Samba specialist SerNet claims specifications from MS

Oct 04, 2007

SerNet claimed the protocol specifications from Microsoft in order to enhance the open source software and make it interoperable.

Two weeks ago, the European Supreme Court denied a claim by Microsoft and confirmed a prior judgement by the European Commission. Besides a fine of 497 million euros, the concern was forced to publish the specification of its software to other providers to enable them to customise their products for better support of the Microsoft operating system. Samba service provider SerNet is basing its claim for disclosure of the specification by January 15 2008 on the judgement with the aim of improving Samba interoperability with Windows. The deadline set by SerNet is oriented on the 120 days which Microsoft was granted for compliance by the court.

Samba is free software that makes the Server Message Block protocol available to Linux and Unix systems giving them the ability to emulate the functionality of a Windows server. Right now, the Samba team is working on software that will improve the interoperability of Samba servers with Windows servers and Active Directory. A subproject dubbed “samba4AD” is aiming to develop an Active Directory Server on Samba for which the MS protocol specifications are be required.

SerNet is one of the major players in the international Samba project and thus assumed the role of spokesperson: "In this coherence it is important to be able to develop the Samba under GPL Version 3." says Loxen. He does not consider the licensing offered by Microsoft (MCPP and WSPP) to be practicable for the Open Source project. Besides that it would not be compatible with the GPL v3, according to Loxen.

Microsoft has publically distanced itself from GPL v3 and declared the policies and procedures to be invalid as a precaution. In contrast to this, the Samba team moved to the new GPL license shortly after its introduction and, at the same time, condemned the patent agreements between Microsoft and several Linux distributors. Due to this, the SerNet CEO does not expect a solution in near future: "If Microsoft offers a license contract that is incompatible with the GPL v3, the specifications would not help us at all." said Loxen in an interview with Linux Magazine online.

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