Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox, etc?

xxeyes
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Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox, etc?

Post by xxeyes »

What will be necessary for .bit domains to become accessible from popular web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, etc. without an add-on? Could google, Mozilla, etc. simply decide to support .bit domains, instantly giving everyone access with their next browser update or are there other stumbling blocks? What do you think is the likelihood of this ever happening, and when? What can we do to encourage such adoption?

biolizard89
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by biolizard89 »

xxeyes wrote:What will be necessary for .bit domains to become accessible from popular web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, etc. without an add-on? Could google, Mozilla, etc. simply decide to support .bit domains, instantly giving everyone access with their next browser update or are there other stumbling blocks? What do you think is the likelihood of this ever happening, and when? What can we do to encourage such adoption?
I think the first step is to get a Firefox/Chrome/etc. addon that works well, has decent security, and is easy to use. From that point, once the addon is relatively well-tested, a campaign could be launched to get Mozilla/Google to include it by default.

I happened to be at a poster session at Google HQ in New York a few months ago, and presented a poster on Namecoin. The Google people seemed interested.

As a sidenote, I don't think Mozilla/Google would include Namecoin support until the blockchain size issue is dealt with -- expired names shouldn't have to be downloaded. If they included support before that's fixed, the blockchain size would explode and DoS everyone.
Jeremy Rand, Lead Namecoin Application Engineer
NameID: id/jeremy
DyName: Dynamic DNS update client for .bit domains.

Donations: BTC 1EcUWRa9H6ZuWPkF3BDj6k4k1vCgv41ab8 ; NMC NFqbaS7ReiQ9MBmsowwcDSmp4iDznjmEh5

xxeyes
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by xxeyes »

biolizard89 wrote:
xxeyes wrote:What will be necessary for .bit domains to become accessible from popular web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, etc. without an add-on? Could google, Mozilla, etc. simply decide to support .bit domains, instantly giving everyone access with their next browser update or are there other stumbling blocks? What do you think is the likelihood of this ever happening, and when? What can we do to encourage such adoption?
I think the first step is to get a Firefox/Chrome/etc. addon that works well, has decent security, and is easy to use. From that point, once the addon is relatively well-tested, a campaign could be launched to get Mozilla/Google to include it by default.

I happened to be at a poster session at Google HQ in New York a few months ago, and presented a poster on Namecoin. The Google people seemed interested.

As a sidenote, I don't think Mozilla/Google would include Namecoin support until the blockchain size issue is dealt with -- expired names shouldn't have to be downloaded. If they included support before that's fixed, the blockchain size would explode and DoS everyone.
Thanks, that makes sense. I hope it happens eventually. Namecoin is the most interesting crypto in my opinion and the .bit domain is well suited for ventures supporting cryptos. I can imagine specifically seeking out businesses with .bit names with the expectation that they will accept bitcoin and other cryptos, for example.

im3w1l
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by im3w1l »

I think we should pool money for a bounty. Also a bounty for .tor domains would be even better, since tor have no dns at all, it would be a huge improvement.

biolizard89
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by biolizard89 »

im3w1l wrote:I think we should pool money for a bounty. Also a bounty for .tor domains would be even better, since tor have no dns at all, it would be a huge improvement.
The Namecoin Marketing and Development Fund (operated by phelix) is organizing such a bounty. If you like, you can donate to the fund and ask for it to be earmarked for a specific feature (e.g. Tor domain support).
Jeremy Rand, Lead Namecoin Application Engineer
NameID: id/jeremy
DyName: Dynamic DNS update client for .bit domains.

