There are a few people who have some passing interest in ICANN so I will inflict upon the list my few paragraph summary of things that matter.
All the past large dragons appear to have been killed or reduced to largish lizards. The Four Over Arching Issues, of which only one was real, protection of trademark holders, are sufficiently solved. On the other hand, biting off fingers as usual, are two new shiny objects for the jays and daws to chase: vertical integration of registries and registrars (VI, like, you know, the visual mode of ex, not the evil EMACS cult) and morality and decency (MoDo).
How big a thrill MoDo is going to be is still TBD. Content regulation via names. Whoopie! VI is going to be put to bed one way or another by Labor Day.
About VI, which has consumed my every waking hour since ... the Nairobi meeting.
Prior to Nairobi the rules reflected the NetSol/VGRS breakup, and allowed registries to own approximately 15% of a registrar, and registrars to own registries. Afilias (.info) and NeuLevel (.biz) were formed under these equity restrictions.
At Nairobi the Board voted that there be no cross ownership in new gTLD registries, and just prior to the Brussels meeting last week, ICANN released the 4th version of the Draft Applicant Guide, which put the cross-ownership limit at 2%.
The VI activity is an attempt to articulate an alternate to the 0%, now 2%, and still fluid rule the Board may adopt prior to starting the next application round. The broad choices (and venomous camps) are:
1. things pretty much stay the same, the 15% rule with some change continues, for .com-like and .coop-like registries, insiders rule,
2. things pretty much change, with 100% cross-ownership allowed, with various proposals for the prevention of abuse by the integrated entity, for .com-like and .coop-like registries, hurray for the revolution, and
3. who cares about 1 and 2? corporations and TLD consultants want lots (like hundreds) of brands in the root, now.
The VI Working Group is about as fun as USENET, though the face-to-face meetings in Brussels were surprisingly civil. Of interest to some here is covert wiggling of a subscriber-type TLD through the semi-mythical loophole for "brand" TLDs. There are walled garden serpents working the issue towards ".my-walled-garden".
The ISPSG (that's the ISP -- Internet.Service.Providers Stakeholders Group) continued to drift into senility and decay with ISPs still staffing ICANN issue advocacy out of their IP (Intellectual Property) in-house counsels rather than their IP (4&6&BGP&tone&stuff) operational sides, so wakeful behavior remains confined to the ASO input to ICANN, and limited to the last v4 /8s known to LGBT and other persons.
Those are the big ticket items. The Board approved adding the Han Script labels requested by .cn (China), .tw (Taiwan) and .hk (Hong Kong), which made a lot of people, me included, feel good. This is the continuation of the approvals (and awkward delegations) of Arabic Script labels and Cyrillic Script labels made earlier.
The security weenies continue to whine that all the new registries should be armored up to prevent abuses that overwhelmingly occur in .com, and surprise steer well clear of treading on Verisign's toes, so in vast areas of policy life in the playpen is quite surreal.
The next meeting is in December, so I finally get a Halloween at home, in Cartagena, Columbia. The usual self-and-corporate-promotion-as-news is going on over CircleID, which everyone is free to read or avoid, and if you read today's CIDR and BGP reports with more than a passing interest, and this "pour les nuls", remember the first is reality based and the second is not.
And no, there still is no firm date for ICANN to start the public announcement and four months later, start accepting applications and $185,000 checks. This sentence appears to age well, I've used it without sending it out for cleaning since the Paris meeting, six meetings in a row.