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Re: Re: Maxmind GeoIP/Geolite license change

Hello Debian people,

I would like to pre-announce a little project that we from the IPFire Project have started and which might be of interest for you.

We have been equally frustrated with MaxMind’s license change and also some other things before that. For example has the database not always been accurate enough for our own purposes amongst some more minor problems.


We started our own sub-project which provides a location database for the Internet and comes with a small C library, and bindings in Python and Perl to be integrated into other projects.

The library is licensed under LGPL and the database is under the Creative Commons license. Since everything we are doing is true free software, this will of course stay as it is.

The data for the database, as well as all tools used to compose it are available, too.


Our motivation

In IPFire, we use this data to block connections from certain countries. That is why we needed good accuracy of the data, but resolution down to city-level is not required and therefore not implemented.

We added AS information which is more interesting that countries in my personal opinion.

root@location01:~# host www.debian.org
www.debian.org has address
www.debian.org has IPv6 address 2001:67c:2564:a119::77
www.debian.org has IPv6 address 2603:400a:ffff:bb8::801f:3e
www.debian.org has IPv6 address 2001:4f8:1:c::15

root@location01:~# location lookup 2001:67c:2564:a119::77
  Network                 : 2001:67c:2564::/48
  Country                 : Netherlands
  Autonomous System       : AS1133 (SURFnet bv)

We also wanted to be able to securely update the database and have therefore added a cryptographic signature to it. That way, the database cannot be spoofed and can be downloaded from an untrusted server.

There are still some hoops to jump through, but we already have an implementation that we will release to our users in a few weeks. The implementation is already a lot faster the MaxMind’s which we hope will allow this library being used in some more applications.

Why am I writing to you?

Since Maxmind’s database is no longer an option for many of their users, we are providing a free alternative and hope that you will help us to find its users. We are an open source project that is developing free software and we of course hope that more people will contribute to our little project and make it even better, opening more possibilities for this being used.

If you have any concerns, I would like to hear them, too.


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