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MS Releases License For Sender-ID

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the embrace-and-patent dept.

Microsoft 242

NW writes "Microsoft published today a new license and FAQ for Sender-ID anti-spam standard being developed by the IETF's MARID WG (based on SPF). To use the license, a signed agreement with MSFT is required. Compatability with the Open Source Definition, the Free Software Definition, the Debian Free Software Guidelines, and the GPL/LGPL licenses is already in question."

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MS FAQ regarding issue (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061293)

FAQ for Microsoft's
Royalty-Free Sender ID Specification License
Microsoft Corporation
August 2004
Q1: What is the purpose of the patent license?
A1: The adoption of Sender ID is important for the industry and Microsoft wants to facilitate the
adoption of the standard by licensing its necessary patent rights on a royalty free basis and
encouraging others to license their patent rights that cover the Sender ID specification similarly
on a royalty-free basis. That is why Microsoft's license includes all of Microsoft's current and
pending patent rights that are necessary to implement the Sender ID specification not just the
pending patent application claims Microsoft is currently aware of.
Q2: Doesn't having a patent on Sender ID complicate the process of getting it adopted as
an IETF standard?
A2: No. It should not. There are dozens and dozens of patent rights that have been disclosed to
the IETF that may cover IETF standards. See http://www.ietf.org/ipr.html for a complete list. We
are not aware of any of these patents complicating the standards process especially where the
patent owner has provided an assurance that it would make licenses available on a royalty-free
basis with other reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions as Microsoft has done
here.
Q3: Why is Microsoft asking people to take a license?
A3: In order to promote Sender ID, Microsoft is pleased to offer its necessary Sender ID patent
rights on a royalty-free basis but only to those who are also willing to make their Sender ID
patents available on a reciprocal royalty-free basis. The license is also important to Microsoft for
defensive reasons. The reciprocity provisions and the ability to reserve defensive rights for
Microsoft's implementations of standards are very important elements in our decision to
contribute technology to standards.
Q4: When do I need to execute a license with Microsoft?
A4: At this time Microsoft is only aware of pending patent application claims that cover its
submission of the Sender ID specification. Because Microsoft is not aware of any issued patent
claims, Microsoft does not require any one to sign a license with Microsoft to implement the
Sender ID specification or any part of it that is incorporated into IETF working drafts. In
conformance with the IETF IPR policy Microsoft has disclosed the existence of those pending
patent claims and has provided its assurance that if such claims are granted Microsoft will make
licenses available on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Microsoft has also gone beyond
the IETF's requirements by clarifying that its licenses will require no fees or other royalties, and
further, to make a license available to early adopters who wish at their option to clarify their rights
with Microsoft with respect to early implementations. Typically patent holders do not make their
license terms available until after the standard has been adopted and until after their patent
claims have been granted, leaving early implementers to speculate as to the ultimate terms of the
license.
Q5: What do I need to do for binary and/or source code distribution?
A5: Many open source licenses require you to include copyright notices distributed in the code
itself identifying the authors of the code being distributed. Some open source licenses also
require you to include the license under which you received the code with the code that you
distribute so that downstream users of the code are made aware of the terms and conditions
under which they can use the code. Microsoft does not require any notice or other attribution
when you disclose or distribute your implementation in binary form. However, if you disclose or
distribute your implementation in source code form, we think it is important for you to include a
patent attribution (from sec. 2.2 of our royalty-free patent license) in your source code and in
close proximity to the license under which you make your source code available.
Q6: Why do I have to include Microsoft's patent attribution along with the license if I have
already incorporated the attribution in my source code?
A6: Many open source license only address copyrights. It is typical to find copyright attribution in
the source code and not patent attributions. Since these copyright licenses will not address
patents it is important to at least make the recipients of the source code aware that the source
code they are receiving may include patented IP. Including the patent attribution with the license
itself makes it difficult to overlook. Some open source licenses that do address patent rights
include a condition on the recipient that the recipient be responsible for obtaining whatever patent
rights it might need to use the source code. For recipients of software under those licenses it is
perhaps even more important for them to be made aware that the source code they are receiving
could include patented IP. The attribution in section 2.2 only raises awareness that their code
may include Microsoft's IP; it does not in and of itself impose any obligation on anyone to execute
a license with Microsoft.
Q7: Is Microsoft's license compatible with Sendmail, Postfix and Qmail?
A7: While each open source software license may differ, we believe you can distribute your
implementation under many open source software licenses, so long as you include the attribution
stipulated in sec. 2.2 of Microsoft's Royalty-Free Sender ID Patent License Agreement. You
should check with your own legal counsel if you have questions about a particular open source
software license. Microsoft has not been made aware of any specific incompatibilities between
any of the licenses used to distribute Sendmail, Postfix, or Qmail with Microsoft's royalty-free
patent license.
Q8: What if I want to use the Sender ID technology in some other context, still related to
email but perhaps not related to Sender ID? Will Microsoft sue me?
A8: Microsoft is committed to working with companies in a collaborative way to license our
Intellectual Property (see http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/). If Microsoft is granted patent
rights that cover the Sender ID specification (currently pending) it will make those rights available
at no cost for anyone to implement and use the Sender ID specification. Microsoft will need to
see what patent rights are granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office to even know for sure
what rights it has to offer. Since it is impossible to contemplate every possible use of it Sender ID
patent rights we cannot make a commitment up front to specific license terms. We invite anyone
interested in using Microsoft's IP to innovate and compete in the marketplace to come talk to us.
Q9: Why has Microsoft patented Sender ID at all?
A9: Like most enterprises, small and large, who make significant investment in research and
development, Microsoft routinely patents inventions arising from its R&D efforts. The original
CallerID patent application was filed long before Microsoft made a decision to contribute its
CallerID specification to the IETF. Patent applications have a very long processing time and it
still may be several years before we know whether any claims will be granted or the coverage of
any such claims. Irrespective, Microsoft will license any patent claim that is necessary to
implement the Sender ID specification on a royalty free basis under the Microsoft's Royalty Free
Sender ID Patent License Agreement to anyone that would like to accept this license.