Donations: BTC 1EcUWRa9H6ZuWPkF3BDj6k4k1vCgv41ab8 ; NMC NFqbaS7ReiQ9MBmsowwcDSmp4iDznjmEh5

jdbtracker
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by jdbtracker »

Ask Doublec, he works for Firefox; He is a very skilled programmer that could write something up for us, wouldn't hurt.

biolizard89
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by biolizard89 »

jdbtracker wrote:Ask Doublec, he works for Firefox; He is a very skilled programmer that could write something up for us, wouldn't hurt.
doublec works for Mozilla? If this is correct, I was unaware. That's cool.
Jeremy Rand, Lead Namecoin Application Engineer
NameID: id/jeremy
DyName: Dynamic DNS update client for .bit domains.

Donations: BTC 1EcUWRa9H6ZuWPkF3BDj6k4k1vCgv41ab8 ; NMC NFqbaS7ReiQ9MBmsowwcDSmp4iDznjmEh5

indolering
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by indolering »

There is no short answer to this question, but I'll try to provide an authoritative summary of the situation.

I interned for Mozilla and it's a *crazy* organization: they live stream their staff meetings and there are random people from all over who sit in on them and populate the IRC channel with an immense amount of chatter. At least on the project I was working on, MOST of the contributors were unpaid staff and the paid staff had way too many managerial responsibilities.

This is good and bad, they are a mission driven company but there is a *very* high noise level. I've seen some research on the Bugzilla database that showed community feedback had no statistically significant impact. It's hard to say how far that generalizes outside of Buzilla but it gives some insight as to the number of people constantly banging on Mozilla's door asking them to add feature X, Y, or Z.

Take the Metalink project, they have had add-ons and (I believe) patches for both Firefox and Chrome for years. They didn't just whine about how Mozilla should do all the hard work just on the principal of the thing: they submitted code, Metalinks have been taken up in by other significant software packages (wget and cURL support it natively , openSUSE uses it for their package manager, etc), and they have even submitted some RFC's to the IETF. Despite all that work, Mozilla still declines to support the format.

However, Mozilla has lots of people trying to push things into their codebase, a codebase that they have to maintain. Why haven't they picked up WebP? Because it's not radically better than jpeg and they can't force Microsoft to adopt it. They picked up PNG, WebM, Ogg, and Opus largely over patent disputes. Transparency on PNG is awesome, but they still have to support Gifs because they are animated. Given all of that background, it's really not surprising that Firefox hasn't picked up support for Metalinks: there just isn't an overwhelming use case.

So what does that mean for .bit? Well, censorship on the web is becoming an overwhelming use case but the Namecoin project isn't in anywhere near the shape of what the Metalinker is in and Namecoin is MUCH bigger! A smaller blockchain format is the least of the engineering headaches adopting .bit will cause. For all the shit we give ICANN and the domain registrars, they have been running DNS for over a decade without a hitch. We can only pray we become as boring as ICANN!

It's possible that they will adopt .bit, but I'm betting that they will instead opt for a formal protocol, meaning that widespread support would be ~5 years from whenever they decide to support it. But, if we become a large enough use-case I think everyone will wake up and smell the need for a decentralized, censorship-resistant name address system.

I would love to hear doublec's feedback on the above, as aIl of this is based on watching the DNS and the internet growing up and a few months as a remote intern. My guess is that Mozilla and others will embrace decentralized DNS when we can deliver a functionally equivalent system (sub 100-millisecond response time, secure protocols, stable networking, IETF working groups, etc) paired with censorship-resistant domain name resolution. Bitcoin is just starting to become accepted by in the mainstream financial markets, it will be another decade before it's a routine part of our lives and .bit is really just getting started....
Last edited by indolering on Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
DNS is much more than a key->value datastore.

biolizard89
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by biolizard89 »

indolering wrote:There is no short answer to this question, but I'll try to provide an authoritative summary of the situation.

I interned for Mozilla and it's a *crazy* organization: they live stream their staff meetings and there are random people from all over who sit in on them. At least on the project I was working on, MOST of the contributors were unpaid staff and the paid staff had way, way too many managerial responsibilities.

This is good and bad, they are a mission driven company but there is a *very* high noise level. I've seen some research on the Bugzilla database that showed community feedback had no statistically significant impact. It's hard to say how far that generalizes outside of Buzilla but in general, there are people constantly banging on Mozilla's door asking them to add feature X, Y, or Z.

