By Dave Winer on Friday, June 17, 2011 at 10:04 AM.
Predictably, people ask why is it better to use a domain name to point to a section of an outline than use a path.
When I was a math student, we tried not to ask questions that showed we couldn't think for ourselves. I wish more would-be techies, people who would have you think they have deep knowledge of tech, had that attitude.
However, assuming the people just didn't know...
The reason it's better is that it can be changed, without breaking incoming pointers.
It's the Internet-friendly way to link.
Analogously. When I lived in Florida, I was pretty sure I would be moving around a lot. So I got a PO box in a city, and had all my bills and statements sent there, instead of to the specific places I lived. That way I could move and everything would still find its way to me.
The last time we played with the World Outline concept, linkrot was the big issue.
1. Outlines make it super-easy to reorg.
2. You want to encourage people to reorg.
3. However when you reorg and you're using paths to point to the spot you moved, oops, you just broke all incoming links!
Back then I told people to just accept linkrot as a consequence of publishing your text on rails.
But in the back of my mind, I knew that wasn't good enough.
I want to be able to leave a marker somewhere and have it go with the structure it's pointing to, where ever it might go.
And beyond that, looking out into the future, I want to make it possible for you to give a name to something I've published, and have it move as I move it.
DNS gives us that.
And what's amazing is that DNS is so old. It's like the lizard brain of the Internet. So ancient that it even predates TCP/IP!
It's amazing to me how, when you pick up a rock, you find something beautiful like this under there.
BTW, I owe a lot to friends who know their DNS for validating my belief that it could work.