Athens Olympics' idiotic linking policy (0, Offtopic)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061416)

In order to place a link embedded in copy interested parties should: a) Use the term ATHENS 2004 [athens2004.com] only, and no other term as the text referent; b) Not associate the link with any image [goat.cx] , esp. the ATHENS 2004 Emblem (see paragraph below); c) Send a request letter to the Internet Department stating: Short description of site; Reason for linking; Unique URL containing the link (if no unique URL than just the main URL); Publishing period; Contact point (e-mail address).

This small blurb was sponsored by your favorite running shoes [nike.com]

Re:MS FAQ regarding issue (4, Insightful)

VValdo (10446) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061435)

A3: In order to promote Sender ID, Microsoft is pleased to offer its necessary Sender ID patent
rights on a royalty-free basis but only to those who are also willing to make their Sender ID
patents available on a reciprocal royalty-free basis.


Gee, sounds almost viral to me.

W

Re:MS FAQ regarding issue (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061675)

Sounds kind of like the GPL, in a sense. Same outcome anyway.

Re:MS FAQ regarding issue (4, Insightful)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061449)

In order to promote Sender ID, Microsoft is pleased to offer its necessary Sender ID patent rights on a royalty-free basis but only to those who are also willing to make their Sender ID patents available on a reciprocal royalty-free basis.

Has anyone looked at the actual license to ensure that the patent reciprosity is limited only to Sender-ID? This thing could be a hell of a submarine patent reciprosity agreement, freeing MS to violate patents of anyone using email if it was worded carefully enough

Re:MS FAQ regarding issue (2, Informative)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061665)

Read it for yourself [microsoft.com]

Take the tin foil hat off. Its a Standard reciprocal license agreement. Notice its the exact rights you get from licensing their patent. So how is this bad? All its saying is that you can use their patent if you grant them access to your patents on caller id.

Re:MS FAQ regarding issue (4, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061801)

Take the tin foil hat off.

Thanks, but I'll stick with the fool me twice, shame on me system. MS has proven time and time again that they play to win, and that their idea of fair play is whatever they can get away with. Wasn't that long ago they decided I needed to buy a second Windows license for every PC in my office because the one I bought with the computer didn't include a right for me to Ghost(tm) images onto it.

Fortunately, there's a lot of really sharp and really paranoid folks who understand the law better than me (IANAL, though I do work in IP protection); you just have to separate them from the really paranoid people who don't understand the law.

Almost . . . (5, Funny)

Slavinski (713970) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061522)


Whew.. I almost thought I saw Microsoft and standard
used in the same sentence. That was a close one.

Re:Almost . . . (1)

Slavinski (713970) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061557)


Bah, my makeshift cynic tags didn't work. :(

GPL problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061555)

However, if you disclose or distribute your implementation in source code form, we think it is important for you to include a patent attribution (from sec. 2.2 of our royalty-free patent license) in your source code and in close proximity to the license under which you make your source code available.

This is specifically going to cause problems for the GPL.

MS are hoarding patents? (4, Insightful)

Halcyon-X (217968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061601)

In order to promote Sender ID, Microsoft is pleased to offer its necessary Sender ID patent rights on a royalty-free basis but only to those who are also willing to make their Sender ID patents available on a reciprocal royalty-free basis.

So everyone shares their patents with MS, but not with each other, MS gets all patent rights, and everyone else has to fend for themselves? Where is the strategic advantage for everyone to jump on board exactly?

Re:MS are hoarding patents? (0, Flamebait)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061715)

>Where is the strategic advantage for everyone to jump on board exactly?

The advantage is that deadbeats who created and contributed nothing at all can use a ready-made anti-spam technique at no cost whatsoever.

Is that so hard to understand?

April Trolls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061297)

First Trolling Post.

Where will this lead? (5, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061300)

How long will it be before you have to have a signed agreement with Microsoft to send an email?

Re:Where will this lead? (2, Insightful)

Westech (710854) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061428)

How long will it be before you have to have a signed agreement with Microsoft to send an email?

Not long. Especially if this standard takes off and anyone not using it has all of the email they send rejected as spam.

Your signed agreement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061448)

You mean you haven't signed your agreement yet? Maybe that's why your email to me bounced.

Re:Where will this lead? (2, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061459)

How long will it be before you have to have a signed agreement with Microsoft to send an email?

It will just be implicit. You will send your e-mail and they will charge $0.05 to your account.

Re:Where will this lead? (4, Funny)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061483)

How long will it be before you have to have a signed agreement with Microsoft to send an email?
It will just be implicit. You will send your e-mail and they will charge $0.05 to your account.

Tracked by MS Passport, of course. Don't worry about getting your Credit Card out, MS already has it.

Man, I just love a good conspiracy theory!

