* Eric S. Raymond:
In the last 60 days, the IETF has taken the worst blow to its
credibility that I have observed in the entire history of the
organization. I refer, of course, to the Sender-ID debacle, which
exposed IETF's inability or unwillingness to defend Internet
standards against patent predation even when the existence of
prior art is readily establishable.
Are you familiar with IETF IPR policies? Microsoft's Sender ID
license was a perfectly acceptable RAND patent license. The outcome
of the decision is quite surprising, and underlines that even though
the IETF has policies that can put free software at a disadvantage,
the IETF community makes sure that these policies are not used for
some of the most important protocols.
Regarding the existence of prior art, it's almost inevitable that
Microsoft's patent claims will be narrowed significantly when the
patent is granted in a few years. The exact scope of those claims is
very difficult to predict, though, and so are the costs of
standardizing on an infringing protocol.
Maybe I'm a bit biased because I think SPF and Sender-ID are wrong
from a strategic point of view. IMHO, it's a very bad idea to put DNS
so close to the center of the spam wars because it's so likely that
the resulting collateral damage on DNS as a whole will destabilize the
domain name system as a whole, and a have a devastating side effect on
1. Some core protocols are heavily patent-encumbered, though, or have
become encumbered as implementation strategies evolved. Efficient
packet forwarding is certainly one of the Internet fundamentals,
however it's far from obvious how to implement it without breaking a
couple of patents (similar to the situation with compression
algorithms at the beginning of the 90s).
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