Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Free Software Foundation blasts M$

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS

Microsoft's proposals to settle its dispute with the EU is a threat to Samba, according to the European arm of the Free Software Foundation. The company has, so far, refused to allow its interoperability information to be used to create Open Source software.

Earlier this week Microsoft revealed that it had written to the European Commission with what Steve Ballmer called 'serious concessions' in order to settle the dispute which arose following the March 2004 antitrust ruling by the European Commission.

As part of the remedy, Microsoft was ordered to reveal some of its interoperability code to allow rival server software to work with desktop Windows. However, since the ruling, Microsoft has tried to limit the extent to which it is forced to reveal what it considers to be its intellectual property.

While now agreeing that most third-party software which derives from the interoperability protocols should be 'fairly licenced' and available world wide, Microsoft has balked at liberalising the licence to the extent it would be compatible with Open Source.

Redmond argues that any Open Source software based on Microsoft protocols would be published and by definition enter the public domain, thus bypassing any other royalty agreement that Microsoft might try to impose on third parties licensing directly.

Georg Greve, president of Free Software Foundation Europe, berates the European Union for agreeing to the argument and says that it is merely a way for Microsoft to drag its feet still further.

'By accepting the notion that some protocols may be considered innovation, the European Commission opened a Pandora's box of legal house-to-house fighting,' according to Greve. 'Microsoft will declare all the protocols as innovative and will defend them for as long as they can. Its would-be competitors and the Commission on the other hand will never be able to compete with Microsoft's army of several hundred lawyers.'

Despite Greve's attacks, the Commissioners have not yet fully accepted Microsoft's offer. Instead, the EU says it wishes to 'market test' the proposals to the industry to measure general acceptance before agreeing to them. Nevertheless, the FSFE feels that the voice of the Open Source community may not be heard.

Greve also suspects that there is another commercial motive behind Microsoft making an exception of Open Source.

'The proposal specifically precludes the information from being used in a Free Software implementation, such as the Samba workgroup server software,' Greve said. 'As Samba is the only remaining major competitor of Microsoft in this market, the Microsoft proposal translates to: Of course we will give you the specifications - unless you happen to be a serious competitor of ours, that is.'

Steve Malone.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Linux Graphics

  • The RADV Radeon Vulkan Linux Driver Continues Picking Up Features
  • OpenChrome Maintainer Making Some Progress On VIA DRM Driver
    Independent developer Kevin Brace took over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver earlier this year to improve the open-source VIA Linux graphics support while over the summer he's slowly been getting up to speed on development of the OpenChrome DRM driver. The OpenChrome DRM driver was making progress while James Simmons was developing it a few years back, but since he left the project, it's been left to bit rot. It will take a lot of work even to get this previously "good" code back to working on the latest Linux 4.x mainline kernels given how DRM core interfaces have evolved in recent times.
  • My talk about Mainline Explicit Fencing at XDC 2016!
    Last week I was at XDC in Helsinki where I presented about the Explicit Fencing work we’ve been doing on the Mainline Linux Kernel in the lastest few months. There was a livestream of all presentations during the conference and recorded sections are available. You can check the video of my presentation. Check out the slides too.

Linux Kernel News

  • Linux 4.8 gets rc8
    Chill, penguin-fanciers: Linux lord Linus Torvalds is sitting on the egg that is Linux 4.8 for another week. As Torvalds indicated last week, this version of the kernel still needs work and therefore earned itself an eighth release candidate.
  • Linux 4.8-rc8 Released: Linux 4.8 Next Weekend
  • Linux Kernel 4.7.5 Released with Numerous ARM and Networking Improvements
    The fifth maintenance update to the Linux 4.7 kernel series, which is currently the most advanced, secure and stable kernel branch you can get for your GNU/Linux operating system, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman. Linux kernel 4.7.5 is here only ten days after the release of the previous maintenance version, namely Linux kernel 4.7.4, and it's a big update that changes a total of 213 files, with 1774 insertions and 971 deletions, which tells us that the kernel developers and hackers had a pretty busy week patching all sorts of bugs and security issues, as well as to add various, much-needed improvements.
  • Blockchain Summit Day Two: End-Of-Conference Highlights From Shanghai
    Financial services firms and startups looking to be the bridge to blockchain ledgers continued to dominate presentations on the second and final day of the Blockchain Summit, ending International Blockchain Week in Shanghai that also saw Devcon2 and a startup demo competition.
  • Testing Various HDDs & SSDs On Ubuntu With The Linux 4.8 Kernel
    Here are some fresh benchmarks of various solid-state drives (SATA 3.0 SSDs plus two NVMe M.2 SSDs) as well as two HDDs for getting a fresh look at how they are performing using the Linux 4.8 Git kernel. After publishing Friday's Intel 600P Series NVME SSD tests of this lower-cost NVM Express storage line-up, I continued testing a few other SSDs and HDDs. These additional reference points are available for your viewing pleasure today. The additional data is also going to be used for reference in a Linux 4.8-based BCache SSD+HDD comparison being published next week. Stay tuned for those fresh BCache numbers.

Behind the GNOME 3.22 Release Video

This is less than usual. The time saving mostly stems from spending less time recording for the release video. At first thought you might think recording would be a breeze but it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of making the videos. Each cycle the GNOME community lands improvement a wide set of GNOME’s applications. So before each release I have to find some way to run a dozen of applications from master. I do this either by: Read more