Re:Where will this lead? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061533)

I'm sure a lot of people would be happy to pay 5 cents to send an email if it meant a 100% solution to eliminating spam. The catch is nobody would want their 5 cents to go to MS. It would also kill mailing lists. I participate on several lists with 1000+ memeber; that would make it $50+ to post a message. Same thing with newsletters.

Bullshit! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061303)

That's bullshit.

I'm smart and posted first!!

OpenPGP Anyone? (2, Insightful)

ChronoWiz (709439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061304)

Why not use something like gnupg to sign email in order to prove the identity of the sender?

Where Sender ID fits into the picture (5, Insightful)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061490)

Just to get everyone up to speed:

- SPF (http://spf.pobox.com) is the current email authentication protocol that is dominating the world.

- Microsoft proposed Caller ID which was never accepted by the community.

- Microsoft and SPF advocate Meng Weng Wong brokered a deal and formed Sender ID. Basically, SPF is intact, but some features of Caller ID are preserved as an optional extension.

The part of Caller ID that remains is the PRA or "Purported Responsible Authority". The PRA is deteremined by a complicated algorithm that I personally don't believe would work. The algorithm is intentionally vague in some areas, and the results are ultimately subjective. The intention of the PRA algorithm is to determine who wrote the email based on the email headers. As everyone knows, the email headers are spoofable. But the idea goes, if you can track down the PRA, then you can authenticate this email based on that, rather than just the last hop like SPF does.

The problem from day one has been the patent issue. Microsoft is in the process of patenting the PRA algorithm. This isn't a problem. The problem is that Microsoft refuses to put the patent in the public domain or license the patent such that anyone can use it except those who use patents against Microsoft. Both of those strategies are perfectly reasonable, and are pretty much what IBM does for most of its patents.

Microsoft originally wanted to get a copy of the software and a signature before they would grant a license. Well, that doesn't work for F/OSS. The MARID working group who is investigating various solutions to the email authentication protocol for the IETF has been petitioning Microsoft to revise or clarify their licensing procedure. Well, they finally have, and in so doing they have not made it F/OSS compatible.

Microsoft thinks they can bully us around, but they don't realize they are the small kid on the email block. Their Caller ID failed. Now Sender ID is going to fail because Microsoft refuses to participate.

But that's okay. The PRA algorithm isn't anything we'll need to solve the email authentication problem.

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (1)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061501)

It wouldn't work because you would only need to sign the first email, and then the next 10000 can be an exact copy of the first one.

What would work is if you required all incoming email to be encrypted (and possibly signed) except for things on a white-list, but I suspect you wouldn't get much email then.

Of course one could argue that that would solve the problem with spam, but I think I prefer the disease to the cure in that case.

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (2, Insightful)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061502)

Why not use something like gnupg to sign email in order to prove the identity of the sender?

Because that requires changes to end-user behaviour.

In any case, a signature doesn't prove identity unless you or somebody in your web of trust has checked the fingerprint. This means that it's only a little more useful than a manual whitelist when it comes to avoiding spam.

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061571)

t's only a little more useful than a manual whitelist when it comes to avoiding spam.

Last I checked, a whitelist-only approach was 100% effective at avoiding spam.

Max

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (1)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061629)

I didn't say "effective" though, did I? I said useful. I'd guess that most people want to recieve email from people they haven't whitelisted, making whitelists far, far less than perfect.

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061637)

100% effective and only 99% inconvenient, what a deal. Whitelist only is only workable if you never, ever want to be able to receive email from someone you aren't expecting to, and they never change their email address without letting you know in advance, and you don't mind manually updating your whitelist entries everytime you want to receive mail from someone else or someone on your list changes their address, etc. Its just not something that is workable for a lot of people, but if it works for you, then more power to you.

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061751)

Actually it's quite workable. You use a whitelist for your real email address, and then a throwaway webmail account (yahoo, gmail) for everything else. It's how I work it and it isn't inconvenient in the slightest.

I only get the mail that I want at my real email address, and every once in awhile I check my throwaway account to see if anything interesting has shown up from someone not on the whitelist.

It's not rocket science, boys.

Max

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (1)

rikkus-x (526844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061803)

Confirmed. I haven't had any spam since I started using qconfirm [smarden.org] .

Rik

Re:OpenPGP Anyone? (1)

slamb (119285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061790)

Why not use something like gnupg to sign email in order to prove the identity of the sender?

Because there is no standardized way to say "if there's no signature, the message did not come from me".

Most people do not sign their messages with gnupg; it's ordinary to accept unsigned messages. Thus, there's no way for me to prevent people from forging mail from me. Which is most annoying - I regularly have to wade through all the messages sent in reply to viruses/worms I supposedly emailed out.

bummer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061305)

bummer

FP

to nitpick... (0, Offtopic)

bomb_number_20 (168641) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061306)

it's 'compatibility'.

Just thought I'd do my part to halt the spread of bad spelling.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Rediculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061355)

it's 'compatibility'.

What a rediculous error

Just thought I'd do my part to halt the spread of bad spelling.

It's a priviledge to meet one such as you.

Are they purposely shooting their foot? (5, Insightful)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061315)

Seriously, does Microsoft think that highly of themselves that they can dictate a standard that requires a license from them? Sure they have a majority of the OS and E-mail clients, but I doubt they have a majority of the Mail Servers out there.

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (4, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061451)

Well...

Outlook is the most popular email client out there, bar none (think how many worms targetted it). Most people who use Outlook use Exchange, at least on a frontend level (my company uses Exchange popping off a more secure backend).

