Sunday, September 11, 2011

What's the Relationship between CoCCA and Minds and Machines (M&M)?

I have been following up on the deployment of COCCA registry solution  in several African countries with keen interest. COCCA seems to be the silver bullet that many African registries have been waiting for and many African registry administrators have fully embraced the Open Source registry system. On July 12, Minds and Machine's Anthony Van Couvering conducted this interview which elicited the response below from COCCA Director Garth Miller. 

 In the interview, M&M's CEO Anthony Van Couvering said this on the Espresso platform: We got an exclusive license from CoCCA to use their platform for gTLDs, which we rechristened Espresso, and with Garth Miller of CoCCA began developing the platform to meet the evolving requirement of ICANN for new gTLD registries — as everyone else in the industry had to do as well.

To which Garth Miller replied:
CoCCA is not under contract to develop a proprietary “espresso” registry system for M+M's exclusive use, if you have questions regarding the espresso registry system please contact M+M. We are not privy to any of the details surrounding M+M's espresso project - CoCCA is not involved in espresso development "

Minds and Machines signed a 3 year agreement with COCCA in 2009 to use its COCCA Tools Open Source Software in a commercial gTLD registry system. But the ICANN process for approval of new gTLDs dragged on and on and the application process arrives after the agreement is expired. CoCCA has said that it will not redraft the agreement since it does not share mutual interests with M&M. The agreement, cruelly, will expire on 09, January,2012, just three days before the application of the new gTLDs commences. The agreement does not prohibit CoCCA from providing gTLD services after 2012, so while M&M will be implementing its Espresso Registry system, CoCCA will be deploying its Pamoja ("together" in Swahili)  Registry system for gTLDs which has been under development for some time.

With over 500 new gTLD applications, CoCCA will definitely join the party, offering the same registry system (or even a better one) as M&M at what I must guess will be highly subsidized costs! There is reason for some, especially in the developing world to celebrate. 

M&M charges $100K per year for technical systems with unlimited registrations for new top-level domains plus expert help with the application and launch. There is no setup charge, no per-domain fee, no extra charges etc.

So what's the current nature of relationship or extent of cooperation between M&M and COCCA in the development of the Espresso Registry System for new gTLDs? It seems to me there is none. Someone please update me.

Read Full PR Below:

Public Notice, Clarification: 2011-07-15

Comments attributed to the CEO of  Minds and Machines LLC  (“M+M”)  in a July 12th on-line interview have led to some confusion regarding the relationship between CoCCA and  M+M and our respective registry systems. CoCCA wishes M+M well in their commercial pursuits however CoCCA is compelled to clarify the relationship where representations have resulted in public confusion. 

CoCCA is not under contract to develop a proprietary “espresso” registry system for M+M's exclusive use, if you have questions regarding the espresso registry system please contact M+M. We are not privy to any of the details surrounding M+M's espresso project - CoCCA is not involved in espresso development. We understand however that M+M has for several years intended to develop espresso as a gTLD fork of the CoCCA software. This is permissible under the open source license, we have formally blessed the initiative and are pleased by this display of confidence in our technology.

CoCCA Registry Services Limited is a privately owned company, neither Minds and Machines LLC of Santa Monica California (M+M) nor their parent company Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. of London (TLDH) are investors or shareholders. Neither M+M nor TLDH author, own, distribute or license the CoCCA software. CoCCA and M+M are not collaborating  on technical, marketing or policy matters and do not share co-location facilities. 

Development of the CoCCA platform since the suspension of the gTLD program has not been the result of an M+M - CoCCA collaborative effort ( as has been suggested ) the significant software development undertaken during the past two years was not commissioned or funded by M+M. Nor is M+M funding current development or work on our pamoja platform. The CoCCA Tools software is open source and M+M is free to use the latest version to develop espresso - or to simply call it espresso as would seem to be the current case.

Throughout the near two year ICANN delay CoCCA has continued to develop and improve our software, engage in capacity building in developing counties and build the CoCCA brand - without input or funding from M+M. CoCCA's current registry system has been selected to manage critical infrastructure in over 35 countries including many developing and post-conflict countries.

Continuous evolution of the platform is essential to the stability and security of the internet in countries where it has been deployed.  CoCCA's software development is user - funded and not reliant on, or driven by, ICANN's gTLD program or M+M's proposed commercial activities in the gTLD space.

The results of our efforts, the “CoCCA Tools" software, remain available to the internet community under an open source license.

CoCCA's commercial model is “try it, if it saves you money (or makes you money) buy the optional Support Subscription”. It is the most widely deployed registry solution in use today. It powers both ASCII TLDs and three of the new Arabic IDN Top Level Domains.

While the latest software meets the needs of all our existing ccTLD users, full gTLD compliance will necessitate deployment of  our “pamoja” platform and the purchase gTLD plug-in modules developed by CoCCA and other parties.

About CoCCA Tools:

CoCCA Tools is a widely used open source registry system. It is free to use and has been in development  / used for over a decade.

Commercial support is available with a subscription. However, unlike Pamoja, CoCCA does not meet all the requirements for new gTLDs.

About espresso:

Ask Minds and Machines for further information.

About Pamoja: - pamoja is Swahili for "together"

Pamoja  is COCCA's next generation registry system. Supports plug-ins developed by ourselves and others - several of which will ensure compliance with the new gTLD standards.

Garth Miller

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