Chapter 5: Growing the Root

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Overview

The real domain authorities are going to be selected by some political processes that are not identified well enough, in any of the drafts we have considered, to allow us to seriously consider deciding on any of the top-level domains, ARPA included. . . . There just ain't no way that us techies are going to be allowed to dictate domain structures . . .

-Einar Stefferud, namedroppers list, May 1984

This chapter tells several interrelated stories.

One is the story of how the Internet's domain name and address spaces came into being in 1981. Another is a story of growth. In the decade following the formal specification of the Internet protocols, the number of host computers on the Internet increased exponentially. By the early 1990s, the Internet protocols and their name and address spaces had become the convergence point for the achievement of global interoperability in data networking.

Parallel to the narratives of growth and convergence is the emergence of a cohesive Internet technical community. Over a span of 20 years, the government programs supporting internetworking created a cadre of technologists committed to the promotion and development of the Internet protocols. It evolved into an internationally distributed community that conceived of itself as self-governing and developed its own norms and procedures. As the Net became a commercial mass medium, the senior leaders of this community, a technical priesthood backed by federal largesse, would struggle to retain control of the Internet's name and number resources. Their claim to ownership rights, however, would be made not in the name of the United States or its government, but in the name of a stateless, emergent 'Internet community.' The roots of institutional innovation can be traced by examining this community's origins and its interaction with established institutions.



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Ruling the Root(c) Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
ISBN: 0262134128
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 110

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