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Newsletter February 2016: Leap Year, Leap Forward

This month may be short, but we have plenty of updates. First off, we won an award from the registry of .cn domains, also we have a PHP update rolling out for Simple Hosting, which as a bonus included the offering of Composer dependency manager.

Going in depth this month, we're looking at ICANN's EBERO plan, and a brief history of Debian.

And of course we have this month's release calendar and promo round-up available for your perusal.

Also, don't miss our events coverage. Last month we were at SCaLE and this month we'll be at M3AAWG.

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Summary: At a Glance


1. Gandi receives award from Chinese registry
2. Recently-Approved TLDs
3. Parking page ads and UDRP
4. Events at Gandi
5. Events outside of Gandi
6. Update: PHP update on Simple Hosting
7. Update: Composer on Simple Hosting
8. Update: Gandi notifications

AND

In Depth: EBEROs
Tech Fundamentals: Debian

And as always, we'll be wrapping things up with

This month's release calendar and
Promo Round-up.


It may be the shortest month of the year but it’s starting to heat up (well, not necessarily literally) and things are starting to really cook.

Since our last newsletter, a lot has happened: we went to SCaLE in Pasadena, we were awarded the award for most promising registrar by the registry for .cn domains, which we see as a really promising development for future cooperation (not just promising for ourselves), and we’ve made some updates to our Simple Hosting php platform.

We’re happy about what we’ve been able to do this month and we’re looking forward to more next month.

One thing we’d like to highlight, though, is that we have what we consider a great crop of promotions running this month and we encourage you all to take a look at them and see if there’s anything that interests you. There are some good finds in there.

Gandi receives award from Chinese registry

This year, at the annual China Domain Name Industry Conference, Gandi received an award from the registry as "Registrar with the highest potential".

The conference, which took place in Guangzhou, China this year also highlighted that .cn now has more than 16 million registrations, which makes it the most used ccTLD in the world, just ahead of .de.

Receiving this prize acknowledges our commitment in the region to provide the best Chinese-language customer service and to assist individuals and companies to build their online presence for the Chinese market. Last year, Gandi became directly accredited with CNNIC (the registry for .cn) to be able to register .cn and .xn--fiqs8s (.中国) domain name extensions.

Overall we're very excited about this award. It tells us a couple of important things. First off, that the .cn registry is committed to opening up the Chinese domain name market to non-Chinese registrars. This is a market that's long been dominated by Chinese enterprises, so the fact that Gandi received this award confirms our hunch: this space is opening up.

Second, it shows that our ethos and approach can make a serious impact in Asia. Like we said, we only just got accredited last year, and the .cn registry is already recognizing our hard work.

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Recently-Approved TLDs

There were no real "trends" per se in this month's new strings delegated to the root, but as always, we've pulled out a couple of the more interesting ones.

Helsinki has apparently joined the growing list of cities with their own TLD. On January 26, .helsinki was added to the root. It seems like most city TLDs are outside of the US, which, okay, is logical since most cities, period, are outside the US but there are dozens in Europe (.berlin, .london, .amsterdam, .brussels, .madrid, .barcelona, .hamburg, .paris, .stockholm .cologne, .helsinki, .zurich, .moscow, .istanbul, .budapest, .wien) and a handful in Asia, and many scattered around Africa, Oceania, and South America but in North America we really only have .miami, .nyc, .quebec, .vegas, and .boston.

(Which reminds us: .boston, which used to be owned by the Boston Globe as a brand TLD has just been sold to Minds + Machines).

This month, .compare and .select (January 15) were also added as was the IDN .xn--g2xx48c (.购物, "shopping", /gouwu/) (January 16). The Chinese domain name market is hot right now, like we said, and shopping is always popular, so this one seems like a pretty solid win.

Another interesting addition was .tube (on January 11). We're curious to see how this one pans out. Latin American Telecom beat out Google and Donuts for this extension, and it will no doubt be a go-to TLD for various video hosting sites.

You can check the full list here for recently added strings.

Remember: these are new TLDs on the cutting edge of having been added by ICANN. As such, any discussion of one of these TLDs should not be interpreted as meaning any of these extensions will be imminently available on Gandi (though we, of course, try to offer all the extensions we possibly can).

