Search /
Docfinder:
Advanced search  |  Help  |  Site map
RESEARCH CENTERS
SITE RESOURCES
Click for Layer 8! No, really, click NOW!
Networking for Small Business
TODAY'S NEWS
FCC defends new net neutrality proposal
New iPad rumor rollup for week ending April 23
Dell adds Big Switch to its SDN mix
Google Plus now minus chief Vic Gundotra
Heartbleed prompts joint vendor effort to boost OpenSSL, security
Microsoft Surface Mini seems likely to ship soon
China working on Linux replacement for Windows XP
FCC adds $9 billion to broadband subsidy fund
Raspberry Pi alternatives emerge to fill need for speed
It's now possible to wirelessly charge 40 smartphones from 16 feet away
Ex-FCC commissioner to head CTIA in latest Washington shuffle
Go time traveling with Google Maps
While Heartbleed distracts, hackers hit US universities
Survey respondents shun much-hyped mobile shopping technologies
7 Ways to Advance Your Project Management Career
How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off
US to vote on sharp increase in broadband subsidies
iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending April 18
NSA spying revelations have tired out China's Huawei
Arista co-founder may have switch maker by its jewels
Open source pitfalls – and how to avoid them
AT&T's expanded 1 Gbps fiber rollout could go head to head with Google
Verizon: Web apps are the security punching bag of the Internet


/
Send to a friend Feedback

Adobe, Xerox tiff slows Internet fax standard

Related linksToday's breaking news
Send to a friendFeedback


The Internet Engineering Task Force has slammed the brakes on its plans to develop a common way of sending faxes over the Internet, due to last-minute licensing problems between rivals Adobe Systems and Xerox.

After five years of development, the IETF's Internet Fax working group was ready to publish a series of documents as draft standards. But the documents, which rely heavily on technology from Adobe and Xerox, were put on hold Monday pending a review of intellectual property claims.

At issue is the working group's plan to use Adobe's Tag Image File Format (TIFF) to represent the content and structure of fax communications sent as e-mail messages over the 'Net. The IETF chose TIFF because it is widely supported in e-mail clients, fax machines and fax applications. However, TIFF supports only black and white documents.

The IETF working group extended TIFF to support color documents using encoding technology called Mixed Raster Content (MRC) from Xerox. The resulting protocol was dubbed TIFF-FX for TIFF for Fax Extended. Authors of the TIFF-FX document, which was written last November, include engineers from Adobe, Xerox, Nortel and Brooktrout.

However, Adobe now claims that the IETF has overstepped its bounds in using its TIFF technology in TIFF-FX. Adobe refuses to support TIFF-FX unless Xerox releases rights for its MRC technology to Adobe.

Xerox, meanwhile, won't back TIFF-FX unless Adobe promises to support the standard in its next version of TIFF, TIFF 7.0, which Adobe hasn't committed to ship.

"We've gotten ourselves into a scary situation," says John Klensin, chair of the IETF's Internet Architecture Board and vice president for Internet architecture at AT&T. Klensin asked the Internet Fax working group to review its decision-making process to be sure that it wants to go forward with TIFF-FX.

"It's late in the game ... and we're at a dead stop," Klensin admits.

In addition to the intellectual property problems, the Internet Fax working group is facing criticism because it didn't design TIFF-FX to work with Adobe's current version of TIFF.

"I'm seriously annoyed by the [intellectual property rights] issues, but I'm even more concerned about the lack of interoperability," Klensin adds.

While the IETF regularly faces licensing issues, the Adobe/Xerox wrangling was a surprise because both companies agreed several years ago to contribute technology to TIFF-FX.

"Never, in my experience, has the IETF seen such a ridiculous flap over intellectual property rights," says Ned Freed, co-chair of the IETF's Applications Area, which oversees the Internet Fax working group. Freed is a distinguished engineer with Sun.

The IETF's Internet Fax working group is designing protocols that allow companies to send and receive faxes over the Internet at a lesser cost than transmitting over the telephone system. Internet Fax allows end users to send or receive faxes as e-mail attachments or as hard copy documents printed out by Internet-enabled fax machines.

Two dozen members of the Internet Fax working group gathered at the meeting here decided to review and revamp the TIFF-FX documents with the Adobe/Xerox controversy in mind. The likely solution is for the group to replace TIFF-FX with plain old TIFF, which eliminates Adobe's intellectual property concerns and offers interoperability with existing TIFF-based systems.

"If they just remove the extensions from the specification, they can move forward and quickly get the document done," Freed says. "Otherwise, if they decide to make major changes like add color in a different way, it could be a six-month delay."

Related Links

 
NWFusion offers more than 40 FREE technology-specific email newsletters in key network technology areas such as NSM, VPNs, Convergence, Security and more.
Click here to sign up!
New Event - WANs: Optimizing Your Network Now.
Hear from the experts about the innovations that are already starting to shake up the WAN world. Free Network World Technology Tour and Expo in Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York.
Attend FREE
Your FREE Network World subscription will also include breaking news and information on wireless, storage, infrastructure, carriers and SPs, enterprise applications, videoconferencing, plus product reviews, technology insiders, management surveys and technology updates - GET IT NOW.