A community dedicated to fediverse news and discussion.
Fediverse is a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”. It is a common, informal name for a federation of social network servers whose main purpose is microblogging, the sharing of short, public messages.
Getting started on Fediverse;
DNS is centralized?
Yes, it’s controlled by ICANN which licenses out the ability to become a domain registrar. Making a new TLD is very expensive and the whole process is in the hands of like a half dozen corporations.
Oof. What are the actually decentralized alternatives then?
Ehh, okay, let’s get into this a bit, shall we?
Yes, ICANN “controls” the DNS root, and then delegates authority over top level domains (TLDs, like say
.is, etc) to registry operators (I’ll call them “registries” for short here) that then operate them. Registries then make decisions how they make second- and third-level domains (say,
example.co.uk) available for registration by people.
Thing is, ICANN delegates that authority usually for decades. So if you want to worry about something related to DNS, you need to worry about your registry (the operator of the TLD you’re using) or your registrar (the company you bought the domain through), rather than ICANN. ICANN has effectively no power to tell specific registries to take down specific domain.
And registries usually really do not like taking down specific domains. Why would they? Not only is this money lost (they usually get paid per a registered domain name), plus people who work in many registries are very often Old Guard Grey Beards, who hate censorship and centralization probably more than you do, with the difference that they do actually understand the underlying technology.
These registries are what is referred in the post higher up in the chain as the “half a dozen” corporations that “the process” is “in the hands of”. And there is considerably more of them than “half a dozen”. They all have their policies, including what is needed to take down a domain name registered with them, and how much a domain name costs.
You can register domains for a couple of dollars per year, which I would posit is not “very expensive”.
Plus, the governance of ICANN has been less and less centralized over the years. There are all sorts of boards and governing bodies that have a say nowadays. Is it perfect? No, not by a long shot, and I have plenty of qualms about ICANN as an organization. But saying “DNS is centralized” glosses over a lot of complexity and makes it seem as if ICANN flat out controls and micro-manages every single domain name, which has nothing to do with reality.
Plus, if you want to go down a rabbit hole, consider IANA, who controls allocation of IP addresses.
Oh noes, IP addresses are “centralized” because of IANA much in a similar way that DNS is “centralized” because of ICANN? Yup, you heard that right! Does it mean that anything that uses an IP address is by definition “centralized”? No, saying that would be somewhat silly.
Disclaimer: I work for ISNIC, the .IS registry. I had also been involved in digital human rights activism for ~15 years, with focus on decentralization and anti-censorship. Take this as you will.
Of course this is not to say there are no issues with ICANN. Just ask Peter Sunde.
But it’s way more nuanced than “[DNS] is controlled by ICANN” and “a new TLD is very expensive”.