Happy Birthday, DNS

The domain name service, DNS, is 21. If the service hadn’t been invented by Dr Paul Mockapetris, you’d be looking up internet protocol numbers manually, almost like using a phone directory.

“The idea was to devise a way for Internet users to communicate freely with each other through an easy to operate system. Having to remember a long numerical code was not feasible as more users joined the Internet community,” said Dr Paul Mockapetris. “One of our goals was to develop a system that would allow global networking and information exchange. One of the ultimate successes of the domain name is that it is a universal every day language for Internet users across all continents.”

Dr Mockapteris (now I’ve told you his name, you’re not going to forget it, are you?) worked on the system with the late Dr Postel as part of ARPANET, and is now chief scientist and chairman of Nominum, an internet address management provider.

He predicts even greater things are yet to come for his offspring: “This year alone more than a billion users will interact with DNS to do everything from send emails, to browse web pages, or track inventory through RFID. In the next five years, I expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of ways in which the DNS is used, reaching far beyond what we have seen in the past twenty-one.”


Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?