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David Zanetti

Biography for David Zanetti


My first exposure to the scream of a connecting modem wasn't the Internet, but BBSes at the break neck speed of 1200bps. This is where I discovered the communities of (then) geeks living online. BBSes for me peaked when I ran a small BBS of my own, hooked up to FIDOnet, a network much like Usenet. I also managed to get myself involved in the constant flamewars and argument that occurred among some of the people there.

BBSes were good, but the Internet was something much bigger. As a university student, I had the fortune to have cheap (at $5/MB) access to the Internet. Usenet and IRC featured a lot, with the Web just beginning to make an impact. This is also around the same time that the Internet in New Zealand was beginning to blossom beyond the universities and academia in general, and into a more commercial network.

I'm now employed by the Wellington City Council as a Unix Systems Administrator. Council's Unix boxen number about a dozen, and are mostly dataservers for core applications such as Finance, HR, and GIS. It includes Council's webservers, parts of the email transport, and Internet access. However, my role is not limited to just the Unix side, it includes management of the network infrastructure of the Civic Square complex, around twenty remote sites around Wellington, and the routers forming our Internet access.

Much of my operational experience of the real Internet, the level at which the admins see it, comes from working at a small ISP in Christchurch. It wasn't a large ISP, which I see as a benefit - I had to do all of the technical tasks involved. Everything from web design, to billing engines, to liaising with our uplink, fell in as my job. Only the financial aspect was handled by other people. I've also spent around three years working with schools and the Internet, making access to it for them secure and auditable.

I am the moderator for the Usenet newsgroup nz.politics.announce, and although I hold strong opinions about the Internet and how it should be run, I don't claim to be a guru on it.


ISOCNZ has a tendency to go from controversy to controversy, with few periods where the society is seen in a positive light. Some will put this down to various loud objectors with a chip on their shoulder, but I believe the problem is very real.

What ISOCNZ lacks the most is credibility. There are few members, and worse far too few ISPs (the people who really run the Internet). One of my goals in running is to make ISOCNZ an organisation that people want to be members of, that offers value (not freebees) to being a member, and that is openly consultative with the Internet. There have been moments of open consultation, but there is still much decision making made behind closed doors and without involving the membership or the Internet itself.

I also want to see more openness from the Council. Too often the Council represents a closed group with one single opinion (expressed by the Chairperson) and this tends to create the membership and the Internet as a natural adversary. It would indeed be a rare organisation that only had members that all thought the same way, so this image of the Council from the outside is wrong, but that doesn't change the image.

Lastly, I would like to see the transition from the university-run DNS system to a proper commercial system completed, and running in a way that it benefits the Internet and ISOCNZ. I see the current structure (that of a monopoly registrar/registry with ISOCNZ as the sole shareholder) as being only an intermediate step on the road to a completely commercial competitive DNS system. Specifically, a Shared Registry System is the model for the future, where the DNS is a commodity, not a major business function.

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