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Re: [ga] Creating a top level domain for Scotland

  • To: Danny Younger <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>, ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Re: [ga] Creating a top level domain for Scotland
  • From: Hugh Dierker <hdierker2204@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 22:00:30 -0800 (PST)
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  • In-reply-to: <20051211231629.98117.qmail@web53504.mail.yahoo.com>
  • Sender: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This is a no brainer.
  Let my people be free.
  What nobleness is required to treat others as thee wished to be treated?
  What branch of the garden must we reach to give each man his voice?
  How does my sister love as she speaks as a mute within my system?
  I spit on those who deny love and voice to brethren gifted with a truth in freedom.
  Condemn them and know thy wrongness as those who hurt children.
  More openness and more tlds are needed. with a view toward let it be not let us stifle.
  but a good comp is in the offing.

Danny Younger <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

A number of people and organisations are calling for a
global top level domain (DNS entry or TLD) to be
created for Scotland on the Internet. 

What this would mean is that Scottish e-mail, WWW, FTP
addresses could be assigned a two letter "country"
suffix signifying Scotland. Currently Scottish
addresses end in .uk or one of the general
"international" suffixes such as .net, .com or .org.
Scottish businesses in particular, rather than having
a Scottish address are forced to use either a "UK"
version, or an international one which might already
be in use by a different company elsewhere in the

>From a Welsh point of view, a separate DNS entry also
makes sense for companies as limited companies there
can put Cyf. (Cyfyngedig) after their names, making
their name unique in a Welsh context only. e.g.
www.companyname.cyf. corresponding to the
current www.companyname.ltd.uk

The organisation which allocates Internet numbers to
names is ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Number), http://www.icann.org/

The responsibility was previously handled by
http://www.iana.org/ (The Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority). The two letter country suffixes which they
use are those defined in ISO3166.
This standard is on-line at various locations, one
such location is
Incidentally, ISO3166 predates the Internet and is
used in a wide variety of contexts besides Internet
country domains.

Independence is not a prerequisite for getting a
country domain. "The codes represent the names of
countries, dependencies and other areas of special
interest for purposes of international exchange,
without indicating expression of any opinion
whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country
or territory or of its' authorities, or concerning the
delimitation of its' frontiers." Any area of "special
interest" can get one with the support of the relevant
standards body. For instance, the Isle of Man is
(.im), Jersey is (.je) and Guernsey is (.gg). These
ones slipped through to IANA (the forerunner of ICANN)
by "mistake". IANA states:

"Jersey is part of another ISO 3166 list which defines
reserved codes. All UPU (Universal Postal Union) codes
on this list we allowed into the top level domain
list. We have now been advised to not use this
reserved code list any further. However, all top level
delegations from that list remain current."

It appears that the UK government was not at all
pleased about Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man
being granted full ISO3166 status. The UK government
should have been consulted and their subsequent stance
indicates that they would have opposed such a move, as
they are presently doing with Scotland.

The codes ICANN now uses are exclusively those from
the ISO 3166-1 standard, although codes previously
allocated under previous rules are maintained. In
particular, uk (seen on most UK e-mail addresses) is
not in ISO3166, the appropriate country code in
ISO3166 is GB. There is at least one address using
this: dra.hmg.gb (hmg.gb is a rough equivalent of

Why GB was the country code in the first place rather
than UK is explained here:

Britain's (and hence Scotland's) representative on ISO
is the British Standards Institute or BSI. They can be
reached at mailto: info@xxxxxxxxxx 

The situation in the UK as regards ISO3166 is now
rather a mess. Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man
shouldn't have codes but do, and the UK's is listed as
"GB", but "UK" is what appears in the DNS. Scotland
has its own parliament with devolution but still does
not have its own DNS entry, even though other areas
such as Antartica do. So do many minor islands. Some
of them are barely inhabited (Pitcairn/.pn, population
48). Some are now dependencies of Australia or New
Zealand but still have their own ISO 3166 codes and
DNS entries. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands
are Crown Dependencies rather than parts of the UK or
Great Britain (but they are classed as part of the
British Isles). Despite what HMG might say on the
matter, they *should* have had ISO 3166 codes long ago
- they have different legislation, have different
postal rates, etc. 

The creation of a top level domain for Scotland not
only has the support of many IT professionals, but
also some manufacturers and Internet providers as well
as the SNP. The .co.uk namespace is also
oversubscribed - too many people chasing the same
names. That's why Nominet introduced .plc.uk and
.ltd.uk - theoretically the names registered at
Companies House (and mangled according to Nominet
rules to turn them into domain names) are not very

Even the .plc.uk and .ltd.uk expansion has still
resulted in uk.com becoming quite widely used.

One way of increasing the effective namespace is to
add Scottish, Welsh, English and Northern Irish TLDs.
That *might* be a justification that ICANN would
accept for adding those TLDs without ISO 3166 country
codes. It is also possible to lodge a case with the
domain name arbiter

In contrast to the problems with the DNS, Scotland has
had its own usenet domain for a very considerable
length of time (in Internet terms). The scot.*
hierarchy has been around since at least 1985, more
info on this in [20.4]. Furthermore a top level domain
may be introduced soon for American Indigenous
Peoples. There is also likely to be a ".eu" domain for
the European Union. If there is a case for these
domains, surely there is a case for Scotland?

Possible codes
The possible codes Scotland could be allocated range
from aa to zz although the country codes AA, QM-QZ,
XA-XZ and ZZ are reserved by ISO 3166 as user-assigned
codes and are not available. There is no process for
reassigning codes already in use. Maybe having one
might be a step forward? 

"Scotland" letter combinations (all allocated):
SC = Seychelles
SO = Somalia
ST = Sao Tome and Principe
SL = Sierra Leone
SA = Saudi Arabia
SN = Senegal
SD = Sudan

"Caledonia" letter combinations:
CA = Canada
CL = Chile
CD = Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
CO = Colombia
CN = China
CI = Ivory Coast/Cote d'Ivoire

"Alba" combinations
AA = reserved as user-assigned
AL = Albania

Finally, people who use the unofficial "SCO" country
sticker on their cars may be surprised to learn that
Scotland has been granted an official three letter
country designation under part 2 of ISO3166 - this
indicates names of subdivisions of countries. Under
this standard, Scotland is not SCO but GB-SCT.

This seems the most likely route at the moment -
rather than getting a two letter country suffix, we
get a three letter designation. See here for more info

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