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Username: cstone
Date/Time: Mon, October 23, 2000 at 8:24 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: Support for .DIR TLD


      Tilion, Inc. and I emphatically support Novell's petition for a .DIR Top Level Domain.  All current market research suggests that Business-to-Business (B2B) communications will be the bedrock of the future worldwide economy.  B2B communications can not reach its potential if companies are unable to share information regarding corporate physical and intellectual assets only to trusted corporate partners and more specifically only to the departments and people that have a need to know and the appropriate permission.  This fine-grained sharing of information is a critical component of establishing trust.  While still immature, directory technology is uniquely positioned today to perform this function, indeed no other technology has been introduced to challenge the directory in this role.  But deployment of interoperable directories is currently hampered by several deployment challenges, many of which can be addressed if a Top Level Domain for Directory Registration is granted and properly administered. 

A .DIR Top Level Domain will provide a simple mechanism by which a company can register its participation in the Public Directory Network.  The registration process must assure corporate credentials and assure the directory implementation meets appropriate standards.  This test is needed to assure the interoperability and security of the Public Directory Network.  Without such an assurance, deployment of interconnected directories will be significantly slowed.  By having a registration facility and a DNS for directory sites, discovery of compliant and secure corporate directories becomes much easier.

Arguments against a .DIR TLD have suggested that similar benefits can be derived by exposing the corporate directory via a specific port; as is done for HTTP, FTP and other Internet protocols.  Note however that these protocols were already both standardized and had significant implementations deployed before they became widely adopted.  This enabled implementations to be tested for compatibility in advance of wide scale adoption.  But even then HTTP interoperability was initially secured by wide adoption of a single (free) implementation -- Netscape.

The fact is that today no single directory has a commanding lead, and most directories on the market today deliver advanced features that are not exposed by the LDAP standard.  This is a problem because the value-added features are often tightly coupled to the functions that are exposed via LDAP, and so two directory implementations behave differently when interacting to the same LDAP function.  This makes directory interoperability more of a challenge than http, ftp, or smtp. 

Tilion recognizes that assigning a specific port for directory usage or providing a mechanism for directory discovery using UDDI, SOAP, or some other protocol can work.  Tilion simply recognizes that these alternative approaches will not organize a global public directory network as quickly as will be possible by a well-administered .DIR TLD.  The TLD will have an important role in validating corporate entities that are participating and assuring appropriate interoperability and security constraints are met.  By applying a TLD administration process to the directory infrastructure B2B eCommerce will expand more rapidly since a structured and secure registration process will exist.  Without the .DIR TLD early implementers will be forced to exert significantly greater effort, and take on significantly greater risk, since they will need to work exclusively by bilateral agreement.  By implementing a new TLD companies have a mechanism that will help them organize and implement, which reduces the burden on the first to implement the public directory network.  By lowering the burden of deploying the public directory network significantly more complex B2B interoperability and data sharing is enabled which will help speed eCommerce and help the world economies benefit from the full potential of B@B communications.


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