OpenDomain Donates Use of Web Addresses to Encourage Online Collaboration
September 29, 2006; 07:39 AM
A Pennsylvania entrepreneur who owns registered Internet Web site domain names is allowing individuals and organizations to use many of them for free to encourage people who develop Internet applications to share information and contribute computer codes online.
Unlike others who purchase domain names and later fight with companies over much-needed Web site addresses, OpenDomain.Org gives away the use of these valuable assets to those who use open sourcing - the practice of releasing previously proprietary software for free under license - to help advance Internet technologies around the world.
While so-called cyber squatters typically seek money from start-up firms or even large corporations requiring a certain Web address, OpenDomain.Org believes those who use and support open sourcing shouldn't have to wage a bidding war to secure a domain name.
"While we continue to see speculators buying and selling domain names for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars, what we are doing is quite the opposite of cyber squatting - in fact, we're the anti-squatter," said Ric Johnson, president of OpenDomain.Org. "We don't sell domains nor do we transfer them. Instead, we buy domains so organizations that share our view of responsible open sourcing can use them for free in promoting these open technologies. It's a different way to contribute to open sourcing, and it's the kind of collaborative spirit that made the Internet possible."
In return, OpenDomain simply seeks a link on the Web sites of organizations that use the domain names provided by OpenDomain to raise awareness so that more groups can take advantage of the opportunity.
Many applications on the Internet that benefit the public, including blogs, are a result of open sourcing.
OpenDomain.Org has donated several domain names over the past six years to organizations and individuals involved in technologies for blogging, instant messaging, spam protection and other online functions. Organizations that have received domain names - many on the leading edge of future Internet technology - are grateful for the support of OpenDomain.
"Domain names have long been one of the most contentious aspects of the Web, and as with any area where resources are dear, the field has attracted its shares of speculators who choose names not because of need, but to hold them ransom," said Kurt Cagle, chief architect of Metaphorical Web. "Thankfully, there are people like Cedric Johnson of OpenDomain.Org, who's worked hard - and spent a great deal - to keep such domain names freely available for those people who would actually develop resources to help the open source and open standards community. He's helped me with the domain xForms.Org that I'm developing, and I can only heap praise upon him for the selfless acts that he continues to do."
Other developers agree.
"OpenDomain.Org acquired Drupal.Com at great expense, and in donating it to Drupal, has shown sincere altruism and generosity and has made a significant contribution to the larger effort of creating a great open-source software product," said Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, an open source content management platform. "OpenDomain's generous donation will enable us to extend Drupal's presence and facilitate continued growth of the Drupal project. We are very grateful for this contribution."
"With OpenDomain, we have been able to share vital information with the Internet development community and educate the public about the power of the file format XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language)," added Ron DeSerranno, president of Mobiform. "OpenDomain has been instrumental in helping http://www.XAML.Net exceed its goals."
"OpenAjax Alliance is very excited and appreciative of OpenDomain's URL donation of OpenAjax.Org to OpenAjax Alliance. This enables a more intuitive Web address for the alliance and the community," said Jon Ferraiolo of IBM, speaking on behalf of the OpenAjax Alliance. "OpenAjax Alliance is an open industry collaboration dedicated to developing and expanding Ajax technologies, so donations like OpenDomain's help the organization continue its growth and campaigns."
OpenDomain will continue to make its donations available to anyone involved in open-source applications.
"We are pleased with the support we have seen for our efforts," Johnson said. "We have received plenty of offers to buy domain names we own, but we've never sold one. We remain committed to supporting open sourcing and the entrepreneurs who are developing the future of the Internet."
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