OpenBSD Journal

Sender ID patents, FOSS vendors and IETF saga continues

Contributed by grey on from the get active dept.

Just to touch upon some machinations that affect "free" open source software users of late, I'm sure many of our readers have seen the story about Apache's position on Sender ID and will no doubt see quite a bit of irony given ASF's own recent license changes.

Still, their position seems more encouraging than another story on which I've seen less reporting. Namely, Sendmail's release of Sender ID milter. We previously posted a story on the concerns that are entailed with these actions but it now appears that lines are being drawn by two prominent vendors. You might also want to look at these stories here and here by Yakov Shafranovich to get some additional background on this issue and why it is important.

That said, you can contact these organizations and let them know how you feel. Here are some links for more information on how to contact these organizations and give them your support or dissatisfaction on these issues:



IETF marid charter


Microsoft (their standards licensing question address is:

Of course, perhaps the real irony to this story is why FOSS vendors are even put in the position of having to take a stance relative to intellectual property and licensing, when some analysis reveals that these techniques aren't even entirely effective.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By fuzzyping ( on

    I think you mean hypocrisy, not irony.


    1. By grey ( on

      While I did fix a couple of language usage errors already, 'irony' is a bit more diplomatic (or at least a less loaded term) than 'hypocrisy', so I'm leaving it. I like to point people in the direction of important issues and raise a few questions, but unlike talkshow 'news' outlets I prefer to leave judgement up to the reader, or at least try to present my opinions in a story with a little bit of tact.

      1. By fuzzyping ( on


        1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
        2. An act or instance of such falseness.


        1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
        2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.

        Your first use of irony is misplaced. Your second appears to be more appropriate. It has nothing to do with diplomacy or tact; you're simply using the wrong word. If you're looking for something less volatile, might I suggest chicanery or illusory? :)


        1. By almeida ( on

          You missed the applicable definition of irony: "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs." We expected Apache to make a stupid decision about the Sender ID license based on their recent license changes. What actually occurred was incongruous with that expectation. That's ironic.

      2. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Right; your feelings about the story are irrelevant to the reader.

  2. By Stefan ( on

    What about the other techniqes mentioned somewhere, like rmx etc. ? As an alternative. I think Sender ID is not worth thinking about, it only brings problems to the OS world.

  3. By Nonesuch ( on

    The point of "sender validation" mechanisms is not to block spam (though that can be a nice side-effect), it is to prevent "Joe Jobs" and "Phishing", and other abuses that work through the spoofing of legitimate domain names from not-so-legitimate source networks.

    The goal is to establish a mechanism to allow for establishing a reputation, to ensure that if I get an email that shows an envelope from address of "", that message really did come through AOL.

    Eventually the goal of these techniques is to permit more accurate validation of mail path headers and the claimed origination points. Achieving that goal will vastly improve the effectiveness of other anti-spam techniques.

  4. By slacker ( on

    Yakov's articles are exceptional. A fantastic read!

  5. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Reminds me of the proposed National ID scheme in the UK, it legitimises identity theft


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