Re: [Asrg] SPF: Summary of Objections

Vernon Schryver <> Tue, 17 June 2003 04:15 UTC

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From: Vernon Schryver <>
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Subject: Re: [Asrg] SPF: Summary of Objections
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Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 18:32:01 -0600

> Most objections to SPF have come from people who ...

I've seen seemingly endless talk recently about the characteristics
of people who don't like SPF and various bits of what I assume are
deep philosophies, but nothing about what SPF is.

In poking Google, I found 
From that page, I found this statement on the "executive summary" in

  SPF is not patent-encumbered.

As I understand such things, absolutely no one can flatly say that
anything is not patent-encumbered.  Submarine patents are always a worry
even after a professional patent search.  That page also says that SPF
is less than 2 weeks old.  How can anyone claim there are no existing
patents on SPF?  I thought a patent search required noticable real money
and far more time than a week or two.  Saying that SPF is unencumbered
sounds like an unconditional and unlimited offer of indemnification
should a patent surface.  Are you sure you want to assume what could
be many-multi-million dollar liability?

In plowing through the links on I find many
statements that seem obviously false to me.  For example, the
characterization "The Problem With STMP" seemss wrong at least about
the nature and history of SMTP.  And so on....

I looked at several of the links on without
gaining the faintest idea of what SPF is.  I found many assurances
that SPF will fix spam and that realsoonnow there will be a technical
specification, but few technical clues.

I did find which seems to involve odd
notions of which characters are valid in DNS names and a reasonable
notion of names that are not already in use.  That page suggests (but
does not seem to come out and say) that SPF is a version of what Paul
Vixie wrote about years ago about Jim Miller's 1998 idea and what
others have written about since but with a few trivial tweaks such as
the use of TXT RRs.  If that is accurate, then SPF may be based on
the false notion that many (or any) major ISPs object or could be
forced to object to people sending mail ossensibly from their domain
names but via unrelated SMTP clients.

I also looked at
and found statistical jargon but little statistical analysis, lots
enthusiasm, and no technnical discussion about the nature of SPF.

for Paul Vixie's old vers version, not because it is wonderful,
best, authoritative, final, or even particularly good, but only in
the hope of defusing some of the hype.

Ob.Philosophy: What is it about spam that brings out the passion to convince
  and convert?  Or maybe it's just that recent arrivals on the
  DDN Protocol Suite scene are not of the old school that believed
  the best and only interesting sales presentations involve technical 
  details and running code.

Vernon Schryver
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