Within the evaluation process there have evidently been a number of proposals that propose relatively novel use of these top level DNS labels, and the one I’d like to look at here is that of the so-called “dotless” domains proposed for the DNS root zone. It’s as if I had decided to revive the name server and propose it to be not only a top-level domain name that is defined across the entire Internet, but to have this name resolve to an IP address.
Can such dotless domain names, such as server, really function as top level domains?
For example, if I have my way, and server becomes a new gTLD, will that imply that everyone that entered server into their web browser, or everyone who sends mail to me@server, or uses this server name in any other network application will end up communicating with my server?
The DNS is not so simple, and in this case we have developed so called “search lists” that interfere with these so-called “dotless” domain names in various ways. The concept behind the search list was to allow local names to be used without explicitly adding a global DNS context. I can use a local service name for a named service and have the DNS automatically append the common DNS suffix to the local name to form a fully qualified DNS query name. So, if I have a local search list with example.com, then when I use the name server, the local DNS resolution system will append the search list, example.com, and then attempt to resolve the fully qualified name server.example.com. So how do search lists actually work? Or perhaps maybe we should first ask: how were search lists intended to work? Read more from Geoff Huston