--get your your Linux knowledge
> Linux Reviews > News and headlines > 2004 News archive > September >

Debian projects kills Microsofts Sender ID identification proposal

Microsoft has proposed a new standard called Sender ID for mail authentication, meant to stop the ever-increasing number of spam messages. The Debian project, a major Open-Source authority, has rejected their standard-proposal and thereby killed the while idea.

The Debian group has very strict rules for what kind of software they allow into their Linux distributions. They demand that all code included in their distribution has a Open and friendly license, preferably the GNU Public License.

The Debian group were the first to react when the Xfree86 group changed the license for the X Window System. Even though the actual changes between the old and the new version of their license were minor, the Debian group found their could not comply with the terms and, like Gentoo Linux, switched to the implementation of the X Window System.

Sender ID is a method purposed by Microsoft for authenticating who has sent a mail message in order to determine if the sender is a real person sending a mail or a spam-bot pouring out advertisements to randomly selected adresses.

Other attempts at creating standards to fight SPAM, like the Sender Policy Framework stanard, seem to work against their intention and stops more legitimate mail than actual spam.

The Debian project is a major authority in the Open Source community and their rejection, along with legal concerns stated by the Apache Software Foundation, the Free Software Foundation and the developers of the Postfix, Exim, and Courier software packages pretty much guarantee that the Microsoft Sender ID specification will make it into the most commonly mail handling software used today. Open Source software has a significantly higher share of the server market than the desktop market.

Any standard not embraced by the Open-Source community is a non-standard best ignored. Using a standard for authenticating mail, like Sender ID, not accepted and used by the Open Source world will just stop your customers from placing their orders, not stop any spam-mail. In fact, spam-senders are much quicker to apply such standards because there are the only ones with a real interest in that kind of technology.

Debian reacts to the license called Microsoft Royalty-Free Sender ID Patent License Agreement terms required by Microsoft to deploy the Sender ID standard. The terms are incompatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, a great document any software developer should read at least once.

The Apache Software Foundation publicly rejected the Sender ID 2. September: The current Microsoft Royalty-Free Sender ID Patent License Agreement terms are a barrier to any ASF project which wants to implement Sender ID. We believe the current license is generally incompatible with open source, contrary to the practice of open Internet standards, and specifically incompatible with the Apache License 2.0. Therefore, we will not implement or deploy Sender ID under the current license terms.

Learn more:

News and headlines

Meet new people