October 23, 2006 4:48 PM PDT

Microsoft sets Sender ID free

Microsoft's Sender ID e-mail authentication technology can now be used without fear of the software giant's intellectual property lawyers.

The Redmond, Wash., company said Monday it is making the "Sender ID Framework" available under its Open Specification Promise program. That means Microsoft will not sue anyone who creates products or services based on the e-mail technology.

The move is part of an effort to promote interoperability among commercial and open-source software products, and among Internet access providers that utilize e-mail authentication, Microsoft said in a statement.

"Users will be able to implement, commercialize and modify Microsoft's patented e-mail authentication technology without having to sign a licensing agreement," it said.

Sender ID is a caller ID-like system for e-mail meant to help fight spam and related cyberscams such as phishing. Microsoft has been pushing the technology for a couple of years as a partial solution to junk e-mail. Intellectual property issues around the technology have flared up in the past as a roadblock to adoption.

Microsoft announced the OSP in September, when it said 38 Web services specifications would be available under the promise. Earlier this month, it was expanded to include the Virtual Hard Disk Image Format specification.

Nearly two years after Sender ID's launch, 36 percent of all legitimate e-mail sent worldwide uses the technology, via about 5 million domains, according to Microsoft data.

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Sender ID, e-mail authentication, intellectual property, lawyer, Microsoft Corp.

28 comments

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Yeah right.
"We can't give anyone a legal opinion about how our language relates to the GPL (General Public License) or other OSS (open-source software) licenses"

Trust Microsoft? Not the wisest thing to do.
Posted by imric (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There is always a catch with MS.
Do business with MS and you eventually end up with a horses head in your bed.

Stick to Open Source. It is tried, tested, and proven.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you serious?
So Open Source software is proven whereas MS Software is not? Are you joking????

Say what you want about the pricing structure of MS products Open Source Server solutions are never truly free. Open Source products typically take more time to setup and hence cost more in labor.
Posted by hybris06 (66 comments )
Link Flag
I prefer to . . .
use SPF, an open standard, that should get the same or better
results, and avoid the chance that "someone" will break their
promise at some future date.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.openspf.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.openspf.org</a>
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A MSFT Promise? How do you spell Worthless?
Ah, yes, OK. An outfit that has been indicted for criminal restraint of trade all over the world, has stolen the identities of dead people in astroturfing campaigns and has been sued successfully by lord knows how many outfits for intellectual property infringement is now promising not to assert its IP, even though its claims are completely dubious . . . and the whole world is supposed to shrug and recognize its IP and accept its promises.

One world: HILARIOUS!

I'd sooner trust a promise from Jeffrey Dahmer about his table manners.

Roberto
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ask this Question First . . .
Are MSFT's intellectual property claims at all valid?

They've never been tested in court.

The press like brain-damaged monkeys simply report MSFT's spurious claims with no comment from an independent IP counsel.

Could they stand up against contest by the likes of the hundreds of companies in this space with IP within the art?

This is like braking technology companies Bendix, or Delphi or, hey, no relation, Bosch, offering to license its IP for "going slower" to the world, as long as the whole world agrees to its claim of all technology related to "going slower" and believes its promise never to assert.

In the first instance, MSFT's proposition is preposterous.

Reporting this as news is a waste of great comedic material, CNET. If you guys had a sitcom, MSFT's OSP would be good for 6 episodes.

Roberto
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you?
Or are you just repeating propaganda?

Proven: Yes. OSS drives the 'Net. It drives email especially. Exchange is kludged together pair of imap and smtp servers that falls over every once in a while, and is only used because of the value of it's calendering service.

takes a long time to set up: No. I can install a functional Debian+sendmail+imap+webmail server on a Linux box in 2 hours from bare metal. I've done it. Claiming that for Exchange is ridiculous, Windows alone takes longer.

Windows has a place in the enterprise, yes - but the statements you made are simply incorrect.
Posted by imric (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BTW - this was in reply to 'are you serious'
I shouldn't really reply using talkback software I'm unfamiliar with this late at night, I guess.
Posted by imric (10 comments )
Link Flag
So MS frees its broken "standard" ...
SenderID is a broken standard that anyone who thinks seriously about how it works can easily see that its real function is to break up existing email software by creating a very complicated set of partly documented instructions. The adoption of this standard means that there will never be full compatibility between all email server software. The big players will be safe because everyone will check their configuration to work with them (just like everyone tests their webpages for compatibility with a multitude of IE versions in addition or instead of testing its standards-compatibility). Smaller organiztions with special needs would be out of luck. If you'll have special email needs that require a configuration that's not a 100% like Hotmail configuration you'll need a Hotmail account to send out those of your messages that bounce because you're not 100% compatible with Hotmail's unpublished configuration that everyone will tune up to using trial and error.