Parking page ads and UDRP

Last fall we highlighted our stance on the monetization of domain parking pages in our High Price of Cheap post. We didn't hold back, calling it "internet pollution." But now we can add to the reasons not to endorse the practice after the domain name myenterprise.com lost a UDRP claim leveled against it by Enterprise the car rental company.

UDRP, for those unfamiliar with it, stands for Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy. Essentially, it's ICANN's answer to the so-called "trademark dilemma." In other words, it provides companies a way to make claims against domain name registrations of supposed trademarks. While generally, we think if your domain name happens to correspond with somebody else's trademark, it's not fair that they would be able to snatch it up from you with this process and usually UDRP claims need a bit more reason than simply mere coincidence in naming.

In the case of myenterprise.com, though, the previous owner of the domain name ultimately lost because, according to ICANN's ruling, the owner was "using the similarity between the disputed domain and the ENTERPRISE mark to confuse and attract internet users for commercial profit."

At issue, specifically, was precisely the pay-per-click ads on the domain's parking page, which utilized keyword algorithms to serve ads that, not surprisingly, were related to the kinds of search engine searches related to Enterprise the car rental company. ICANN found that such monetization which specifically included ads related to the car rental industry were thus in "bad faith."

Ultimately, we don’t oppose parking page monetization. We believe you can do what you want with your domain name. But we also don’t condone the practice and, especially, we don’t do it by default. This UDRP ruling signals that if the idea that polluting the internet with parking page ads doesn’t offend you, there may be other reasons to avoid it as well.

Events at Gandi

OpenLate: TCP/IP flaws

On January 26, we hosted the final OpenLate event of the meetup’s temporary residency at Gandi. Peter Shipley was the guest speaker and he gave a talk about the security flaws inherent to TCP/IP.

This was a version of a talk he first gave some fifteen years ago, yet the flaws still haven’t been corrected for.

While future OpenLate events (for now) will be held again at OpenDNS’s space on Bluxome in San Francisco, we nonetheless invite anyone interested in attending future OpenLate events (the next is February 23 at 6:30 pm).

Check out their meet up page here.

UX Speed Dating

Every third Wednesday each month, we have been hosting another meetup for those who like to try out user interfaces without committing to them: it’s UX Speed Dating and it works like speed dating except instead of evaluating romantic prospects, the focus is on evaluating user experience.

The next meet up we’ll be hosting in our SOMA SF office space will be on Wednesday, February 17 at 6:00 pm. So stop on by!

The Root Zone

Gandi and Cloudflare are starting a new meet up series about DNS we’re calling The Root Zone. The idea is to start a conversation about DNS and to help generate new ideas and new implementations for the DNS system, which is something we all rely on heavily.

The meet ups will rotate between the Gandi US offices and the Cloudflare offices and we’re also inviting other companies involved in DNS to contact us either to present or to host future meet ups.

Check out the meet up page here.

Gandi (re)fait le .Point

On February 18, starting at 8:30 AM (Paris time of course), at Le Tank, Paris 11 (a Parisien coworking space, near the Bastille Metro stop), Gandi will be holding the third annual “Gandi (re)fait le .Point.” This is an event to which we invite our customers interested in learning the ins and outs of registering domains in the new batch of TLDs that have been rolling out over the past few years.

This year in particular we are focusing on effective strategies to protect your brand without breaking your budget. There are still a few slots left so if you’re in Paris (or can be in Paris) on 18 February, sign up! For more information, check out our Eventbrite page.

Events outside of Gandi

SCaLE 14x

This month we attended the SCaLE conference held in Pasadena, California. This was a highly technical conference that has a heavy focus on Linux and Open Source Software sessions.

The hottest topic this year was clearly security. Almost every room we walked by was focused on security and these sessions were consistently overflowing with enthusiastic attendees.

Special thanks to Josh Simmons from O’Reilly for talking with us about OSCON among other things.

And we also met up with friends from EFF, Free Software Foundation, Pyladies, Open Source Foundation, FreeBSD.

M3AAWG36

Next week, Gandi will be attending M3AAWG at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. We also attended last year’s event in San Francisco as well as M3AAWG in Dublin last summer. M3AAWG, if you didn’t now, stands for Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, the premier industry group focused on internet abuse issues. This is a great chance for our abuse team to meet and learn from the agenda-setters in the field of online abuse.

