Feeds

back to article Nominet forgets what the first .uk domain name was

Twenty-five years ago somebody registered the first .uk domain name, and now Nominet, the .uk registry manager, wants to know what that domain was. Speaking at the organisation's annual registrars' meeting at the Science Museum in London on Thursday, Nominet director of marketing Phil Kingsland appealed for information about the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Boffin

To be specific...

Are we talking about the first .uk domain in the DNS, or the first UK. name in the JANET NRS? The latter would come first, I think, but the early history of the NRS is not well documented. For those too young to remember, here's a presentation on the pre-Internet days of wide-area networking in the UK....

http://www.uknof.com/uknof7/Reid-History.pdf

4
0
Paris Hilton

Dumb Question

Why would we have been given a TLD of .gb rather than .uk? Considering the name of our country is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

5
1
Coat

All hail the ISO

The answer to your question lies in ISO 3166 according to RFC1591:

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1591

http://www.iso.org/iso/country_codes/iso_3166_code_lists/english_country_names_and_code_elements.htm

"The IANA is not in the business of deciding what is and what is not a country. The selection of the ISO 3166 list as a basis for country code top-level domain names was made with the knowledge that ISO has a procedure for determining which entities should be and should not be on that list." - Jon Postel (RIP)

Google is your friend... I'll get my coat.

1
0

Because...

There is an international standard for 2- and 3-letter country codes (ISO 3166), and, like it or not, the UK's 2-letter code in ISO 3166 is "GB". ccTLDs are based on ISO 3166. The fact that .gb is an almost entirely unused TLD is largely due to the pre-Internet JANET NRS naming scheme ignoring this standard.

0
0
Boffin

GB

because GB is the standard accepted abbrieviation, you'll see it used all over the world from passports and car number plates, to phone directories.

(note in the passport the unique ID number is prefixed with the country code GB although it does have the full wording of UK of GB & NI on the front)

I too, have always found this unusual though as in some caes it includes Northern Ireland, but in others it does not and as you say the United Kingdom is of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which seems to preclude NI from being part of GB but both are encompassed by UK.

Perhaps we need to campaign for GB to be updated to UK in all other cases to include NI correctly, afterall its the US not just A.

0
4
Anonymous Coward

.gb not .uk

Because the ISO 3166 country code for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is GB?

The ISO code is GB because of some twaddle about the code being "chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code" and "name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity".

The fact that the The UK is commonly referred to as "The UK" doesn't seem to matter to ISO. The United States of America gets to be "US" though.

See http://www.iso.org/iso/country_codes/iso_3166-faqs/iso_3166_faqs_specific.htm

1
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Boffin

Why should we be .gb?

ICANN, when issuing ccTLD delegations use ISO 3166 as the standard for defining the ccTLDs.

ISO 3166's position on this is:

Why is the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) coded GB in ISO 3166-1?

The codes in ISO 3166-1 are - wherever possible - chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code. Since name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity. The name components United and Kingdom are not appropriate for ISO 3166-1. Therefore the code "GB" was created from Great Britain and not "UK" for United Kingdom. Incidently, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.

1
2
Headmaster

As the story says

By following the convention all other cc tlds use.

The ISO two letter code for the country is gb, not uk.

0
0

re: dumb question

perhaps because our countries 2 letter code is GB not UK? (and 3 letter code GBR) which would be why you stick a "GB" sticker on your car, and why international events list us as "GB" (when we're not cheating by entering multiple teams anyway)

I suspect you have no issues at all with the kingdom of norway simply being NO? after all kingdom is the type and norway is the name, like united kingdom is the type and great briton and northern ireland is the name... ok that doesn't quite work but you get the point!

but then i can't really complain about you not knowing our code is GB, at least you knew the countries name, that's probably better than half the population...

1
2
Silver badge
Headmaster

Answer

There is an ISO standard for 2 and 3-letter country codes that is followed by the country-code domains, with one big exception. Look up the ISO-codes for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and you'll find it's GB/GBR, not UK. This will not be news to those old enough to remember X.400 addresses*.

Rumour has it that in the earliest days of the international Internet, it was decided to use .uk because .gb might offend citizens of N Ireland, and since no-one was using UK as an ISO-code, no problem. Then the USSR fell apart and Ukraine needed a country code - they had to settle for UA.

* Strapline: you're not a real man unless your email address is too long to fit on your business card.

