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11.04.11

Microsoft Wants to Dance With Samba

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Samba at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samba balls

Summary: How and why Microsoft is ‘embracing’ Samba

“O

n 10 October 2011,” writes The H, “a Microsoft developer contributed a GPL licensed patch to the Samba project. The patch, which was part of a proof of concept for extended protection for NTLM and presented by Stephen A. Zarko of Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center, has now been noted as the passing of a milestone by Chris Hertel of the Samba team. Samba provides tools and servers which enable interoperability with Windows’ SMB and CIFS networking on Linux and Unix based systems.”

The reactions to this move were mixed. Proponents of the monopolist (who advertise with Microsoft) make it look wonderful (identical headline from SJVN), but members of Techrights are a lot more cautious.

“I’m not sure what the real role of the Microsoft team working with Samba is,” noted one person, “but the developers should not lose sight of the whole picture that is Microsoft. Just because one small department is helpful for one group, for right now does not mean that the greater threat has diminished or gone away. In some ways it the threat is greater because it gets the Samba team and others to let their guard down.

“It’s not unlike a vendor buying them a meal or beer for them, or providing swag. It’s not done for their benefit.

“This is a little more advanced than simply buying someone off with swag or free beer, but it’s the same principle. One rogue department doesn’t set policy for the whole beast.”

Microsoft also gave code to Mono (MS-PL-licensed). At the same time Microsoft asserted that it can sue over it.

“It’s working,” noted one of us. “One problem with Allison’s statement is that he is blind to how Microsoft makes its money. It does not make it’s money from Windows and Office, that’s just a tiny fraction of the money. The big money comes from the monopoly rents on both products.

“Microsoft was trying to leverage that monopoly to get into the server room when Samba took on M$ and defeated it in court. Microsoft is still going to protect its core money-makers, the two monopolies even if Samba does now get thrown a bone.”

Microsoft has already got its former employees from Likewise paying Microsoft for patents on Samba-like functionality (with Samba code). This is not good.

Sam Varghese points out that “Samba is one of the free software projects that has moved in toto to the GPL version 3.” Muktware’s take is that: “As Linux is gaining popularity Microsoft seems to have increased its contribution to ensure their products will work well with Linux. The recent patch submission to the Linux kernel was an indicator.”

What do readers think?

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21 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Gravatar

    Linus Torvalds

    I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out.
    There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘free software’ any more. I don’t want to be associated with the people for whom it’s about exclusion and hatred."

    Linus Torvalds

    I agree that it’s driven by selfish reasons, but that’s how all open source code gets written! We all "scratch our own itches". It’s why I started Linux, it’s why I started git, and it’s why I am still involved. It’s the reason for everybody to end up in open source, to some degree.
    So complaining about the fact that Microsoft picked a selfish area to work on is just silly. Of course they picked an area that helps them. That’s the point of open source – the ability to make the code better for your particular needs, whoever the ‘your’ in question happens to be.
    Does anybody complain when hardware companies write drivers for the hardware they produce? No. That would be crazy. Does anybody complain when IBM funds all the POWER development, and works on enterprise features because they sell into the enterprise? No. That would be insane.
    So the people who complain about Microsoft writing drivers for their own virtualization model should take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves why they are being so hypocritical.

    Roy should paste these quotes on his bathroom mirror and read them every morning.

  2. twitter said,

    November 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Linus should read the things Microsoft people tell each other before he condemns people who regard Microsoft with suspicion. Suspicion of known criminals is not exclusion or hatred in the normal sense, it is reasonable self defense. Microsoft is welcome to use GPL’d code under it’s terms. I used to think contributions to a project under those terms would be welcome too but after reading enough of Microsoft’s email, I think it’s a mistake. Microsoft should not be allowed to set policy or direction. The company will steer you towards self defeating complexity because they hate and want to destroy everyone who’s not Microsoft. Accepting code gives Microsoft PR power and is almost always a bad idea, even when everything else looks OK. Microsoft has told us all we need to know about this and the Samba people should take them at their word.

    In this document, we see that Microsoft only gives to gain power,

    The source of power is the ability to control the distribution of valuable resources, because there’s this fundamental concept of psychology and sociology that’s called reciprocity. When I do something for you, you’re supposed to do something for me. It’s a fundamental characteristic of human nature. … never work with someone who has failed to return a favor. Be sure to screw him as hard as you can as soon as you can, and then make sure that they understand what happened, and then you clear things and can go forward.

    Help people as much as you can, because then they owe you a favor. … You can create your own resources. Information is the ultimate resource, and that’s what Microsoft has in abundance. We have specifications, betas. Early access to betas are, like, worth their weight in gold. If you give Company A the beta, but his competitor, Company B, doesn’t have it, Company B is at a competitive disadvantage.

