F Root Server Makes its Peace with ICANN

ICANN has announced some kind of an agreement with the Internet Systems Consortium, operator of the F root server complex. We can’t say much about it yet, because the actual agreement hasn’t been published, and the agreement hasn’t been ratified by either organization’s Board. But any formalized agreement would represent an important step toward further institutionalization of the ICANN global governance regime, and the agreement could serve as the template for agreements with other root server operators. Legally and operationally, the root server operators have no contractual obligations to ICANN or, for that matter, to anyone else; they are the last remnants of the informal yet effective stewardship model of the early Internet pioneers, in which a self-selected group of trusted technical experts assumed operational and policy responsibility for key internet coordination functions. Roping in the F root, run by noted maverick Paul Vixie, is particularly significant for ICANN. It will be interesting to see how the agreement deals with a number of tough issues, such as selecting a new root server operator when an organization operating one fails or goes out of existence, for example. Or whether it ducks such issues entirely. Stay tuned.

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    I didn't realize that “F” and ICANN were in a war!! How could I have missed THAT?!!!??