away as possible from Greater Britain wouldn't be ecstatic either.

  7. Tom


    Actually, Northern Ireland is part of the island known as Ireland. England, Wales and Scotland reside on the island known as Great Britain. Collectively these two islands form the British Isles. The British Isles is made up of two countries; the Republic of Ireland (which makes up the other 75% of Ireland) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

    Basically, if we used .gb we'd have to give Northern Ireland their own CCTLD...

  8. Robert Baskerville


    The migration to .uk from .gb was really down to a politically awkward situation concerning Northern Ireland.

    Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland.

    The United Kingdom is "Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

    Using the .gb domain caused a problem: what domain should people in Northern Ireland use? Using .gb would have been inflammatory to one section of the population, using .ie (for Ireland) would have been equally so to another. Since poor old Ukraine was not using what (I seem to recall) was its original ISO 2 letter code of uk, we swiped it and left them with .ua

    The retirement of .gb was long and slow. Actually, the .gb TLD is still there in the DNS - still has live nameservers and some TXT records. It has not changed since January 2003. It has some quaintly British attributes. Governmental entities were under (obvious to all non-Brits that eh? HMG = Her Majesty's Government). I remember last two organisations active under .gb were the DRA (now DERA/QinetiQ) and, oddly enough, the Malvern Bellringers. George Smiley would have been proud of that, although the reasons behind it were rather mundane.

    The other TLD retirement I recall, which received little attention at the time, was when the .nato TLD was quietly moved to its more correct location of

    As for .su, well it seems a shame to retire it. I was surprised to see that Fujitsu do not have the obvious domain there.

  9. voshkin


    .su foreva!

    that is all.

  10. moonoi

    Thats the problem with Americans.....

    .....they assume they invent everything.

    @Adam - Try doing a bit of research about the history of the internet and who invented what. Rest assured it wasn't an american :-) for a hint try CERN

  11. Rob

    Problem with Americans?

    The United States created the Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as ARPA, in February 1958. The ARPANET developed by DARPA of the United States Department of Defense was the world's first operational packet switching network, and the predecessor of the global Internet.

    On August 6, 1991, CERN publicized the new World Wide Web project, two years after British scientist Tim Berners-Lee had begun creating HTML, HTTP and the first few Web pages at CERN.

  12. Bob H


    I do wish we (in the UK) would make more use of .uk, so many companies I see have registered a .com out of ignorance, often their company isn't interested in being an international and should register their domain as a instead. If you want to cover the bases use and register a .com to be safe but redirect it to your site!

    Also something that bugs me is non-commercial organisations which use instead of or whatever is suitable. = commercial so if you aren't commercial don't use it, that means you charities, politicians and interest groups. If you want one for personal use have a, I have two!

    It would be nice if the USA started using .us more, it seems to have had a rather abortive life so far, with some state areas using it. However as with the UK there seems to be a laziness everywhere and people just default to .com.... damn.


    As Rob demonstrates above, there is a big difference between "the internet" as an infrastructure and "the web" as an application. Before the web it was much harder to find p0rn and ASCII art telnet p0rn was never that popular. The internet is not the web and the web is just one tool of many that exists on the internet.

    As for the person who commented that the UK should build its own internet, we already have a massive infrastructure which it just happens to be connected transatlantic as well as in many other directions. The internet has no real core these days, just the root DNS servers which are globally distributed. deals with the UK and if the US disappeared we might lack some websites but we would still exist.

  13. M H Park

    A very brief primer: history of Internet and World Wide Web

    Sorry, lads, I'm no historian, but I am over 30 and I'm fairly certain the Yanks did invent the Internet, or at least Arpanet, which most people consider the direct ancestor of our current Internet. Arpanet went TCP/IP on 1 January 1983; though, arguably, Arpanet began back in 1969 with the Stanford-UCLA link. Arpanet connected to Britain round 1973. The Brits began their own analogue of Arpanet, SERCnet, using X.25 (not TCP/IP). The (British) Post Office joined with two American companies to build the first transatlantic packet-switching network IPSS in 1978.

    CERN began using TCP/IP round 1984. CERN helped proselytise TCP/IP tech across European networks and connected their own network to them in the late '80s. It was also at CERN that Sir Tim Berners-Lee (OM, KBE, FRS) started putting hypertext tech on TCP/IP networks (HTML, HTTP, etc). Finally, Marc Andreessen's team at the NCSA made a program called Mosaic that could graphically represent the hypertext 'web'. This lot eventually went private and begat Netscape...

    And if we're talking about top-level domains, these were originally administered by the NIC at Stanford and IANA at USC for the US Dept of Defence. Eventually, the Dept of Commerce summoned into being... ICANN.

    Like many modern technologies, multiple countries and people were involved in the development of the Internet and the WWW, but the US and UK (and their citizens) clearly played central roles. Redde Caesari quae sunt Caesaris.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's the modern equivalent of the postal system

    the only country in the world who does not put the country name on postage stamps is the UK.

    Why? Cos they are widely believed to have invented the whole modern postal system.

    The only country in the world not to put their ISO country code on gov domains is the USA. For much the same reason.

    This may only cause a problem if the US, like the old SU, splits.

    Much the same issue if the UK splits -- do the new stamps have to read "England", "Wales" etc?

  15. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Why was GB ever there?

    Usual disclaimers ("I'm no historian, etc.") but I don't think "Great Britain" has EVER been the official name of the political melting pot I call home, so why in heaven's name did ISO ever use it as the country's abbreviation? Was it some kind of republican plot to pre-empt and provoke the reunification of Ireland? (You know what civil servants are like. If you start calling it GB then they'll insist on giving Ulster away to keep the paperwork straight.)

    Oh, and on a completely different note, I understand that the .us domain has (or had) rules that forced names to follow a strict template of I can understand even the most patriotic US citizen preferring to use another domain.

  16. Paul Landon

    Rewriting History

    "The US invented the internet" LOL

    Other countries such as France & Britain had active networks to end users, including military and academic interconnected nets long before the word was invented.

    If one person was to be named as The Father of the web (there are many claims to paternity, international slut that she is), it would be Sir Bernard-Lee.

    If you are rewriting history you could even repeat the claim that the Yanks invented or built the first computer too.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stamps - "England", "Wales", etc....

    Scottish non-pictorial stamps already bear the Lion Rampant and have done for years - I don't know about Wales...

    The UK isn't a country (sorry, couldn't resist, it has to be said...). Scotland has its own completely separate criminal and civil justice systems, its own education system, and prints its own money (yes, including £1 notes, which still circulate North of the Border!). Legally speaking, of all of the denominations of English banknotes, only the £1 note was legal tender in Scotland, so with its demise... :-)

    Oh, yes, and despite the restrictions on its powers, Scotland once again has its own Government. Did you know that there were two Acts of Union in 1707, one Scottish one, and one English one, and that the Scottish one wasn't signed in Parliament because the MPs had to flee because a rioting mob was outside, demanding that it not be passed? In those days, only landowners could be MPs, and they'd all been paid in gold to pass the Act by Daniel Defoe, the then English Chancellor of the Exchequer...

  18. AJG

    @Rewriting History

    internet != web, go read earlier comments for details.

    @Stamps, Welsh stamps have their dragon on, at least they did 25 years ago which was the last time I remember seeing one. I think even NI have something on their stamps but I can't remember what.

  19. Chad H.

    @ Bob > A Domain for Northern Ireland

    Would that be the domain that says............... Ni?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ulster vs Northern Ireland

    "You know what civil servants are like. If you start calling it GB then they'll insist on giving Ulster away to keep the paperwork straight."

    Well GB already "gave away" parts of Ulster (Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan) when the Irish Republic was formed as Ulster is a 9 county geographical province of Ireland whereas Northern Ireland is a 6 county contested politically created region that is a subset of the province of Ulster.

    Yet another person falls into the mistake of assuming Ulster == Northern Ireland.

  21. Johan Struwwelpeter

    What the hell is an automoton ?

    How lame ... and typical :)

  22. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Ulster splits

    It's a little known historical fact that the split in ulster occured for democratic reasons. Three of the nine counties voted to join the Irish Free Republic, which lasted just long enough to ratify the treaty giving Ireland its independence before ceasing to exist. The other counties voted to remain part of the UK, and were given their own parliament and a bunch of other stuff that lasted until the 1970s. The parliament was shut down after the PIRA started their terrorist campaign.

    Don't ask why anyone thought that would help. I have no idea.

    As for stamps, I think what would likely happen is that scotland and wales would be obliged to put their name or some other symbol on their stamps, whilst england would retain the classic queen's head in the corner.

    Wasn't this article about "teh internets"?

  23. James Anderson

    What fun

    origonally TLDs were assigned by the people who used them hence:-

    .acc .gov .mil

    As more people got in on the act we got:-

    .net .com .org

    Then some British Accedemics started having problems claiming expenses for trips to California so, sadly, they started managing thier own TLD and reflected the US structure within the "uk" domain so we get the wierd looking:- , etc.

    A short time later there was a "me too" clamour of countries insisting on thier own TLDs (even though in most of these countries academics could still claim a nice pile of expenses for a trip to California ).

    The internet powers that were headed of a massive bun fight among all the foriegners over who got what name by saying they had to use thier ISO country code. (The results of a previous massive bun fight).

    However the ISO country code for "The United kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" is not TUKoGBaNI or even UK but GB.

    "Great Britain" being the geographical description for the large island shared by England, Scotland and Wales but excluding other Islands comprising the British Isles such as Ireland, Skye, Shetland, Wight, Man etc. so the TLD actualy only covers 80% of British territory.

    We can resolve this anomily, and, the problem of the orphaned "su" TLD if the various other British lsles followed the the Ilse of Man's example and applied for thier own TLD.

    I think the people of South Uist would gladly welcome the refugee URLs from the former Soviet Union.

  24. Simon Greenwood

    gb was the ISO code, whether rightly or wrongly

    but uk was adopted by JANET, the Joint Academic Network, which originally reversed the logic so UK addresses were of the form for Cambridge for example.

    It could have been far worse - the first Australian nodes were given addresses with the TLD .oz, and there were quite a few domains of the form when the standard was adopted.

  25. Eduard Coli

    ICANN not

    ICANN is a creature in need of a reason to exist.

    The reason why ICANN cares about domains is that they are just trying to make work for themselves.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NIand .us

    "It's a little known historical fact that the split in ulster occured for democratic reasons. Three of the nine counties voted to join the Irish Free Republic, which lasted just long enough to ratify the treaty giving Ireland its independence before ceasing to exist. The other counties voted to remain part of the UK, and were given their own parliament and a bunch of other stuff that lasted until the 1970s. The parliament was shut down after the PIRA started their terrorist campaign.

    Don't ask why anyone thought that would help. I have no idea."

    They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.....

    The partition of Ireland was "designed" by a 3-man commission. There was never any plebiscite in the affected counties to vote for or against it (at least one, and possibly 2 of the 6 counties had Nationalist majorities and would not have voted in favour). And the NI Parliament was shut down after the Loyalist Workers Council shut down the state in protest at the "London Governments" plans!

    On the actual topic in hand, some posters have some pretty bizarre ideas about .US domains - do a Google search for site:us and it returns "about 55,900,000" hits -

  27. tony trolle

    gb or uk

    I seem to remember Gibraltar wanting GB.......

  28. Michael Ahumibe

    What does it matter who invented stuff?

    It wasn't you and it wasn't me, but it we should be glad it just works and we don't need PASSPORTS or any other kind of stupidness to access sites in other countries.

  29. Jim


    It is true that an internet != the Web, but what about the Internet?

    Amazing what a difference an capital makes.

  30. Shoal Creek


    The Internet != the Web, either. The Internet is the infrastructure for things such as the World Wide Web, internet relay chat, file transfer protocol, secure shell, telnet, e-mail, and hundreds (if not thousands) of other uses. The Web (short for World Wide Web) is just one application of the Internet. It is the one that specifically uses the hyper-text transfer protocol (http) and that you see when you use a web-browser.

    In mathematical terms, the Web is a subset of the Internet. The Web does not contain the entire Internet. The Web only contains the portion of the Internet that makes up the Web. On the other hand, the Internet does contain the entire World Wide Web as well as hundreds or thousands of other uses.

    As for TLD's, I don't care what ones they use, as long as it works and I can get to the information that I want.

This topic is closed for new posts.