Even if Exchange wasn't being used in the majority of servers, the mere fact that so many people use Outlook as a frontend will dictate whether or not this will be accepted (and, knowing MS, they'll find a way to tie this into Outlook). Think IE, and how many sites are custom crafted to it.

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (3, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061470)

No, actually, it won't.

If your front end servers are not exchange, I can't see a reason why you'd want this, as licensed. The objective of spam is to be delivered. That's it. Once it hits your server, the objective has been completed, whether or not it's filtered by a second stage server is irrelevant.

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061626)

The objective of spam is to be delivered. That's it. Once it hits your server, the objective has been completed, whether or not it's filtered by a second stage server is irrelevant.

Thats the worst theory I've ever heard. Did you dump you newspapers in the trash and call them delivered? Spam isn't delivered until it gets in front of you. If it manages to get into my inbox where I can delete it after reading the subject, thats victory, +5 points; if I am tricked into opening it, +50 points. If it gets delivered to my spam folder without any imput from me and its one of 2 thousand messages I delete twice weekly without even noticing it, the most the spammer would get is some incremental thousandth of a cent because some fool paid him to deliver a million messages to /dev/null.

Speaking of which, I can deliver to a million+ distinct email addresses for you, and I'll guarantee at least 50% will trigger whatever tracking link you choose to embed in that email. All for the low low price of $5,000. Just send me a mail at FatTony@Gmail.com

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061576)

What I fear that they will do is at some point make Outlook and/or Exchange either outright refuse to interoperate with mail servers that don't use their proprietary and patented technology, or at very least make their default configuration work that way knowing that most people are too lazy and/or unknowledgable to override that. That will effectively force everyone who develops or uses alternative email software to comply or else not be able to send/receive mail with the large number of Outlook/Exchange users out there. As you note, it doesn't have to be a majority, just a big enough minority for it to be inconvenient for people to ignore.

Once they've tied up the whole market with their IP, then they can yank the rug out from under competing email software by either refusing to license their patent or charging outrageous royalties. They might only do it for open source (or perhaps even only for GPLed packages), but it would still have an immensely chilling effect on the internet.

Their license does nothing to prevent them from changing it in the future, so their claims that they will license their patent out reasonably and without royalty are totally dependant on their honesty and integrity. Given their history, I am highly skeptical.

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (4, Funny)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061523)

Seriously, does Microsoft think that highly of themselves that they can dictate a standard that requires a license from them

You mean like Windows?

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061825)

Like Windows being the most common platform for mail transport agents, the platform upon which the vast majority of mail transport agents run, the platform which exerts so much total control over mail delivery that it can dictate terms to that puny leftover remnant of the nonconforming world.

NOT!

Re:Are they purposely shooting their foot? (4, Interesting)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061540)

Yes, they probably think they have some control in the email arena. Unfortunately, they don't. All you have to do is look at the competing SPF-classic (spf.pobox.com) and you'll see that even Sender ID - a compromise between SPF and Caller ID - is failing.

People are wondering if Microsoft has any measurable quantity of email servers facing the real internet. Best practice is to put sendmail (or postfix or qmail or whatnot) between your exchange servers and the internet. Even now, people are proposing standards and practices that totally ignore how the exchange server functions, and the community for the most part doesn't seem to mind.

I think this is the "age of irrelevance" for Microsoft. The "real" internet doesn't even come into contact with Microsoft anymore. Companies don't have internet-facing Microsoft servers anywhere that I can tell. Those who do obviously aren't going to have much uptime. (Would you run a Microsoft server without a firewall between it and the internet?)

Outlook has enough users to set new standards (1)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061595)

For the majority of Windows users, Outlook is the default email client they end up using. All Microsoft has to do is annoy/frighten/nag Outlook users everytime they recieve a non-Sender-ID email. "WARNING: This email message came come an unverified location. Would you like to file this email in safe folder and view it later?" or words to that affect is all it takes. Eventually users complain to their networks ops about these vague warning errors and lost emails then the annoyed network ops eventually patch their email servers to comply with Microsoft Sender-ID just to appease Outlook users. The standard is adopted.

Re:Outlook has enough users to set new standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061681)

Perhaps. But these days, as far as I can tell, the majority of windows users are using webmail, so it might not be as important as you think.

Re:Outlook has enough users to set new standards (2, Insightful)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061838)

Most corp. users don't configure their e-mail personally, it is done by a sysadmin or pre-configured when they arrive to work. A vast majority of home users use webmail's such as gmail, etc.

If word got around that MS was going to change the behaviour of Outlook to this, I doubt a great many corps will change over to this new Outlook. Many companies are still out there using NT4/Office97. Even if they did upgrade, it wouldn't be without first disabling this via a policy. Sure home users will get spooked, but nothing is changed at Microsoft without first considering how major corps will react.

Current Climate... (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061320)

In the current climate you could never produce a HTTP/SMTP type protocol because everyone is out to make money and gain power. What Microsoft has done is take a relatively open protocol and slapped a 'Microsoft Property' sticker on it, this will effectively limit its usefulness even if they are not charging a penny.

What is stopping them from letting it catch on and then asking for $1 from each project?

Re:Current Climate... (1)

abramsh (102178) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061446)

"What is stopping them from letting it catch on and then asking for $1 from each project? "

The license agreement they make you sign.

Re:Current Climate... (1)

yamla (136560) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061508)

Read the article. Section 2.4 "possibly fails Tentacles of Evil test".