ICANN 55: Marrakech

Next month is ICANN 55 in Marrakech. While no one from our US office will be attending this ICANN session (it's a little bit too far for us), members of our Paris team will be attending. This is really a great event for cracking into the policy decisions that are shaping how the Internet works, especially in the realm of domain names.

Update: PHP update on Simple Hosting

The much anticipated update to PHP on our Simple Hosting platform is now available: PHP version 5.6 is here! Now PHP version 5.6 is the new default option for instance creation (PHP 5.4 can still be selected at creation). For those who already have a Simple Hosting instance using PHP 5.4, we have created a guide for migrating your instance from PHP 5.4 to PHP 5.6 (available here).

As of March 22, 2016, we will release an automatic upgrade feature for PHP 5.4/MySQL, which is by far the most common. Any other instance types using PHP will have to migrated manually.

Also of note: the PHP 5.6 instance runs on a new system image based on Debian 8 (Jessie), in anticipation of new changes yet to come.

Update: Composer on Simple Hosting

Along with the upgrade to PHP 5.6, you can now also use Composer, PHP’s most popular dependency manager, to install your applications dependencies on Simple Hosting.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, dependency management tools allow web developers to easily keep track of third-party code included within a project. Instead of having to manage the files and versions manually, these tools offer a simple way to list an application’s external dependencies and then take care of downloading, installing and including the correct files.

Simple Hosting already supports dependency managers for Node.js, Python and Ruby instances using the “npm”, “pip” and “bundler” tools, respectively and now with the addition of Composer to our PHP instances, we can now cover modern development workflows on all instances types.

If you’re interested in learning more and getting started with Composer on Simple Hosting, check out the example project and documentation here.

Update: Gandi notifications

We are currently in the midst of a complete overhaul of our messaging system. We’ll be upgrading our mailing system to a modern, 2016 mailing system, adding additional protocols and multiple recipients and will span our entire suite of products. As you can expect, it’s no small task, and while we aren’t able to roll out a whole new system quite yet, we want to give some of you a sneak peak at what’s in store: we have now added notification by SMS message to our IaaS (Gandi Server) crediting system so that now, when your Server approaches the point where it will run out of credits, the notification can be delivered via text message.

As new notification options roll out (including this one), you’ll be able to manage those preferences from the “Messages” tab of your Gandi account. If you’d like more information, as always, the most extensive documentation available is found in our wiki.

In Depth: EBEROs

With new strings being added to the root multiple times per month and new gTLDs entering the Sunrise phase just about every week, it makes sense to start wondering: what happens when a TLD dies? While we hope that all new TLDs will live forever and ever, registries are businesses, and the more registries there are, the more likely that at some point, one of them may go out of business. And it may be sudden.

But! There's no need to panic! First of all, rest assured that there are no distressed gTLDs currently out there. So far, only brand TLDs—that is, TLDs that a company has bought to administer themselves—have gone under. And second of all, ICANN has a plan.

ICANN, an organization that deeply cherishes acronyms, has established what they are calling EBEROs: Emergency Back-end Registry Operators. Currently, there are three EBEROs: CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center, the registry of .cn domains), CORE Association (which provides the technical backend for .cat and .museum), and Nominet (the registry for .uk domains, among others). These three were selected from 14 applicants based on, more or less, their capabilities as providers of registry services, and geographic diversity.

The process ICANN has created goes like this: an operator of a TLD fails, ICANN declares an emergency "EBERO event," and activates the EBERO that will take over operating the TLD, the EBERO will follow the "Common Transition Process" (or CTP, again, they love their acronyms), and the domains will be administered by the EBERO long enough to give registrants time to transition out of their domain in the failed TLD.

As of January 26 this year, ICANN is conducting a test of the process. The TLD .doosan, which was originally delegated by ICANN as a brand TLD, was killed off by its owner Korean conglomerate Doosan Group, last fall. ICANN is currently using this as an opportunity to simulate a gTLD operator failure. The EBERO participating in the exercise is Nominet. Once the simulation is complete, ICANN says they'll post an update here.

