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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers yesterday said it still thinks the Internet Society and Afilias Ltd is the best choice to run the .org top-level internet domain, when VeriSign Inc's contract expires December 31.

The recommendation, which is still subject to board approval, comes after a period of public comment on the processes used to select ISOC from 11 applications. Applicants that were not recommended said the three evaluations were flawed, and Oracle Corp's marketing department last week criticized Afilias's choice of database software.

"Although the comments contained much useful insight and, indeed, pointed out some errors in the original evaluations, none of these errors was sufficiently material to change the ultimate conclusion," ICANN said in its Final Staff Evaluation Report. The staff recommends ISOC, followed by NeuStar Inc and Global Name Registry Ltd.

The recommendation is based on a technical evaluation from Gartner Inc and on a usage policy evaluation carried out by members of ICANN's non-commercial domain name holders' constituency (NCDNHC). Gartner recommended five applications, but ISOC's was the only one to be recommended by the NCDNHC.

Eight of the applicants said they would use an Oracle database to manage the .org domain registry, with one opting for Microsoft Corp software. ISOC and one other bidder said they would use PostgreSQL, open-source database management software. Afilias has successfully deployed PostgreSQL in its .info registry, but Oracle was not happy.

"PostgreSQL is used primarily in the embedded system market because it lacks the transactional features, high availability, security and manageability of any commercial enterprise database," Oracle marketing executive Jenny Gelhausen wrote in a comment to ICANN.

But ICANN said in its report: "It could be argued that a bidder should not be penalized for whatever database system... it chooses (open source or commercial) to use provided it has demonstrated its ability to operate a TLD of significant scale over an extended period of time... The ISOC team meets or exceeds this requirement."

The ICANN board is expected to approve an application before the end of the month. The winning bidder will have to sign a contract with ICANN and take over the running of the domain by the end of the year. It will be a mammoth task, especially for ISOC, which intends to set up a completely separate company, the Public Internet Registry, to take the contract.

© ComputerWire

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