Microsoft Corp. has encouraged the industry to adopt the Sender ID email authentication specification, regardless of concerns from the open source community over licensing.
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) last week said it would neither license nor deploy Sender ID, calling Microsoft’s licensing incompatible with open source, while the Debian Linux development team also dismissed the specification.
Among ASF’s concerns are apparent restrictions that require potential licenses to share information with Microsoft over their development plans while creating down stream patent licenses. ASF’s concerns come despite growing industry support for Sender ID.
Meanwhile Debian said that the current Microsoft Royalty-Free Sender ID Patent License Agreement meant that the technology could not be used under the terms of the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG).
We believe the current license and resulting encumbrances are incompatible with DFSG, unlike other Internet standards that Debian is able to support, said the Debian development team in a statement.
Therefore, we cannot implement or deploy Sender ID under the current license terms. Indeed, we would be forced to remove Sender ID support from software we ship that does support Sender ID upstream according to the terms of our social contract, it continued.
Microsoft told ComputerWire: There’s broad support for Sender ID technology and we encourage others to support and implement this technology so that together we can do more to tackle spam.
Microsoft would not comment on whether it would change the wording of its license to meet ASF’s concerns, while ASF and Debian have called on the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to change its intellectual property guidelines.
We are also concerned that no company should be permitted intellectual property rights (IPR) over core internet infrastructure, Debian’s statement went on. We believe the IETF needs to revamp its IPR policies to ensure that the core internet infrastructure remain unencumbered.
The ASF revealed that it raised its concerns with the IETF Anti-Spam Research Group (ASRG) chairs on March 1st and had assurances that the matters would be addressed, but had seen no evidence.
We began working with Larry Rosen, general counsel of the Open Source Initiative, on June 9th, to coordinate our efforts to resolve the patent licensing issues, the ASF’s statement continued. And since July 20th, Larry Rosen has been negotiating with Michele Herman at Microsoft, but most of the major barriers are still present.