For Good Measure: Nameless Dread
Dan Geer and Paul Vixie
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2
Each generation of global commerce and culture has to decide for itself what the Internet “means” to them. Some of that meaning will depend on how large the Internet is at that time. Delightfully, the unit of measure of that largeness will also change with every era.
There was a time when to be “on the Internet” meant that your host’s name was published in a central registry called HOSTS.TXT—and then the wheels came off. The original text-only terminals were replaced by graphical workstations, later by personal computers, then by virtual servers, followed by smartphones, and, eventually, smart devices. But whereas the timeshared minicomputers that once serviced text-only terminals had names, the workstations and personal computers that came later were given names mostly out of habit: we wanted to know where connections to our time-shared computers and servers were coming from, but we would rarely have any reason to try to connect back to those origins