[messaging] GNU Name System

Mike Hearn mike at plan99.net
Mon Oct 6 03:54:59 PDT 2014

> GNS has really nice features, but like any other cryptographic system I
> think
> the hard part is how to make it easy to use.

Yes, GNS seems to hit problems at this point in the paper:

   "Bob gets to know Alice in real life and obtains her public key"

> The web usage of most non-nerds around me is that if they want to go to
> facebook
> for example, even though they visit it every day several times, they type
> in the
> search engine (usually google) 'facebook' and follow what the search engine
> dictates what is facebook.

Funny fact - one of the top searches on Google is "yahoo" and one of the
top searches on Yahoo is "google". Or at least it used to be. People
navigate to search engines using search engines too. And why not? A search
engine is miles better than a URL bar for ordinary users. It does spelling
correction, understands non-English alphabets, and doesn't force you to
think about the distinction between an address and what you actually want.
Most importantly, it *always* works and never gives you mysterious errors.

W.R.T. the utility of censorship free naming, I'm not sure a naming only
system is actually that useful. DNS is already decentralised across all
countries. Sites that have hit DNS censorship in the past have basically
always been successful at playing jurisdictional arbitrage. For something
like GNS to be useful you'd need a web site that can't get a domain name in
any country or TLD, presumably due to illegality (what else can cause
this?), yet doesn't mind exposing its IP address in the clear.

In practice, sites that face such across the board levels of censorship
i.e. Silk Road and friends all need to hide their server location as well,
in which case they end up just using Tor for everything including naming.
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