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Re: Names: Decentralized, Secure, Human-Meaningful: Choose Two



(Sorry about the top-posting.  I use an off-the-shelf
collection of GNU/Linux software from a major vendor
and somewhere in the stack there is a long-standing bug
that prevents replies to lists from working correctly
in my (rather banal) environment.)

On Fri, 2006-01-27 at 12:45 +0000, Tony Garnock-Jones wrote:

> Your post, and Tom Lord's note on the politics of naming, reminded me
> of an excellent essay introducing "Zooko's Triangle" [1], laying out
> the tradeoffs between decentralization, strong identity, and
> human-meaningful naming. (Another short essay vaguely on topic is
[4].)
> 
Nice presentations.  Thank you.

[1] http://www.zooko.com/distnames.html
> [2] http://www.skyhunter.com/marcs/petnames/IntroPetNames.html
> [3] http://ciphergoth.livejournal.com/110893.html
> [4] http://shirky.com/writings/domain_names.html
> [5] http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~tony/L/
> [6] http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~tony/L/#Protocols%20and%20Default%
20Behavior
> 
I really like the rhetorical device of the triangle (first two 
links).  I encounter design tensions like that all the time --
it's nice to have more symbolic devices for communicating them.

Someone else also sent me this link (recommended):

Ludovic Courtès:
> The proposal at the end of your reply reminds me of SPKI/SDSI's
> name spaces, described at the beginning of:

>   Clarke et al, ``Certificate Chain Discovery in SPKI/SDSI'', 2001,
>   http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~rivest/ClarkeElElFrMoRi-
CertificateChainDiscoveryInSPKISDSI.ps

> The idea, roughly, is that each one can have identifiers in their 
> local name that may be bound either to a name in another person's 
> name space, or to some value (actually, a public key).  Such a 
> binding is called a ``name'', precisely.  Everyone can issue ``name 
> certificates'' for their local bindings, that is, cryptographically-
> signed descriptions of the bindings.

I became interested in names through work in revision 
control in the free software world.  We wish to shun
central authorities and other institutional environments
when managing the corpus of free code but we also wish
to have robust communities of discourse about and exchange
of that code -- names are critical.

I'm increasingly convinced that domain names should and
*probably* will wind up being not much more important than
phone numbers and only a little more important than IP
addresses.   Instead, we're going (knock on wood) to wind up
with a "meta-net" -- a thoroughly virtual Internet to which
new (virtual) nodes can be added without authorization from 
anyone and which is physically realized as a P2P layer over
the real Internet.

I don't mean the Really Big issues to derail the SRFI process
but do think they are worth bringing to the conversation.

-t