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Sender ID will survive open source snub, analysts say

The proposed antispam protocol that Microsoft co-authored will likely be widely adopted, despite recent rebukes by the Debian project and the Apache Software Foundation, experts argue.

The refusal of some open source groups to support the Microsoft-co-authored Sender ID specification will probably have little or no effect on the adoption of the antispam protocol, experts said.

If Apache doesn't want to implement [Sender ID], fine. People will just go somewhere else.

Jonathan Penn,

Forrester analyst

Last weekend, the Debian project became the latest open source organization to reject Microsoft's royalty-free Sender ID patent license agreement. In a statement, Debian said that the "current license and resulting encumbrances are incompatible with the [Debian free software guidelines]."

Debian is the effort of a group of individuals who are creating an open source operating system based on the Linux kernel, according to information on the group's Web site.

Earlier last week, the Apache Software Foundation expressed similar sentiments about Sender ID in a letter to the Internet Engineering Task Force working group known as the MTA Authorization Records in DNS.

Analysts said it doesn't really matter whether these organizations are on board because Sender ID will be adopted anyway, and it will happen quickly. "If IBM, Microsoft and Sendmail are using it, then it's less of an issue," said Mark Leavitt, a research analyst at International Data Corp., a Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm.

For more information

Read about the origin of Sender ID


See one Microsoft insider's take on the fight against spam

Most medium to large businesses are using IBM or Microsoft products, and as you get into small and medium-sized companies, Novell Inc. also has some market share. But not everyone has to use Sender ID for it to be valuable, Leavitt said.

"If [open source contingents] don't support [Sender ID] it won't cripple the fight against spam," Leavitt said. "Sender ID won't solve the fight against spam either."

Other analysts agreed. "This thing will be adopted and major ISPs will run it -- and that's where it will have the most effect," said Jonathan Penn, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Mass.

Penn pointed out that many antispam vendors, including IronPort Systems Inc., Tumbleweed Communications Corp., Symantec Corp., VeriSign Inc., IBM and America Online, have already said they will support Sender ID.

"If Apache doesn't want to implement it, fine," Penn said. "People will just go somewhere else."

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