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DEPLOY: Debian project unable to deploy Sender ID

The Debian Project                           http://www.debian.org/News/
Debian project unable to deploy Sender ID               press@debian.org
September 4th, 2004             http://www.debian.org/News/2004/20040904

DEPLOY: Debian project unable to deploy Sender ID

This message summarises the position of the Debian project, producer
of the universal operating system: Debian GNU/Linux.  The Debian
project abides by a social contract to our users that specifies all
software included in the operating system will be Free Software,
meaning that it can be freely redistributed, modified, used, etc. as
defined under the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG)

The current Microsoft Royalty-Free Sender ID Patent License Agreement
terms are a barrier to any Debian package which wants to implement
Sender ID or include Sender ID support.  We believe the current
license and resulting encumbrances are incompatible with the DFSG,
unlike other Internet standards that Debian is able to support.
Therefore, we cannot implement or deploy Sender ID under the current
license terms.  Indeed, we would be forced to remove SenderID support
from software we ship that does support Sender ID upstream according
to the terms of our social contract.

For the most part, our legal concerns mirror those of the Apache
Software Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, as well as the
Postfix, Exim, and Courier maintainers.

We are also concerned that no company should be permitted intellectual
property rights (IPR) over core Internet infrastructure.  We believe
the IETF needs to revamp its IPR policies to ensure that the core
Internet infrastructure remain unencumbered.

With thanks to the Apache Software Foundation for their statement,
which we used as a starting point, though we have arrived at our
determination independently.

Additional information:

Debian Social Contract


Debian Free Software Guidelines


Apache Statement on Sender ID


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