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RE: [ga] FYI: Staff Draft towards Mission Statement

On Fri, 8 Mar 2002, Peter de Blanc wrote:

> It is truely amazing that something once  done by volunteers,

In fact much is *still* done by volunteers, such as the running of the
root servers and thus isn't even on the current ICANN budget.

ICANN management likes to inflate the complexity of what it is doing - 
Stuart Lynn, for example brewed up an utterly fanciful statement that it 
would cost ICANN $10,000,000/year to run 12 root servers.  By my own 
estimates, estimates that I doubled just to be on the safe side, I came up 
with about $3,000,000 in one-time costs and the same in yearly recurring 

(I was appalled at the finacial naivete of ICANN's management insofar as
they were unable even to come up with the costs that ICANN/IANA incurrs
today to operate its root server and they didn't even break the projected
costs down into the basic one-time vs recurring structure.)

The competing root systems manage to do the same job for less than a
couple of percentage points of Lynn's estimates.  And I can assure you,
being a user of competing roots, that the quality of service and failure
rate they deliver is no worse than that of the ICANN root and, in fact,
has been better.

When the competition can deliver an apparently equivalent product (in this 
case DNS root services, including root zone preparation and distribution) 
for pennies on the dollar there are clearly some hard questions that need 
to be clearly asked and clearly answered.

ICANN mangement's self-written job description is reminiscent of a resume
from someone who is trying to depict a job flipping burgers as some sort
of high-powered management position.

ICANN's management is obviously engaged in a game of empire building.

> ... Frankly, I do not see the need to pay so much for so
> little. Like there is not even a QoS guarantee on the operation of the
> root server system. 

I agree.  Christian Huitma noted a couple of years ago that many DNS
queries are lost due to server congestion.  And that, in turn, translates
to significant delays for users.

Most of us depend upon the quality and speed of DNS name resolution
services - if name resolution slows down then the whole perception of net
speed goes down as well.

For those of us who build businesses on the Internet, it is hard to make
quality committments to our customers when one of the primary ingreedients
of that service, root name services, is not only outside of our direct
control but is, in fact, run by a bunch of volunteers.

It was only a couple of weeks ago when ICANN's management brought to the 
board a Memorandum of Understanding - not a contract but a MoU - that 
retained nearly all the elements of the volunteer aspect of root server 
operations.  ICANN's management strongly advocated and fought for this 
loose and vague structure.

And now, when it comes to justifying ICANN, suddenly ICANN's management 
does a flip-flop and decides that it now must take a firm grasp of the 
root servers - something that three weeks ago was anathema to them - at an 
outrageous cost of $10,000,000 year.

(I personally believe that ICANN ought to either directly run its root
servers or have firm, clearly enforceable operations contracts.  But the
dollar figure quoted by ICANN management, dollars which largely translate
into head count and bigger org charts, are vastly out of line with any
reality except that of an empire building bureaucrat or a fee grasping law


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