26 January 2006

I Don't Want to Say "I Told You So"...

...but I told you so.

In an act of generosity unparalleled in the history of the universe or something, Microsoft has graciously decided to go "far beyond the European Commission’s March 2004 decision and its legal obligations to provide companies with the technical specifications of its proprietary communications protocols."

Except, of course, that open source projects need not apply - if I've understood the legalese correctly (for example, see section 2.4 of the Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program License Agreement). Which means that Microsoft has graciously given very little, since the only serious competitor that it has in this area is Samba, which uses the GPL - forbidden by Microsoft's terms.

(Parenthetically, the first beta of Samba 4 has been released and it's important: it comes with support for the Active Directory logon protocols used by Windows 2000 and above. This is heavyweight stuff, and means that once again, open source software is close to offering all the capabilities of Microsoft's software, but for free.)

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