EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.29.07

The Samba Project Still Affected by the Novell/Microsoft Deal

Posted in Europe, Google, Interoperability, Law, Novell, Patents, Protocol, Red Hat, Samba, Servers at 10:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several Samba developers have left Novell in protest. Most recently is was Günther Deschner, a Samba developer who has recently decided to leave Novell and join Red Hat. What sounded inaccurate at first seems to gradually become a reality. This latest departure follows Jeremy Allison’s departure, which we covered back in December. He later joined Google where he is seemingly happy and productive as he continues to write some ZDNet columns while carrying on with the Samba newsletter (and also coding, of course).

As observers, one of the main concerns is the implicit (and sometimes explicit) mentioning of patent infringements in Samba, without disclosure of specifics. It is natural to imagine that the developers’ stance on this issue is sometimes filled with and fuelled by anger. Does anyone, other than the mis- and less informed customers, actually perceive these allegations as legitimate? To make matters worse, what happens when people are driven into fear by marketing people, who use this as a weapon (or conversely — a selling point)?

Several developers in the GNU/Linux community have compared the effect of the Microsoft/Novell deal to that of SCO’s lawsuits. Some believe the situation could even escalate to action in court. In response to this, several community initiatives were born, including ShowUsTheCode. Does anybody believe that action in court would be more damaging than a state of so-called ‘cold war’ which leads to fear, uncertainty, and doubt? SCO, after all, has lost its venom after many of its claims got dropped and discarded. Sometimes the unknown, just like darkness, has a stronger impact. It later turned out that SCO ‘stole’ Linux code, just like Microsoft ‘stole’ BSD code.

In a fairly recent interview with LinuxWorld, Jeremy Allison said he had been informed of clients/user who hand over ‘protection money’. Large companies that use Linux may be approached by Microsoft and asked to pay for the use of software such as Samba. Has any of our readers had any experience with such incidents? As it verges the litigious boundaries of extortion (with legal implications), have you heard of or seen anything? What would your advice be to companies who find themselves in this position?

SMB2 is said to be bringing new challenges, which a gradual uptake of Windows Vista will inevitably lead to. Have a look at this:

The Microsoft Zombie Army will force Samba out of the Enterprise

Vista is to ship with a new version of SMB, called SMB2. At minute 40 in this FLOSS Weekly podcast, Jeremy Allison of Samba talks of behavior that will flood the network with 1500 packets just to do a network file delete. This will turn Vista computers into a DOS (Denial of Service) attack upon Samba based computers on the network.

[...]

‘In the section of the interview from around 33m30s to 39m00 Jeremy Allison reports how he was told that the Microsoft team implementing SMB2 were ordered to “f**k with Samba”.’

Does anyone believe that interoperability efforts were deliberately being sabotaged or curtailed in the past? Will Novell be able to address the issue of frequently-changing, out-of-date, or hidden APIs? Is complete documentation being delivered, as recently promised owing to the 2004 European ruling? At the moment, small businesses are barred access to the market. One delay just follows another while market saturation is being lost, which leads to monoculture (and yet another case of monopoly abuse). Europe is concerned about this and Novell makes it even harder to combat this abuse.

One of the things that are considered the most important next step for Samba (technical aspects of the project or otherwise) is the ability to mimic the rather dynamic Windows network protocols. Since these are not standardised (surely not in an open and free fashion), this leads to legal traps. Fortunately, Europe chose to describe the protocols in question as “too trivial to be patentable”. Therefore development continues and it looks rather encouraging.

Samba 3 preview release behaves more like Windows

[...]

The latest code changes and improvements to Samba 3.0.25 weren’t overly dramatic, said the project’s release manager, but the subtle changes do push things along toward a scheduled production release in early April.

What is worth mentioning is that some of these protocols are derivative of Open Source code (prior art springs to one’s mind), or at least equivalents with proprietary ‘extensions’. Some of these extensions brought more harm than good because — being closed — they arguably facilitated back doors, to be later accessed by the wrong people. These have led to damages that could be estimated at billions of dollars in damages.

