Samba Gains Legal Access to Microsoft Network File Protocols

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2007-12-21 Email Print this article Print

Samba and the Software Freedom Law Center sign an agreement with Microsoft that gives them full access to Microsoft's server protocols.

On Dec. 20, the Samba Group and the Software Freedom Law Center announced a deal with Microsoft that places all of Microsoft's network protocols needed for programs to work with Windows Server into the hands of the newly formed Protocol Freedom Information Foundation. The PFIF is a U.S.-based nonprofit corporation. It will make Microsoft's server network protocol documentation available to open-source developers such as Samba, which creates programs for Windows Server interoperability, and private companies. This information is provided under an NDA (nondisclosure agreement) and developers must agree to the NDA before gaining access to the documentation.
This revolutionary deal came about because of the European Union's decision that Microsoft had been acting as a monopoly in Europe. After Microsoft failed in its appeal, the software giant not only had to pay a $613 million fine, it also had to open up some of its proprietary protocols to competitors, including open-source ones.
In the deal, the PFIF gets the actual documentation. Samba or other developers can then access the documentation if they agree to the NDA and pay 10,000 euros. There are no other charges or royalty fees. However, the source code free software developers produce from this documentation can be fully open-sourced under the GPLv2 (GNU General Public License) or GPLv3 and will not be covered by the PFIF/Microsoft NDA. Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Samba Gains Legal Access to Microsoft Network File Protocols Check out's Linux & Open Source Center for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date
Rocket Fuel