0
0

ISO and the Ukraine

The Ukraine also wanted UK, so the people deciding ISO 3166 decided no-one got it. The UK got GB, the Ukraine got UA, and the good folk of Northern Ireland got something else to be miffed about.

3
0
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: ISO and the Ukraine

Can everyone stop responding to 'Dumb Question' now please? Ta!

4
0
Anonymous Coward

re:.gb rather than .uk?

That's the official code under ISO 3166. It's used (with ISO 639) for defining locales - in computing you'll be familiar with "en_GB", and you'll also see it as a sticker on cars. I expect there weren't any Northern Irish around in Brussels or Geneva or wherever, on the day the ISO standard was set.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

geography != politics

> seems to preclude NI from being part of GB but both are encompassed by UK.

Technically GB is a geographical term, referring to "the big island off the coast of Brittany". We can probably blame the Normans and their descendants. They had Bretagne (what English-speakers now call Brittany in what we now call Northern France), and having taken over a goodly chunk of the island next door they referred to it as Grande Bretagne (Big Brittany), which could perhaps have been better translated as "Greater Britain", in the same way we talk about Greater London, rather than Great Britain. Ireland came along into the political fray a bit later, and the whole idea of the UK much later again.

By the time ISO got involved they should certainly have used UK, not GB, but then the French think that "Angleterre" means the whole island anway, and most are barely aware of the existence of Welsh or Scots, let alone the complexities of we Norn Irish.

C'est la vie.

2
1
Boffin

Uh not quite

The island has "always" been Britain for values of "always" back to at least pre-Roman times, hence Latin "Britannia" and modern Welsh "Prydain" from older Celtic variants.

When the Romans withdrew from Britain in the early fifth century and the Anglo-Saxons started to invade, some Romano-British Celts moved from south western Britain to the Armorica peninsula in the north-west of what was then still-Roman Gaul. That area became known as Brittany/Bretagne, as it was now inhabited by Britons/Bretons. Until Cornish died out iin the late 18th century it was at least partially mutually intelligible with Breton.

As you say, the French then started to call the island Grande Bretagne to distinguish it from their Bretagne, but the island had the name first.

1
0
Headmaster

Other way round

The Romans called the big island Britannia. When they withdrew and the Saxons started moving in a lot of the Romano-British moved across to an area of northern Gaul which became known as Little Britannia, or Britanny. 1600 years later and areas with a large immigrant population from a single area are still referred to as Little X.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Correcting the correction

"but then i can't really complain about you not knowing our code is GB, at least you knew the countries name, that's probably better than half the population..."

Hmm - that seems to include you:

"like united kingdom is the type and great briton and northern ireland is the name... "

How about "Great Britain" - not "great briton"?

You've got to love it ...

0
0
Silver badge

Sir

@Peter Snow.

Look up member states of the EU and let me know if you see 'England' on there will you?

2
1

My EHIC card...

says UK...

My driving licence...

says UK...

0
0
Happy

Email too long?

... but the only reason my email doesn't fit on my business card is all these bloody bang-hosts:

grendel!pendragon!public!cruella!relay1|gate!mike@tubby.org

;-)

0
0

Before Nominet....

******y commercialised domain registrars were one of the big mistakes... Look at what they led to cybersquatting, billions of spam domains, difficulty in identifying holders...

In 1994 when I registered [countyname]cc.gov.uk it was just one techie emailing another (the late Duncan Rogerson - a great guy then at Janet HQ) and things were much more civilised... By then it was all well established of course, we weren't early adopters...

2
0

Can't believe I know this...

Almost all other countries are named after their ISO 3166-1 2-character code.

While I agree "uk" is a better code for the, well, UK, the ISO states we are technically GB.

And yet, Northern Ireland doesn't have even have their own 2cc... so that's not even an accurate code...

0
0
WTF?

Not such a note-worthy event really

In November 1996 I bought mw.co.uk, I paid £250 for the year, after phone calls and emails trying to get the DNS setup I was told "We have decided not to allow two letter domain names".

A few years later 02.co.uk appeared and it reminded me I still had not received a refund so I contacted them again, this time there was no phone number and I never received a reply.

And thus the great names extortion began.

8
0

As usual

Some are more equal than others.

0
0

2 letters

o2 was allowed because it was a letter and a number - not two letters. Two letters were reserved for cc's

I sat on the old UK naming committee :)

M

1
0
Anonymous Coward

The IE Domain Registry got the same back hander

About 6 weeks before O2 launched, the IEDR, which was in the midst of a long running dispute with "the community" about a lack of transparency, suddenly announced a rule change.

