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From: Keith Dawson (
Date: Tue Sep 26 2000 - 10:25:23 PDT

FoRKs -- At his request I'm relaying a response from XNSORG president
Adam Engst to some of yesterday's posts.
Keith Dawson
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.

Internet Freedom's 1999 Internet Journalist of the Year

>Robert S. Thau writes:
>Adam L. Beberg writes:
> > On Mon, 25 Sep 2000, Tom Whore wrote:
> >
> > > Watch these letters: XNS This will be huge news for personal privacy. A
> >
> > "5. Is XNS patented?
> > Yes. The web agent technology on which it is based was developed by
> > OneName Corporation (originally Intermind Corporation) and is covered by
> > three U.S. patents, one Australian patent, and a number of other U.S.
> > and international patents pending."
> >
> > To bad, so sad, to the discard pile it goes.
>The patent angle here actually has a few unusual wrinkles. They are
>planning to do an "open-source" implementation of the client side of
>their system, under terms which include a no-fee patent license.
>However, that license will require licensees to adhere to some of
>their privacy policies. Whether they can really do that in a license
>which is compatible with the Open Source Definition may depend on how
>you interpret "no discrimination wrt fields of endeavor", which may
>explain why the description of the license itself is essentially

We had an open source license ready, but some private feedback convinced us that it would just be stupid to release something without significant feedback and input from the open source community. So we explicitly punted on that entire issue, and I pored over the various legal documents to try and make sure that none of them required anything in particular of the open source license. I don't think they do, and the lawyers we had working on it agree, but I'm certainly not an open source expert.

So yes, the open source license is TBD. Help us determine it. We have a mailing list running right now for people interested in talking about it, and it's a high priority.

The open source code is another aspect of this - the programmers are working on prepping it for open source release right now. It won't be available instantly, but it shouldn't be too long.

>What kills it for me, though, is that the license covers the client
>side only; OneName is explicitly retaining all rights to the patent
>claims which cover operation of the central directory. Which means
>that, as Strata has pointed out, if you want to use their tech, you're
>stuck with them or their licensees, even if they screw up or sell out.
>This is not the sort of thing I like to see in a privacy guard.

Drummond will have to respond to this. My distinct belief is that nothing in the so-called "Reserved Technology Area" is required for the operation of XNS.

>You won't find this in any of the FAQ documents I've found, but it's
>clear in the patent license agreement between OneName and, the
>nonprofit which they've set up as a neutral arbiter and/or liability

OneName didn't set up XNSORG. OneName assisted in the creation of XNSORG, but the board of directors has fiduciary responsibility to the XNS community, not OneName, and the only director with a conflict, Drummond, recused himself from all negotiations with OneName, which I conducted with our counsel. (And which, I'd like you to know, eliminated all patent royalties from the system - no matter what, OneName cannot collect royalties on their patent under this license.)

>(BTW, the privacy policy on their web site covers retrieval of pages
>from the web site, and their mailing lists and discussion forums,

On the XNSORG Web site? The privacy policy on the XNSORG Web site is meant to cover only information that XNSORG itself collects, not general information in the system.

>is so far strangely silent on the use and redistirbution of XNS ID
>information. The best discussion I've found on that is on a separate

Does this answer your question?

>but while that document says a great deal about who is required to
>uphold the privacy policies, it doesn't yet say much at all about what
>those policies *are*. Given that the buzz they're trying to build is
>"privacy, privacy, privacy" --- see Berst's anchordesk column today
>--- this doesn't give me warm fuzzies...).

I think the link above should cover it.

>Strata Rose Chalup writes:
>Or the company gets sold, goes out of business, or otherwise suffers a
>DYE (data yank event-- data isn't *lost*, just deliberately

Although there's no doubt that the loss of OneName would be blow to the system, especially early on, we at XNSORG have worked hard to make sure they're not actually required. Several large firms have already expressed interest in running backup root servers, and once there are other agencies out there to take up the slack if OneName fails, I think XNS could survive that.

>Tom Whore writes:
>On Mon, 25 Sep 2000, Strata Rose Chalup wrote:
>--]Or the company gets sold, goes out of business, or otherwise suffers a
>--]DYE (data yank event-- data isn't *lost*, just deliberately
>Even if they dont heres the crux of the problem
>The use of it still requires a "join this now to use" message sent from a
>compnay to the folks you want to keep informed.

I agree, it should be sent from the user's email address.

cheers... -Adam

Adam C. Engst, XNSORG President XNS Name: =Adam Engst
               Email: <> Web: <>

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