Take Metalinks, something that has had add-ons and (I believe) patches for the main distro for both Firefox and Chrome for years. They didn't just whine about how Mozilla should do all the hard work just on the principal of the thing: they submitted code, it's been taken up in by other significant software packages (wget, openSUSE uses it for their package manager, etc), and they have even submitted some RFS's to the IETF.

However, Mozilla has lots of people trying to push things into their codebase, a codebase that they have to maintain. Why haven't they picked up WebP? Because it's not radically better than jpeg and Microsoft will never adopt it. They picked up PNG, WebM, Ogg, and Opus largely over patenting disputes. Transparency on PNG is awesome, but they still have to support .gifs because they are animated. Given all of that background, it's really not surprising that Firefox hasn't picked up support for Metalinks: there just isn't an overwhelming use case.

So what does that mean for .bit? Well, censorship on the web is becoming an overwhelming use case but .bit isn't in anywhere near the shape of what Metalinks is in and .bit is an entire routing platform subsystem! A smaller blockchain format is the least of the engineering headaches adopting .bit will cause. For all the shit we give ICANN and the domain registrars, they have been running DNS for over a decade without a hitch. We can only pray we become as boring as ICANN or the IETF!

It's possible that they will adopt .bit, but I'm betting that they will instead opt for a formal protocol, meaning that widespread support would be ~5 from whenever they decide to support it. But, if we get a big enough use case for the need for decentralized DNS routing (and I'm hoping to make that happen on the 24th) I think everyone will wake up and smell the need for decentralized, censorship-resistant name address system.

I would love to hear doublec's feedback on the above, as aIl of this is based on watching the DNS and the internet growing up and a few months as a remote intern. My guess is that Mozilla and others will embrace decentralized DNS when we can deliver a functionally equivalent system (sub 100-millisecond response time, secure protocols and code, stable networking, IETF working groups) paired with censorship-resistant domain name resolution. Bitcoin is just starting to be accepted by in the mainstream financial markets, it will be another decade before it's a routine part of our lives and .bit is really just getting started....
Good writeup, thanks for that.

Your in-passing mention of response time reminds me of a conversation I had with one of the Google guys over the summer. After I briefly explained .bit to him, his immediate first question was to ask how the response time compared to standard DNS. He commented that Google spends a lot of money trying to make DNS faster, and after I explained that (1) "in theory" namecoind-based systems should be faster because the data is already locally stored, and (2) "in practice" it may be slower due to implementation issues, he basically said that if .bit could make DNS run fast with less infrastructure investment, that would be a major selling point to entities like Google. Obviously this was one guy speaking informally, so it doesn't represent Google policy... but he probably knows more than we do about the technical concerns Google has.
Jeremy Rand, Lead Namecoin Application Engineer
NameID: id/jeremy
DyName: Dynamic DNS update client for .bit domains.

Donations: BTC 1EcUWRa9H6ZuWPkF3BDj6k4k1vCgv41ab8 ; NMC NFqbaS7ReiQ9MBmsowwcDSmp4iDznjmEh5

indolering
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Re: Can we ever expect to access .bit domains with Firefox,

Post by indolering »

(1) "in theory" namecoind-based systems should be faster because the data is already locally stored, and (2) "in practice" it may be slower due to implementation issues, he basically said that if .bit could make DNS run fast with less infrastructure investment, that would be a major selling point to entities like Google. Obviously this was one guy speaking informally, so it doesn't represent Google policy... but he probably knows more than we do about the technical concerns Google has.
I really don't understand the underlying infrastructure, it certainly seems like it was built at a time when raw processing power was very, very expensive. Namecoin could be a good opportunity for them to rebuild it. It would, at the very least, be worthy of a research project.
Last edited by indolering on Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DNS is much more than a key->value datastore.

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