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September 1996 Newsletter of the

Front Range Unix Users Group

The Bottom Line: 4pm Tuesday September 24 ACS Rm 123 - Domain Names


This Month's Meeting: Internet Domain Name Issues

At the September 24th meeting of the Front Range UNIX Users Group Eric Robison, President of Clue Computing, Inc., and Phil DuBois, attorney for Clue Computing, will address some of the issues surrounding ownership of Internet domain names. The meeting will be at 4:00.

In the years before the advent of the World Wide Web, the topic of Internet domain names was not particularly controversial. Initial holders of domain names were universities and governmental agencies, with a few large corporations joining the game. Through the 1980's and early-1990's, increasing numbers of businesses established an Internet presence through descriptive domain names. Registration of domain names was an egalitarian, first-come, first-served, process.

Almost overnight, however, the World Wide Web plunged the Internet into the world of big business, and created a whole new spotlight on Internet domain name policies. Having an identity on the Web corresponding to the name of your company or product suddenly became a critical issue. Bowing to the forces of businesses who suddenly became interested in the Internet, Network Solutions Inc., the organization contracted by the National Science Foundation for maintaining domain registry services for the Internet (also known as the InterNIC), changed the playing field. In July 1995, NSI announced a new policy whereby one company's long-held domain name could be usurped by a company presenting them with a federal trademark registration for the domain name. Given that a name can have only one domain registration (with a high-level domain such as .com, .edu, .org, etc.) yet can be owned by many businesses and trademarked by many organizations doing business in non-competing areas, this policy is quite contentious.

In early-1996, Longmont's Clue Computing was plunged into a legal battle with giant Hasbro, Inc., and trademark holder for the board game "Clue," over ownership of the domain name Clue Computing disagrees with NSI's policy which turns over use of the domain name to Hasbro, and took NSI to court. On June 26, 1996, Clue Computing was granted a preliminary injunction ordering NSI to leave their domain name active until all court actions are settled.

At this month's FRUUG meeting, Eric Robison, President of Clue Computing, Inc., and Phil DuBois, attorney for Clue Computing, will share this interesting story, and bring to light some of the critical issues surrounding ownership of Internet domain names today. Together they'll cover:

  • What are domain names and how the Domain Name Service works,
  • Domain name policies historical and present,
  • Domain name intellectual property issues,
  • Past domain name disputes and how they formed current policy,
  • Current domain name dispute policy, and what's wrong with it,
  • Current domain name disputes and their status.
The outcome of domain name dispute policies, and lawsuits such as Clue Computing Vs. Network Solutions, Inc., are likely to change life as we know it on the Internet. Will the Internet become the great equalizer, allowing equal-access to large and small companies and individuals alike, or will it become an arena for big-business only?

If you'd like to read up on this topic before the meeting, you can read Clue Computing's summary of their case at, opinions on a similar case at, and NSI's current name dispute policy at

Meeting Location

The next meeting of the Front Range UNIX Users Group will be in room 123 of the CU Academic Computing Center building at Arapahoe and Marine Streets in Boulder. Marine St intersects Arapahoe at 38th St; the Computing Center is on the southwest corner.


Our Last Meeting

At our August meeting Rob Pike presented Inferno. See the previous meetings page on the Fruug web site for more detail on past meetings.

Upcoming Meetings

We are planning the following future meetings:
  • There's been a lot of interest in hearing what the choices are for UNIX on cheap platforms (i.e., PCs), so we've put together a panel session with short talks on several of the possibilities available today including Linux, FreeBSD, SCO and Solaris. The meeting will be on Tuesday, October 29.

  • For November we are working on putting together a meeting addressing DNS, Bind and Internet name space issues.

  • In December we are planning on having Joe VanAndel give a talk on "A UNIX Bigot's Reaction to Windows NT".

  • We are looking for someone to do a presentation on the Be-Box.

Contact the FRUUG Executive Committee at fruug at if you have other interesting topic ideas or are interested in presenting a fruug talk.

FRUUG Library Notes

This month's contribution from Addison Wesley wins the FRUUG Executive Committee's award for Most Catchy Title of the Year. Of course, it's none other than: SNMP SNMP2 and RMON, by William Stallings. If you don't know the acronyms, you probably don't need the book.

Addison Wesley has also sent us the most recent book from their new Java series. The Java Tutorial uses a hands-on interactive approach to teaching Java basics and is packaged with a CD-ROM containing the tutorial and all its code samples.

The USENIX Association continues to keep us up-to-date with conference proceedings from:
  • The Sixth USENIX Security Symposium, San Jose, July 22-26, and
  • The Fourth Annual Tcl/Tk Workshop '96, Monterey, July 10-13

You may check books out using your business card as your library card; you must be on the membership list to check books out. Books are due at the meeting following the one in which they are checked out.

Time to renew your FRUUG membership?

It's time once again for our annual mailing list cleanup. In order to keep our mailing list as up-to-date as possible, if you haven't been to a meeting in the last year, we'll be removing your name from the mailing list unless we hear from you. If you think you're one of those people, you might want to check the FRUUG web site see if you're on the list and find out how to stay on for another year!

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Last Updated: 10 September 1996. Problems? Contact webmaster at

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February 15, 2009

February 2008: FRUUG Enters Quiescent Phase
After 27 years running, we're suspending operations.

Future Meetings:
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