Microsoft to Release More Source Code

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-03-12 Print this article Print

Microsoft Corp. plans to open up more of its proprietary source code to allow greater interoperability between different server operating systems and its Windows client and server operating systems.

Microsoft Corp. plans to open up more of its proprietary source code to allow greater interoperability between different server operating systems and its Windows client and server operating systems. Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler told eWeek on Tuesday that the Redmond, Wash.-based software firm would release the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol later this summer to comply with the provisions of the proposed final settlement between it and the Department of Justice in that antitrust case.
"We will also be licensing additional protocols in the coming months, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, for the purposes of interoperating with the Windows 2000 and Windows XP client operating systems," Desler said, declining to give specific details.
The news follows Microsofts announcement on Tuesday that it would also license the core Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocol "in a way that will allow other companies to create their own implementation of core CIFS for use on non-Windows client and server operating systems, on a royalty-free basis." The move is designed to address some of the issues under investigation by the European Commission. Microsoft implemented the CIFS protocol in Windows NT 4.0, where it is used for network file access in Microsoft Windows NT. Client systems use CIFS to request file and print services from server systems over a network. This is based on the SMB protocol, which is widely used in personal computers and workstations, Desler said. The latest moves to share code and protocols follow Microsofts announcement last month that it was making available the technical information necessary to interoperate with its implementation of the Kerberos security protocol. Microsoft also recently announced that it was giving systems integrators access to Windows source code under the Systems Integrator Source Licensing Program (SISLP). Desler said that none of the three latest moves were necessary under the proposed settlement—also known as the consent decree—in the antitrust case between Microsoft and the Department of Justice, which requires Microsoft to disclose to third parties any communications protocol implemented in a Windows desktop operating system that is used to interoperate with a Microsoft server operating system. "The CIFS, Kerberos and SISLP announcements are above and beyond the conditions of the consent decree. As such, this is yet another step we are taking to enhance the interoperability of Windows clients with non-Microsoft operating systems," he said. But they do specifically target issues raised in the European Commissions investigation of Microsoft for allegedly designing its Windows operating system to work better with its own server software than that of rivals. The commission is also concerned that Microsoft has allegedly tied its Windows Media Player software to its operating system. Desler confirmed that CIFS, like Kerberos, was a "key issue" in the competition case currently under investigation in the European Union. "By dealing with the commissions stated concerns on both issues, Microsoft is demonstrating its commitment to resolving competition issues proactively. Todays move was not required by the European Commission, but it seeks to address concerns expressed by the EC," he said. Microsoft was also waiting to hear if the middleware provisions of the proposed settlement with the Justice Department adequately addressed the commissions concerns about the alleged tying of the Windows Media Player to its operating system, Desler said.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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