Tech Fundamentals: Debian

Debian started with a manifesto.

In 1993, the most popular Linux distribution was SLS (Softlanding Linux System), but one idealistic, young programmer named Ian Murdock grew frustrated with the perceived maintenance issues and bugs rampant in SLS and created a new Linux distribution that he believed would better live up to the ideals of Linus Torvald’s original concept and GNU licensing in particular but also free and open-source software in general.

Murdock named it after his then-girlfriend Debra and himself: Deb + Ian = Debian and his manifesto proudly proclaimed a “brand-new kind of Linux distribution.” From its very inception, Debian was committed to the idea that its software should never sell at more than cost, and that it should come with everything it should come with.

This radical orientation attracted the attention and support of the Free Software Foundation, which sponsored the Debian project between 1994 and 1995. After FSF withdrew its support, Murdock shifted to managing the project as a whole and delegated control to Bruce Perens who eventually came to control the project in 1996.

Perens was controversial due to what some perceived as an authoritarian management style and his fervent commitment to Debian. Nonetheless, Perens innovated another step in the democratization of software when he drafted the Debian Social Contract.

This social contract contained five key points:

1. Debian would be free 2. Debian would give back to the free software community 3. Debian won’t hide problems 4. Debian’s priorities would be its users and free software 5. Debian will clearly seperate non-free content from free content

Finally, in 1998, Debian ratified the Debian Constitution. This document laid the groundwork for leadership election and accepting applicants for membership. It established the organizational structure and decision-making process and delegated powers and responsibilities of the Project Leader.

These commitments were not just politics, though, they had real impact on what Debian became. Debian doesn’t pre-bundle third-party codecs and other software that doesn’t have GPL licenses, which makes it a clean version with little bulk.

Debian was the first real Linux distribution to us a packaging system. This meant that each service or application would be contained within a single package.

These traits helped make Debian the basis for popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu.

Debian is still an active project to this day, with its latest release being Jessie. It’s enduring legacy has not only been one of the most popular Linux distributions and operating systems in general for personal computers and network servers but the Debian Manifesto, Debian Social Contract, and Debian Constitution are milestones in the development of the free and open-source software movements.

New gTLD release Calendar for February

Here's a look at this month's release calendar:

Wednesday February 10 :

    .kyoto (GoLive)

Thursday February 11 :

    .bet (Landrush)

Tuesday February 16 :

    .cloud (GoLive)

Monday February 22 :

    .信息 (.xn--vuq861b, “info, knowledge, message”) (Sunrise)

Tuesday February 23 :

    .pet (GoLive)

Wednesday February 24:

    .mom (Sunrise)

Promo Roundup for February

New promotions

  • Nothing says "I love you," like a domain. Get a whole bouquet of .pink and .red ones for $3.26 until February 14.
  • Get your .ski and .bio domains half-price from now until Valentine's Day.
  • Think .global for $20.00 per year and act local this February.
  • For passwords, professional web and Palaos, there's .pw: just $0.99 this month.
  • For all types of clicks and links, from February 1 through June 30, .click and .link are on sale for 65% off.

Ongoing

  • Half-price for a half-year means .in domains are on sale for $7.75 until June 30, 2016.
  • You and .me can spend 2016 together with 40%-off one-year registrations all year, that's just $14.40.
  • From January 1, 2016 until March 31, 2016, .asia is on sale for just $7.50 per year—that's 70% off.
  • Through March 31, .rocks and .social are half-price: $7.77 and $16.25 , respectively.
  • EXTENDED .irish is on sale until November 10 December 31 February 29 for $15.
  • Attention designers! From January 1 until February 15, .design domains are 50% off. That's just $31.18 per year.
  • A virtual explosion of colorful (and more) extensions are 50% off from now until June 30.

We also suggest you keep an eye on our promo page to be sure not to miss any other promotions that might pop up.

That’s all for this month. We’ll see you again on the other side of the leap day. Oh yeah, and don't forget: we're hiring !

And of course don't hesitate to drop us a line below.

You can also reach us at:
Twitter https://twitter.com/gandibar,
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gandibar,
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GandiN...
and on the #gandi channel on Freenode. \o/

All the best,
- The Gandi Team