Re:Current Climate... (4, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061662)

Their word, it's not worth much, but it's there.

In the future, I'd recommend the IETF just make sure any standards it endorses includes a poison pill for would-be patenters contributing to standards, that if it changes the rights of patentees in the future, after it's become a standard, to restrict them in any discriminatory way, that it must pay the cost of developing the next, non-compatible(yet non-infringing on the patent) standard.

Let's face it, IBM wouldn't write compatible technology, because they'd have to cross-license their patents to Microsoft in order to get it, but neither can IBM afford to have a product that's incompatible with an IETF standard.

I'm all for rewarding the developer of a technology for doing useful work, I'm all against technologies being discovered useful only once the dollar signs come in. I'm pretty sure the IETF's stance on patents is due to the fact that it has to standardize what are often de-facto standards, picked by market effects to be the best technology. Now Microsoft is abusing the process, in order to use the IETF as a marketing weapon against its competitors.

Now my opinion is that patents and standards are exact opposites, and if you want a patent, you should just stay away from standard bodies until your patent runs out, and they should stay away from you. The patent owner and the standards body just have opposite goals:

The standards body wants to reduce the work and costs involved in increasing the number and likely hood of people using best practices and technologies, by agreeing on them and publicising them. In the knowledge fields, a standard has the force of law, simply because knowledge of a best practice being a best practice, means any other way of doing things has to be justified. The best practice is simply, better. The patent owner wants to make a maximal profit out of whatever use of his technology. That means those who compete with the patent owner cannot use the technology without the patent owner not having what he wants. The difference is fundamental, and a conciliatory position by Microsoft, as generous as it may be, is suspicious, simply because it's against their own interest

Well with the possible exception of removing "random" spam would allow them to become the only source of email advertising for their hotmail users, but in this case, their interest it would be magnified if they can deny it to _someone_, say aol, who would be denied from licensing the patent without some counterpart being presented to Microsoft. Can they exclude AOL reasonably without being discriminatory, I wonder, since IANAL, but I can certainly see their advantage in doing so.

Why the hatred? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061327)

First MS decides to take on Linux and now they want to stomp out spam. Why do they have such a problem with meat-like products in a can?

Signed agreement (4, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061332)

Lock of hair
Three drops of blood
Other fluids (defined in separate document)
Provide access for nanoprobes (Resistance is futile, after all.)

I'm in!

Yeah, funny and all (3, Informative)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061473)

But did anyone actually read the article? You don't need to sign the agreement to implement sender ID. They are just pre-emptively giving out the agreement that would be necessary if their pending patent is granted.

Re:Yeah, funny and all (3, Insightful)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061607)

And you think that the patent won't be granted?! You hold the USPTO in much too high regard.

Prior art may exist (I know absolutely nothing of that), but who wants to go to court with Microsoft?! Especially when they have admitted (q.v. Halloween memos) that patents are potentially useful to combat open source software.

Re:Yeah, funny and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061669)

Yea, and what do you think the chances are that any patent applied for will not be granted given the pay the USPTO works? And specifically, what chance a patent applied for by someone with big $$$ and influence like Microsoft has of not being granted? Virtually zero in both cases. I've read that very few patents applied for are rejected. Anyone know whether any of Microsoft's patent applications has ever been denied?

Signed agreement my ass! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061531)

This is to inform you of the really quite shocking actions being
perpetuated by the UK cinema chain Odeon against a disabled Scottish
boy Matthew Somerville.

9 year old Matthew suffers from the rare, medically unknown condition
of "Shatner's Palsy" which corrodes un-oxygenated body tissue. Doctors
work hard on a cure, but admit to the possibility of a fatal remission
within 70 years. Despite this, Matthew continues to brighten the lives
of everyone he meets.

Incredibly, despite having weak arms, he is still able to operate a
computer using a deviously constructed input device, consisting of a
covered spherical ball and a pair of single-pole-single-throw latches.
Resting his scrawny hand on the tool, any small movements are converted
to gigabyte digital input signals.

The disabled boy constructed a special film portal for the disabled.
It was very popular, receiving over 20 "hits" a month. Webmaster
experts based at Durham University examined his JavaScript code using
remote debugging techniques and proclaimed it "fully polymorphic,
slightly recursive and 100% XML ready".

Despite this, Odeon cinemas have ordered him to "cease and desist"
using the recently enacted European Millennium Copyright Act (EMCA) to
copyright the notion of "film discussion" by a person and/or persons
"without full limb mobility". They have demanded his website is put in
the Windows XP recycle bin, and insisted "it should then be emptied".

This cannot be allowed to happen. The disabled should have almost as
many rights as normal people, at least with regard to discussing films.
Luckily for us, people power works, and that's where you come in.

How can you help disabled boy Matthew Somerville?
a) Email Odeon customer support (info@odeonuk.com) and tell them you are
boycotting their chain (Rocky 6 excepted) while they continue
their legal actions against disabled boys.
b) Email Odeon UK chairman Luke Vetere (lvetere@odeonuk.com) and insist
that the website be retrieved from the recycle bin, wiped clean, and
uploaded back onto the UK internet web system using FTP packet protocols.
c) Email and post this message to everybody you know (several times), and
on every "blog" site you can find.