We are yet to see how the Novell/Microsoft deal is going affect Microsoft’s legal battles in Europe. We have already witnessed some of its effects, but Novell has not been mentioned explicitly. More particularly, we are yet to see how issues which revolve around servers and communications get treated and addressed, and to what extent the deal plays a role. Surely, this so-called ‘interoperability’ deal did no good to Samba, which is all about interoperability.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Ian said,

    March 30, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Gravatar

    “Does anyone believe that interoperability efforts were deliberately being sabotaged or curtailed in the past? Will Novell be able to address the issue of frequently-changing, out-of-date, or hidden APIs?”

    I’m not a believer that Microsoft, from a technical standpoint, would purposely break things with SMB2 out of spite or because of some underhanded policy. This isn’t a defense for Microsoft, because they have been known to have shady business practices in the past; however I don’t think they would break compatibility to spite Linux rather because they don’t have to worry about Linux compatibility for the most part.

What Else is New


  1. Major Revelation: Microsoft Blackmail Against LAMP (GNU/Linux and Free Stacks for Servers) Goes At Least 16 Years Back, Predating the Novell Patent Deal

    (Techno-)Anthropological analyses of Microsoft's patent war on Free/libre software must take into account what Microsoft did to MySQL, a Swedish company at the time



  2. Links 4/4/2020: Sparky 5.11, Firefox 74.0.1, POCL 1.5

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, April 03, 2020



  4. Links 3/4/2020: Ubuntu Beta, GNOME 3.36.1, ExTiX LXQt Mini, NetBSD 8.2 Released

    Links for the day



  5. Digital Communication, Digitalisation and Videogaming Among the EPO's Latest Smokescreens for Illegal and Abstract Patents on Algorithms

    The EPO keeps liaising with the EU to promote patents which EU officials have themselves said were illegal; to make matters worse, the EPO's violations of its own laws inspire the United States to do the same



  6. Emotional Blackmail for Illegal Software Patents

    Semantic tactics the European Patent Office (EPO) uses to promote software patents in Europe and may theoretically use in the future (satire)



  7. Clear Linux is to GNU/Linux What Clearly Defined is to Open Source

    The idea that we need Intel to take GNU/Linux ‘mainstream’ is ludicrous; as OSDL co-founder (now succeeded in the flesh of the Corporate Linux Foundation), Intel is more about Linux (with DRM, “secure boot” and everything that lets it be remotely controlled) than about GNU and it’s not too keen on GPL (copyleft), either



  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 02, 2020



  9. Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

    Links for the day



  10. OIN in 2020 Resembles Linux Foundation in 2020 (Corporate Front Group Piggybacking the Linux Brand)

    We regret to say that the Open Invention Network seems not to care at all about Software Freedom; to make matters worse, it is a proponent of software patents and a voice for companies like IBM and Microsoft, not the "Community" it fancies misrepresenting



  11. Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) - Part IX: Semi-Happy Ending

    Richard Stallman is here to stay and the FSF will let him stay (as chief of GNU); we want to close the series on a positive note



  12. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 01, 2020



  13. Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

    Although we've failed to write as much as usual, we're still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)



  14. Links 2/4/2020: ProtonMail Bridge for Linux, GTK 3.98.2 and Red Hat DNF 4.2.21

    Links for the day



  15. Links 1/4/2020: Linux 5.7 Merges, Qt 5.14.2, GhostBSD 20.03, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Plans, WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 31, 2020



  17. Techrights to Delete Articles From All Past Years to Save Disk Space

    What if we deleted over 25,000 posts?



  18. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, March 30, 2020



  19. Links 30/3/2020: GNU Linux-libre 5.6, WireGuard 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 29, 2020



  21. Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

    Links for the day



  22. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  23. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  24. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  25. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  27. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  28. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  29. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  30. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts