back to article China goes Alt with root proposal

China Telecom has only our best interests at heart, which is why it’s proposing that a Balkanised DNS system would save us from the disastrous effects of failure to scale. It’s been a long time – a long, long time – since this author has written up an IETF RFC that wasn’t dated April 1, but it’s time to make an exception, for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem China has

    (If I'm understanding the the whole root business.....) Is that if the US finally gets tired of China's army of government sponsored hackers and says "enough is enough," China could find itself kicked off the Internet until it promises to play nice (personally, I'd be happy to see that happen)?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: The problem China has

      The rest of the world is already unhappy at saying that it owns the entire internet (and the entire planet too, but that's another story). On top of that; it seems that a fair amount of the spying and malware comes from US too.

      Surely the best solution for all would be for US to unplug from the internet, "saving" themselves from Iran, Israel, China, etc. and at the same time, saving everyone from US?

      1. KnucklesTheDog

        Re: The problem China has

        > Surely the best solution for all would be for US to unplug from the internet

        Didn't Verizon already attempt this once?

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: The problem China has

      The USA could not kick China off. Well technically they could but the political consequence as the rest of the world finally decided that the USA couldn't be trusted to look after the system would quickly see other DNS roots spring up. Very quickly. The USA's grip on DNS is because it's a hassle to start changing things around and because those who know about about DNS to care, also tend to know that a shift would probably see all sorts of legislative headaches and power-grabs sneak in with it. USA kicking China off is a very short-term gain for a long term loss. I doubt China is afraid of this.

      Probably what China want is greater ability to control people within China. They've already got a lot, but if they control the DNS in the country, well, since when has China ever turned down a little more power over its companies and citizens? This gives them a nice, cleaner way of just dropping or redirecting any domains that they find troublesome. As far as I understand it, anyway.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem America has

      (If I'm understanding the whole bank business...) Is that if China finally gets tired of America's army of Stuxnet/Flame hackers and warmongering and says "enough is enough", China could stop buying US bonds and bankrupt the entire country.

      1. Figgus

        Re: The problem America has

        I wish they would, it's apparently the only way the US will ever get its spending under control.

      2. Euripides Pants

        Re: The problem America has

        "China could stop buying US bonds and bankrupt the entire country"

        Won't work. Money isn't even real anymore.

  2. Dr Andy Hill

    I propose a root root server to reference the autonomous root servers!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Andy, I do agree but you really should distribute across multiple servers. I mean, it does have a scaling issue after all *grin*

  3. localzuk

    Kinda confused...

    Surely this is how DNS works already? ie. China could legislate within their own country that all DNS requests must go via their own 'great firewall' DNS servers (ie. all ISPs use them as their 'root' servers, and all clients are then only able to use the DNS servers provided by their ISPs).

    Then China can do whatever it wants with their internal country traffic, by controlling the 'edge' routers for the country?

    Why does anything need changing with the standard/root servers?

  4. Graham Bartlett

    "Autonomous internet"

    Already exists. I believe that's called an "intranet". China just wants a slightly bigger one than yer average IT department manages, is all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That draft is pretty much unreadable, yes. Knowing China, though, and picking some key phrases from the introduction (and then quickly giving up with the rest of the unreadable crap) my money's on them looking for ways to make DNS blocks easier. Not exactly something in the spirit of the open internet, but very much in the spirit of the People's Republic of China's Government deciding what's best for its People and making sure those choices are Respected, yo.

    Which brings up the question: WTF, IETF?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No news..

    When I was building a rather well known government network we spent an entire day debating split DNS issues - there are many ways in which to do this, the trick is to keep it simple (our aim was not censorship, more an idea of managing MX records to keep email a bit contained). I'm a bit surprised that China wants to offer this DNS manipulation as an Internet standard, though, unless it is an attempt to make this move less censorship and more community. In that case, it flopped.

    Interesting side detail: we used a room wide whiteboard for that, only to discover at the end of our session that some joker had placed permanent markers in the tray. It remained up for almost 2 months before some poor sod was handed the job of getting rid of it.. And that was a LARGE whiteboard. Oops..

    1. mordac

      Re: permanent marker on a whiteboard

      > some joker had placed permanent markers in the tray

      Easy enough to remove - you draw over with dry wipe marker, and it all wipes off.

      1. DanDanDan

        Re: permanent marker on a whiteboard

        Draw over a wall-long whiteboard with dry wipe marker? I presume you're trolling?

        Surely you just get a bottle of whatever solvent (acetone?) is needed to remove the permanent marker without melting the whiteboard...

  7. Yes Me Silver badge

    snowball, in hell, chances same as

    Please read the disclaimer (which applies of course to *every* Internet Draft):

    'Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress." '

    This particular draft has roughly the same chance of being adopted and approved by the IETF as the proverbial snowball has of surviving the proverbial hell. That doesn't mean the idea isn't dangerous, of course.

  8. linkmaus

    It may not be as daft as it sounds?

    Skimming the RFC, it seems to me that it is more about removing the USA/international bias of existing directory names, more in line with the telephone numbering system. I can dial a local number without the preceding country and area codes, using the extra codes only when calling out of area. This is not the case with the current DNS.

    Under this proposal, within Australia, for example, "" would address the site known elsewhere as "", and so on with "" in New Zealand being known globally as "" . This could reduce the mixture of domestic sites, some within ".com" and others within ".com.CC", and reduce the privileged status of the so-called international domains that fall under US control. (This last point may be the real drive behind the proposal.)

    Adopting this in Canada would allow "" to be referred to locally as "www.IBM", achieving what ICANN wants to charge buckets of cash for. Of course in the UK, allowing the local country code to be dropped from "" could be confusing for Colombians. So there are both swings and roundabouts.

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