In addition, why not join Matthew in his separate quest to enter the
"Guinness Book of Records" with the record of "largest collection of
used cinema ticket stubs". Matthew is aiming for over a thousand.
Send them, perhaps with a letter of encouragement to

Matthew Somerville
Guinness Record Attempt
109 Eastern Drive
Edinburgh
EH7 1DA

Remember, only by working together can we can beat an evil law, and
brighten the failing heart of a young disabled angel.

Re:Signed agreement my ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061683)

Good grief, the trolls around here really have too much time on their hands.

First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061333)

First I Did Coke With Quincy Carter post!

cheeky sods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061337)


you have to laugh at their cheek, well its license free or you can forget it microsoft, its not open to debate , email is not for sale at ANY price
because its patented and i have to enter a non-negotiable deal i shall continue with regular smtp until the FOSS community can suggest something else

Invalid Origin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061341)

How about a registry?
You are not allowed to send email because the sender IP address or domain is not registered for this address.

Re:Invalid Origin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061624)

What do you think SPF does, dipshit?

Why not create another solution? (4, Interesting)

Flower (31351) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061369)

Note: I have not gone into all the gory details of this issue but I did RTFA. So here goes:

OpenBSD did it when they made CARP. Cisco wouldn't play so not only did the OBSD team create a new solution but they created a superior solution. Is there any reason why the FOSS community could not come up with an alternative and try submitting it to the IETF? (I do know that the OBSD developers got stuffed when they tried this but maybe it might work here.)

Re:Why not create another solution? (3, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061454)

Microsoft has a whole lot more leverage to push their own solution. If Microsoft decides that their way is the way to go, they can implement it in all of their product offerings, thus forcing others to follow suit or risk being cut off from the vast majority of the Internet using public.

The Open Source community can, and has, come up with competing standards, but bringing enough pressure down on Microsoft to force them to comply is a whole lot harder, since they hold all the cards.

The only hope, then, for an open source competing standard to succeed, is to make the open source solution so obviously superior that even Microsoft users can see its superiority, and bring pressure to bear themselves to force Microsoft to support that standard.

Re:Why not create another solution? (4, Funny)

Arcturax (454188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061649)

If Microsoft decides that their way is the way to go, they can implement it in all of their product offerings, thus forcing others to follow suit or risk being cut off from the vast majority of the Internet using public.

Where do I sign?

Re:Why not create another solution? (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061652)

or risk being cut off from the vast majority of the Internet using public.


Cripes! Where do I sign on for this? (or not, for that matter)

Re:Why not create another solution? (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061478)

... and MS holds 95% of the desktop market along with an ever-increasing server market (a lot of places are dumping Groupwise for Exchange).

The reason why FOSS solutions dominated in the architecture of email was because no big company created a serious alternative. MS has created a new standards to compete with other standards for id'ing mail. FOSS isn't even out of the gate with a 1.0 solution yet. Guess who's going to win?

Re:Why not create another solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061942)

"FOSS" as you call us (not that we're really a coherent whole, unlike the nazi army of microsoft), actually DID come up with a solution - SPF. Then microsoft tried to worm its way in, embracing SPF and then extending it (sound familiar?) with their "Caller ID" to make "Sender ID".

Fact of the matter is, Microsoft just can't be trusted. They're perfect psychopaths. And people keep saying lets give them one more chance. Then (and rather unsurprisingly at this stage), microsoft metaphorically strips their victims skin and makes a fetching little black leather number. Or something like that.

Re:Why not create another solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061741)

Is there any reason why the FOSS community could not come up with an alternative and try submitting it to the IETF?

No need to come up with an alternative; the FOSS community came up with the first thing. Only they called it SPF (Sender Policy Framework), not Caller ID for E-Mail. I'm not sure what the patents in question are; it wasn't clear to me from the FAQ.

MS Hypocrisy (3, Interesting)

Mike deVice (769602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061375)

So... Microsoft claims to be fighting the good fight on spam. But they then require a license to use Sender ID. It's my hope that people will have the sense to use regular SPF, and let Sender-ID die.

This is great news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061406)

Everytime someone submits the licensing paperwork to Microsoft, someone at Microsoft must spend time (and therefore money) to process it.

Let the slashdotting begin!

prefer DomainKeys (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061437)

I like Yahoo's DomainKeys solution more; it's open and Sendmail already supports it.

see http://antispam.yahoo.com/domainkeys

Sadly, what I like usually loses the battle. I am sure that all the MS-sexchange-servers out there will start using/insisting on SenderID... :(

Re:prefer DomainKeys (3, Insightful)

WD_40 (156877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061567)

You raise a good point. MS will use it's Exchange server base as a launch pad to make everyone else play their game. Open source servers can easily be modified to support MS's BS, but I'm sure Exchange won't play nice with other open standards. *Sigh.* Here we go again.

Re:prefer DomainKeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061769)

Microsoft keeps bullying the rest of the world because they control the client side. FOSS controls the server side, we can
effectively bully microsoft this time, just imagine if all open source servers refused to deliver email to exchange servers

Re:prefer DomainKeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061775)

And that will be another reason for people to move away from exchange if it doesn't support the prevailing anti-spam standard...

The people affected (getting more spam) will be the ones not using the standard...

Jeez (-1, Flamebait)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061445)

I know this is yet-another-example-of-MS-is-teh-evil and all that, but this

Compatability with the Open Source Definition, the Free Software Definition, the Debian Free Software Guidelines, and the GPL/LGPL licenses is already in question.

Is just ridiculous. How many things must something be "compatible" (whatever that means in each context) with before it can be considered "good" considering most of you can't make up your minds about them to begin with?

