Resources on Naming
- In an early paper
Butler W. Lampson et al. suggested how to build a global name space
for arbitrary digital objects. Their design allows replications and
partial updates, but seems to assume a distributed database of
shared keys for authorization.
- In Sape Mullender's Distributed Computing, the 12th
chapter, by Roger Needham, is about names. He explains the uses of
names in distributed computing and a list of problems that follow
from that. He discusses Lampson's paper shortly.
- Stuart Haber, Scott Stornetta Secure Names for
The authors present a scheme were short names
for documents can be constructed from timestamping certificates.
These guarantee the integrity of the named document and can be
changed over time. Relies on two central authorities, a timestamping
service and a repository to look up the actual location.
- Carl Ellisons SPKI
Certificate Theory (RFC 2693) (local copy)
has a section on why we cannot
expect globaly unique ids for entities to turn up. It includes a
history of naming in the computer age with follies like X.509, as
- Ross Anderson's Security Engineering
contains eight insightful pages about names, pp. 124-132. He
explains a lot about the different functions of naming and the
silent assumptions about names that do seldom hold.
- Gordon Irlam wrote a page about
naming in 1995 (link dead) (local copy ripped from
- A collection of papers related to global, censorproof file
systems is at cypherspace
(local copy). Most
of the proposed systems have special naming constructs.
- The eternity-fs
people had long discussions about namespaces.
- An interesting post is Ted Anderson's Managing a
distributed namespace (local copy).
- Part of the above design (notably the names including hashes
of the server's/author's public key) is implemented in the Self Certifing File System(link dead)
web.archive.org) (David Mazières' Master Thesis on SFS)
in Ross Anderson's Eternal
Resource Locator paper(.pdf) (local copy).
- Zooko wrote a good if informal memo about the problems of
non-self certifying names, trust and commemorability, titled Names: Decentralized, Secure,
Human-Memorizable: Choose Two (local copy).
- A broad overview over names and their use in distributed systems
such as the net is given in The ANSA Naming Model (local copy).
- John Perry Barlow's
Accra Manifesto is mainly about ICANN and problems arising
from central administration of the DNS.
- Clay Shirky wrote an article with the title DNS Hell:
Is there a solution? (local copy ripped from
- The draft Host
Identity Protocol (local copy),
by Moskowitz et al., proposes an
architecture-independent naming scheme for hosts.
- CircleID has a whole
lot of articles about DNS and other naming schemes and their impact.
For example, Francis Hwang's Do Domain Names
Matter? , or
- What should be the goals when designing a naming system? Brad
Tempelton wrote a well-thought-out article
- Adam Back's Auditable
Namespace (local copy).
- If names are just tools of refence to resources, than they themselves
do not need to be meaningfull. This idea is expanded in MIT's
- The paper Names in
Cryptographic Protocols (local copy)
points out design problems in protocols
that leave out the explicit names of senders, receivers or subjects
- An IETF draft on A
Survey of Internet Identities (local copy)
explains current usage of identifiers on the net.
- Chains of local names are defined in Rivest and Lampson's SDSI
Pet Markup Language (local copy)
is something like SDSI,
it translates memorizable names to keys and allows
linking through local namespaces.
- It is possible to overload standard resolvers like libresolv
in bind9. It has
an api for alternative lookup etc. mechanisms,
- Chord and
distributed hash tables for lookups. The Chord people even
defined a distributed DNS:
DNS using Chord (.pdf) (local copy)
by Russ Cox, Athicha Muthitacharoen and Robert Morris
- Emil Sit and Robert Morris discuss
security aspects of distributed hashes in Security
Considerations for Peer-to-Peer Distributed Hash
Tables (.pdf) (local copy).
- handle relies on a central
database, but might be interesting anyhow. Larry Stone describes
handle and PURL in an evaluation
- The Unified
Resource Name (URN) Working Group
set out to define ''persistent,
location-independent, resource identifiers``.
The Dynamic Delegation
Discovery System (rfc 3401 - 3405) trys to implement lazy binding
from bitstrings to data. The author suggests to use this for
Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI)". URI are a superset of the
- The eXtensible Name Service (XNS) standards body has renamed
itself to the more lyrical ”eXtensible
Data Interchange (XDI)“ standards body. They propose a
bundle of XML schemata that express and protect(???) information
about identities (personal data, organizational info).
- the Digital Object Identifier
system proposes yet another global naming scheme. There even was a
partial implementation of it, described in a paper by
- Michael J. O'Donnell
suggests Open Network Handles which are tied to public keys and can be used as intermediate
objects betweeen DNS and IP addresses.
- Content-Centric Networking Resources suggests
a layer of indirection to create content-based URLs without hostnames in them.
- Internet Distributed Open Name System