I was sure that Microsoft would find some way to wiggle out of the European Union deal to reveal its trade secrets. At the very least, I thought the company would find a way to keep its intellectual property goodies away from open-source groups such as Samba.
I was wrong.
The Samba Group and the Software Freedom Law Center managed to get Microsoft to place all of its network protocols needed for programs to work with Windows Server into the hands of the open-source-friendly Protocol Freedom Information Foundation. This is enormous. This is easily the most significant change for local area networking this century.
I’m not exaggerating. Think about it. AD (Active Directory), CIFS (Common Internet File System), authentication protocols, management protocols—you name it, if it’s involved as Microsoft puts it on its Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program site, if it “enables the creation of server software that interoperates with Microsoft Windows server and desktop operating systems and other compatible software,” it’s in there. For the specific protocols that are covered, take a gander at the Microsoft/PFIF Agreement (PDF link) and prepare to be amazed.
Thanks to the European Union’s decision, in stark contrast to the feeble Microsoft-DOJ antitrust deal, Microsoft has had to open up some of its important secrets. Of course, it will cost you 10,000 euros to get access to them, but that’s chicken feed. And, I might add, there are no, repeat no, royalty fees. You pay your 10 Gs upfront, and you’re ready to start developing without owing Microsoft another penny.
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