If you guys spent less time arguing who has the better license or "teh freest stuff" or fighting in GNOME vs. KDE and is it GNU/Linux or GNU/Not flamewars and more time building software that is easy to use and doesn't require an IQ of 160 to configure (end user testing would also be good) you'd be giving Microsoft a run for their money by now.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061497)

You really sprung off the handle there. Where in that text did the editors say that the license isn't good?

Guh, what do you want them to say to please you? "Microsoft RULEZ!!!"???

Please, take a moment and think before you post. Are you contributing anything worthwhile to this dicussion?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061548)

he didn't say anything about the licenses being good or bad, just how dumb it is that we have to have nine sticks to measure everything.

Re:Jeez (-1, Troll)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061663)

And if we didn't have to wade through the crap that trolls like you post on a regular basis, the overall IQ of Slashdot would jump high enough to qualify everyone here for Mensa.

Max

Re:Jeez (-1, Troll)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061916)

Awww, look - maxpubic. After all this time, he's back and more retarded than ever.

Re:Jeez (2, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061682)

Is just ridiculous. How many things must something be "compatible" (whatever that means in each context) with before it can be considered "good" considering most of you can't make up your minds about them to begin with?

It's considered good when anyone can play the game under the exact same rules, regardless of how much money, prestige and lawyers they have. That's what an "Open Standard" is defined as - an agreement on a set of rules that is there for all to see and use. Microsoft still doesn't get the "Open" part, it seems.

...blatent troll snipped...

Sigh.

Soko

Re:Jeez (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061890)

That's nice. However, what you and your friends think about Microsoft is one thing - what the world at large thinks about you when you claim that some standard or license or patent isn't compatible with your five slightly different interpretations of the words "open" and "free" is another.

Re:Jeez (2, Insightful)

DunbarTheInept (764) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061745)

If the license they use is not compatable with use in an open source tool, and their system ends up taking off, then the end result is that all people using open source e-mail clients will be misidentified as "spammers" and thus unable to send e-mail to people who do participate in this system.

Are you unable to see what's bad about that - cutting all open source out of the use of e-mail - so that this once open standard gets nicely hijacked and "owned" by MS?

Re:Jeez (1)

Vicegrip (82853) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061824)

I know this is yet-another-example-of-MS-is-teh-evil ... blah blah .... Is just ridiculous. How many things must something be "compatible" ...

When you are talking about email protocols, you are darned tooting right that nobody wants to have to 'ask nicely to Microsoft' for the permission to implement the standard.

Simplified for our trolling friend here: if you want people to play by certain rules you don't first tell them they need to ask you first if it's ok for them to obey those rules.

The First Shot in the Standards Wars (5, Interesting)

maximino (767005) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061488)

This is it! Of course we've seen things like this before, but Microsoft is preparing to ensure its eternal monopoly by making sure no one can leave its systems. It would be just fine by Redmond if no one could send e-mail without proper authorization. But now that we've got patented standards, expect to see locked-in Office files, network protocols, the works. Most people and companies really couldn't switch from Windows if they could no longer open their files or network with a Windows machine. The fact that Microsoft is willing to pull this now when some high-level spam solution is required is just reprehensible. In light of their withdrawal from the UN standards committee today I think we're seeing how the next 5 years is going to go.

Easily understandable example for EU-Parl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061511)

We can just point to this and say "look, if you pass software patents, Microsoft owns usable email in Europe, not just the American Reich. Do you want that to happen?".

Many of the corrupt fuckers will say "yes", of course, but that just makes it easier to shoot the bastards in the nigh-on inevitable bloody revolution...

IETF Global Perspective (5, Insightful)

toxic666 (529648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061519)

As long as the IETF maintains a global perspective, it can not accept standards encumbered by IP more restrictive than the GPL. It seems obvious -- we've all benefited by open standards on the Internet. But who knows, stranger things have happened.

This could be a good test case. MS may continue to pursue its IP Holy Grail business model, but if the IETF can stand firm and refuse restrictive licensing, they will not be able to force it down the world's throat. On the other hand, if the IETF does accept these kinds of IP restrictions, MS may have a path forward in pursuing its new business model of patents and copyrights for obvious and trivial ideas.

Just an attempt (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061520)

to 0wn email.

Senmail's Position (5, Interesting)

Mike deVice (769602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061547)

There are two quotes from this [imc.org] message by Eric Allman of Sendmail, Inc. that are pretty interesting...

On the open source side, the sendmail MTA is routinely bundled into other larger systems, notably open source operating system releases such as Linux and BSD distributions as well as commercial closed-source systems such as Solaris and AIX. Bundlers would need to execute their own copy of the RFSIPL. Those systems are in turn sometimes incorporated into other products, which would seemingly require another layer of patent licenses, and so on down the tree. As a practical matter, this makes the decision to include sendmail with Sender ID into their release more problematic. This is obviously not desirable from our point of view.

And...

While these are pragmatic rather than legal reasons, our likely decision at Sendmail will be to distribute our Sender ID implementation as a separate package that is not required to run the sendmail MTA under a distinct (possibly modified) Sendmail Open Source license. Open source users will have the option of downloading and installing the Sender ID package should they want the additional functionality. Bundlers will be able to choose whether they want to include the Sender ID technology or not, but will still be able to use the base sendmail MTA without additional IPR issues.

I'll be really interested to find out what the take of some Linux Distros will be on this.