SenderID is not an anti-spam tool. It's quite easy to forgge headers that bypass SenderID. It's much harder to setup real message headers that are compliant if you're not a Hotmail clone.

Thank god they had to settle for SenderID and not the original "CallerID for email" that was made to make everyone "outlook-compliant"!
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Downwards and Backwards...
Agreed...people jumping on this ship are going to find out how sailing ever and only sternward will get you to that "Where do you want to go today?(TM)" place.

At this pace, we'd be far better off with a tokenized micro-payment escrow system for Email...
Posted by justwally (32 comments )
Link Flag
So MS frees its broken "standard" ...
SenderID is a broken standard that anyone who thinks seriously about how it works can easily see that its real function is to break up existing email software by creating a very complicated set of partly documented instructions. The adoption of this standard means that there will never be full compatibility between all email server software. The big players will be safe because everyone will check their configuration to work with them (just like everyone tests their webpages for compatibility with a multitude of IE versions in addition or instead of testing its standards-compatibility). Smaller organiztions with special needs would be out of luck. If you'll have special email needs that require a configuration that's not a 100% like Hotmail configuration you'll need a Hotmail account to send out those of your messages that bounce because you're not 100% compatible with Hotmail's unpublished configuration that everyone will tune up to using trial and error.

SenderID is not an anti-spam tool. It's quite easy to forgge headers that bypass SenderID. It's much harder to setup real message headers that are compliant if you're not a Hotmail clone.

Thank god they had to settle for SenderID and not the original "CallerID for email" that was made to make everyone "outlook-compliant"!
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Speaking of FUD
That seems to be the main product of you haters of all things MS. Your obession with hating MS has caused you to dismiss the MS idea offhand while totally missing the true criticism of this announcement namely that MS should have done this when they first announced Sender ID, that would have allowed the world to work with it from the beginning.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good Post
I would have liked to have seen this announcement made when sender ID was first announced as well. I haven't seen anyone yet who DIDN'T have a dislike for spam and I applaud any method that is designed to decrease or eliminate it. There are several methods that can be addopted in this battle against spam. I don't care which, I just want to see an end to spam. This is up to the Internet consortium to decide which is best (a group of educated engineers who deal with the standards of the internet) and not a bunch of whinning posters complaining about MS giving something away for free.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Not FUD, just caution
You don't have to be a MS hater to be afraid of them. Besides,
they generally try to restrict any use of their software by the
open source community. And the world's email travels primarily
on open source servers.

Sender ID failed to catch on primarily because MS has the
potential to impose licensing restrictions.

Remember the story of the "scorpion and the frog"?
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe the world doesn't care to be even more Microsoft
I for one am trying to move all my clients away from the confines of Microsoft's products.

By the way there is a difference between be a MS hater and a consumer advocate.

Most of us tried for years to embrase Microsoft Windows. If after you get burned time and time again and watch better OS's getting slammed by Microsoft's attacks, you decide to use something else, then you are a suddenly a MS Hater.

If you bought a toaster that blew up on you, then you bought 6 more that broke in some way, wouldn't you put down that brand of toaster and try a different brand? If you found that that brand was better, wouldn't you want to tell everyone about it?
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Link Flag
You Don't Invite the Mansons to Dinner Twice
Exactly. Once they've destroyed your home and murdered a few of your other guests, you get the idea, hey, maybe I can forget to invite them to the next dinner party.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
take the blue frog way
If ISPs and online email accounts took the blue frog approach sending 1 reply opting out for every unsolicited email and did it in a burst mode (sending large numbers at a time to these spamers. It would shut them down. Blue Frog was working, I received fewer spam emails per day. It just didn't have the capacity to deal with the attack that brought it down, unlike say MS, Google, AOL, comcast, or any other big web enterprise. I don't think the Russian spammer that took down Blue Frog would have had the guts to go after MS or AOL or any of the ones like that.
Posted by guano77 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
EU Effects have a Positive Trickling Down Effect
I guess this is one of those proprietary things which Microsoft wanted to bind everybody to, but the EU just wouldn't go for it. And if they allow the EU to use it for free, then then must also open it up to the rest of the world for free.

If more people in the US, Canada and other countries around the world stood up to Microsoft like the EU is doing, major compatibility and monopolistic changes for the better will ensue!

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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