By Matthew Broersma  |  Posted 2005-06-06 Print this article Print

For open-source developers, the current proposal might as well not exist, according to the Free Software Foundation Europe. "This is the same situation that would have existed if the European Commission had lost in court in December," said FSF Europe spokesman Georg Greve. "Essentially, Microsoft continues to refuse allowing competition from its only remaining competitor by excluding free software implementations." Read more here about the FSF Europes involvement with the Microsoft antitrust issue.
Samba, an open-source project allowing communications with Windows networks, is likely to be hard hit if Microsofts stance doesnt change, said Samba developer Volker Lendecke.
"If the commission accepts this view, Samba is out of the game," he said. "Even if Microsoft gave away some information free of charge and free to open-source developers, there would still be discussion about the undisclosed protocols. Microsoft knows very well what critical pieces of information not to disclose." Carlo Piana, an attorney representing the FSF Europe, was more sanguine about the prospects for open source, noting that the commission has recognized the importance of "free software" to competition. Any battle over which protocols should be disclosed may be beyond the FSFs resources, he said, but the monitoring trustee who will be appointed soon could prove to be a valuable asset, he said. "I hardly see this as a defeat for the free software movement, though it is not a giant move forward," he said. At a Bonn, Germany, press conference on Monday, Kroes acknowledged that the commissions hands are tied to some extent by Decembers ruling by the Court of First Instance. "We cant take a risk. We have to be aware that the Court of First Instance is watching us, and rightly so," she told journalists at the conference. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.


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