Re:Senmail's Position (3, Informative)

reynaert (264437) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061748)

I'll be really interested to find out what the take of some Linux Distros will be on this.

Debian at least will never include anything that requires them to sign a patent license.

EMBRASE AND EXTEND (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061563)

I mean hello??? Microsoft *can* withdraw their patent at any point in the future - or start to charge for it. Even if one open source author implements it MS win. This is merely an attempt to embrase and extend open source. The sad thing is before Microsoft end up being replaced largely by Open Source (and they will even if it takes 100 years) they are going to start fighting more and more ugly.

Also, surely patents, particularly software patents, are an infringement of freedom of speech?

Compatability? COMPATABILITY?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061574)

Pathetic...

Stalemate (5, Insightful)

Performer Guy (69820) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061668)

So now nobody will implement this, and Microsoft, through patenting something obvious and trying to license it has scared everyone away from some pretty good ideas that would have been implemented otherwise, with or without Microsoft's help.

This is just the latest chapter in IP stupidity.

This stuff has been discussed for years, if this had been treated like most other W3C standards we'd be in the clear by now waiting for implementations, instead everyone's scared. Does anyone realistically think that there aren't patents that W3C standards already infringe? Finally we actually get rights to something and we're inspecting the teeth, simply because the subject has been raised.

The crazy part of this whole deal is that most software is riddled with potential patent violations, including Microsoft's and including projects like Mozilla, Gimp and Open Office. That's why MS are trying to retain *defensive* rights, because they know it would be dangerous to give this IP away, anyone could stand on their shoulders, and a widget and then sue them (and that has happened already) and Microsoft would have no way of countering. If they adopted a more GPL oriented license with the rights being rescinded in the event of any patent suit against M$ it would be golden. They could just do to the protagonists what IBM has just done to SCO, infact that wording is almost already in the GPL.

I think this situation can be salvaged with another revision of the license. We should not give up on this or go for the second best option on such an improtant proposal.

We're getting to witness what the beginning of the web would have been like had Tim Bernards Lee patented some of his ideas. It ain't going to be pretty.

Re:Stalemate (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061695)

So now nobody will implement this

sendmail is.

How does this incorrect tripe get modded up?

Re:Stalemate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061872)

It wasn't modded up you dimbulb but by the same token there was much more to the post that the one non definitive statement you extracted, why don't yu try reading the darned post. Anonymous passive agressive trolls, great!

absent, not in question (1)

midgley (629008) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061676)

" Compatability with the Open Source Definition, the Free Software Definition, the Debian Free Software Guidelines, and the GPL/LGPL licenses is already in question."

Congradulations! (2, Funny)

Tandoori Haggis (662404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061677)

on the birth of your child. We know that bringing an infant up in the 21st century is a daunting business. Thats why we have designed especially for you a completely free licensing policy agreement that will safeguard young (enter name) from the burden of facing a bleak future without a licensed, activated copy of our latest (enter name) operating system or proprietary value added software.

As a further benefit, our intellectual protection package will ensure that your young tit sucker's ideas will never fall into the hands of enscrupulous (note the en..) parties and will be safe in our creativity vault.

Just sign the punch out card below with (name)'s new citizen number and we will do the rest. Just think how (name) will thank you. (snicker snicker..)

(small print: nyk nyk nyk! All your intellect is belong to us! Wahhhah hah!)

michael screwed up the story... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10061680)

and omitted any info about sendmail's participation in this. Interestingly, Newsforge has a slightly better (though still flawed) story on the whole isue that includes sendmail.

Leave it to Michael to post some flame in an instance where Eric Allman argues that Microsoft has made signficant changes in the license in an effort to work closely with open-source vendors.

it really is amazing... (1, Offtopic)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061711)

...just how evil a single company can be. Microsoft seems to be completely committed to the singular goal of destroying everyone and everything that might ever compete with it, using whatever tactics (legal or not) it can come up with. The quirky thing about MS's antics are that unlike IBM making money doesn't seem to be the primary goal, but rather establishing control dominance. MS acts more like a government yearning for dictatorship than a for-profit institution.

It's crap like this that makes me think a well-placed nuke is going to be the only way to stop MS from acting like a cheap cyber version of Ghenghis Khan.

Max

Sender-ID adds very little if anything (3, Interesting)

barcodez (580516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061723)

SPF works, it does exactly what it is designed to do what reason would there be to use Sender-ID?

SPF works today with existing software - I'm at a loss to why anyone would want Sender-ID apart from Microsoft.

I'm sure Microsoft people will install it all blindly (no change there) but if a significant number of mail servers don't implement and or deploy it then it has failed anyway.

Non-open Source license (1, Insightful)

rjdohnert (772699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061844)

Personally I dont feel this is a big deal unless you make it one. You can access the source code, you can redistribute the only catch is you have to acknowledge the patent. Unless someone can give me specific examples of why this violates the GPL and other open source licenses other than "Its Microsoft and Microsoft is evil" I do plan to deliver a software application utilizing this technology for Linux. I may be contacted at:

robertojdohnert@msn.com

transparent terminals (-1, Offtopic)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061850)

I remember when transparent terminals came out in E ( called ETerms ). They were the coolest thing i'd ever seen.

M$pam harvest (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10061928)

1> Get desktop monopoly
2> Distribute insecure mail servers, websites
3> Wait for spam wave to create demand for "my Internet back"
4> Publish licensed antispam standard
5> Get email monopoly
6> Profit!
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