"Domain names with 2 characters may be permitted provided that not both are letters. Two letter domains are still not permitted. "

0
0
Stop

If we were .gb...

...then what about Northern Ireland?

Adopting .ie is a bit 'republican', and .ni is already in use by Nicaragua.

1
0
Silver badge

uk/gb

Surely if they'd used gb instead of uk then users in N.Ireland would have had a bit of difficulty - whilst many would happily use .ie others might object, and it would get very complicated?

0
0
Paris Hilton

Who cares?

No, really, who cares? What a silly article!

--Paris, cos I work there.

0
2
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Who cares?

Comments on stories that ask this question are my favourite thing about the whole internet.

8
0
Happy

Sorry, but it's your own fault

It's what you get for posting an article like that on a Friday afternoon...

1
0
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Sorry, but it's your own fault

Who cares?

1
2
Bronze badge
Pint

No stinking title!

I did care until I read all those replies above from sad sods who study ISO standards for nit-picky details about correct country codes! Please lads and lasses, get yourselves down the pub this afternoon, eh? Relax a little?

0
0
Badgers

Re: Sorry, but it's your own fault

Really Sarah, who cares who cares? Not me anyway. Not even enough to finish writing this co

3
0
Coat

who cares?

who cares if the moderatrix cares?

fuck it. discussing this has to be a better way of spending friday afternoon until it's beer o'clock.

0
0
Bronze badge

and...

...how did it feel to be on the dishing-out end? :)

0
1
Heart

Tod Donnongton

>Really Sarah, who cares who cares? Not me anyway. Not even enough to finish writing this co

You are instantly and permanently* my new favourite person ever.

*lie

1
0
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Tod Donnongton

Meh.

0
0
Coat

Re:Re......

As I sit here slurp...um...drinking my coffee on this windy sunny Sunday morning, I find myself wondering this:

Who cares who cares?

Now back to my irregularly scheduled programming, coat and all. And, no. my coat pockets never contained any ISO guides to read and get anally pedantic about.

0
0

JANET

I have no evidence, but, because of JANET's early implementation of networking standards, I would assume that .ac.uk domain names would have been somewhere near the beginning.

0
0
Boffin

Why GB and not UK?

Actually GB is the official ISO standard - although in real use UK is widely used instead.

Why GB? ... from ISO site:

The codes in ISO 3166-1 are - wherever possible - chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code. Since name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity. The name components United and Kingdom are not appropriate for ISO 3166-1. Therefore the code "GB" was created from Great Britain and not "UK" for United Kingdom. Incidently, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.

0
3
Anonymous Coward

Redundant nationality stickers on cars

In my household we laugh at people who have stuck the EU oval nationality stickers on their car when it already has a European number plate. I pointed it out to my kids to demonstrate how many idiotic people there are in the world.

As above, the ISO decided on GB for the UK because Ukraine wanted the two letter code too -- so they gave UK to neither and lumbered us with naff sounding GB.

1
0

GB's a lot older than the ISO

GB has been the UK's identifier since long before the ISO was created - it's been the car identifier since at least the late 1940s, while aircraft registrations have begun with G- since the dawn of aviation.

0
0

Title

I see. Nothing to do with it being a requirement in many European countries - and getting fined by traffic cops when you are abroad if you don't have the said redundant oval sticker then?

Ta

0
0
Silver badge

Not just G

We don't only have G, but M and 2[A-Z] allocated for such purposes. Ships and radio amateurs are other users of identifiers in these categories.

0
0

But aviation = callsigns

... but if you're going to bring up aviation then that takes us on to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and callsigns for which the UK was assigned the prefixes '2' (as in "London calling... 2LO calling"), 'G' (as used on all aircraft, telex numbers, ham radio callsigns) and 'M' (less used).

0
0
Grenade

Oval Sticker fine?

Not true, Euro style number plates with the country code on the left have been legal since 2001 in all of the European Community member states and therefore tandem oval stickers are not required. I would ask for your money back if you got fined!

0
0
FAIL

possible irony

would it not be ironic if they where the first name register, nominet.co.uk and could not remember

it would seem logical that they would be one of the first, if not the first??

so like all other businesses like this, accurate record keeping is not their thing

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.