    So, in what Microsoft has done in it’s own terms is to create a valuable resource by keeping a secret in order to exert power over others. If the people at Samba do not do as they are told in return for this perceived favor, Microsoft will screw them as hard as they can as soon as they can.

    People in the free software community consider this lack of cooperation and exercise of power to be the chief evil of non free software. The last time Microsoft screwed Samba, they were convicted of anti-trust in the EU and forced to cooperate. It would be better to ignore Microsoft than to give them this power.

    From another training document, “Evangelism is War,” we know that Microsoft’s goal is always the complete destruction of the perceived competitor.

    In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency … Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time. … final victory is reached only when the competing technology’s development team is disbanded, its offices reassigned, its marketing people promoted, etc. You have truly and finally won, when they come to interview for work at Microsoft.

    Anyone who’s thinking about working with Microsoft should understand the company from this perspective. They hate you and anyone who uses your tech. It’s their job to ruin you.

    The lawsuits and continuing Slog against Google, IBM, Android and all free software is evidence that nothing has changed in the decade since the documents above were written. Further evidence that the company is just as evil as ever comes from a former Silverlight developer. Microsoft’s documents and actions are entirely consistent. It’s not normal business, it’s a criminal enterprise and no individual working for the company is free to do anything but follow the company’s psychotic managers or quit.

    Michael Reply:

    Neither Linus nor I are suggesting to not be suspicious of MS (or Apple)… but the out and out hatred and paranoia seen in Roy and many others in COLA (and comments here) is a sickness. Clearly. It is irrational and unhealthy.

    For example, you talk about “in this document” and them point to a page on Roy’s site. Ok, maybe one of the links there points to the original material… but not that I saw. I strongly doubt MS is posting to techrights! But this is what you pointed to as “evidence” against Microsoft. Madness.

    But let us say, even though we have *no* evidence, that someone tied to Microsoft said what you attribute to them. Now you attribute this thinking to *all* Microsoft employees? Anyone who has worked with them? Who?

    It would be like saying anyone who has worked with Stallman or endorses the FSF shares his views about wanting to relabel porn as “educational material” and allowing it to be completely uncensored in schools. That would be just as crazy.

    Noting how such thoughts are irrational is *honest*. It is not a form of support for Microsoft or anyone else.

  3. saulgoode said,

    November 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Gravatar

    For example, you talk about “in this document” and them point to a page on Roy’s site. Ok, maybe one of the links there points to the original material… but not that I saw.

    The very first external link of that article points to the original material (well, not the “original”, nothing on the Internet is but a digital copy of something else). The original material was a transcript of a tape recording from the DRG Summit-January 16, 1996 entitled “Power Evangelism and Relationship Evangelism” presented by Microsoft employees James Plamondon and Marshall Goldberg. Said transcript was accepted as evidence and entered into the public record as Exhibit PX2456 in Iowa District Court Case No. CL 82311.

    Though you didn’t question it directly, twitter’s second citation stems from Exhibit PX3096 of that same trial. Both documents were “originally” published on http://www.iowaconsumercase.org but were taken down after the case was closed. Nonetheless, archival copies are still available not only from Techrights, but groklaw.net, iowa.gotthefacts.org and elsewhere on the Web.

    But let us say, even though we have *no* evidence, that someone tied to Microsoft said what you attribute to them. Now you attribute this thinking to *all* Microsoft employees? Anyone who has worked with them? Who?

    How about the employee who describes his role in the company as: “For eight years (1992-2000), I was the driving force behind Microsoft’s effort to make its Technology Evangelism (TE) efforts more efficient, effective, and ruthless,“?

    saulgoode Reply:

    The final link in my post should have been to the archived version of the webpage (the original page is no longer available).

    saulgoode Reply:

    Apparently the Techrights commenting system can’t handle oddly-formed URLs such as result from links to archive.org caches. You will have to look up the archive version yourself to view the remainder of Mr Plamondon’s catharsis.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I made a complete copy of his blog after I had heard that MS Spaces would shut down. It’s a dead Microsoft product.

    Michael Reply:

    Fair enough with the documents… but, again, you even admit he was there up until 2000. Over a decade ago. And he is one person. He is not Microsoft.

    As far as Roy copying things, he is not a reliable source of anything.

    twitter Reply:

    The pdf’s Roy hosts can be verified by anyone by looking at other sites that host the same material on the web from the Internet Archive web cache. The Techrights community transcribed those image based documents by hand so that search engines could index them. Techrights would be happy for anyone to point out transcription errors.

    The person who presented the material was an official trainer and supervisor. His classes were mandatory for Microsoft’s army of “Evangelists.” The nasty behavior promoted by Microsoft has been observed repeatedly. The most recent outburst observed is the former Silverlight developer. If anything, the Silverlight idiot shows that things have gotten worse, not better over the decade.

    Finally, it is not necessary to attribute this horrible attitude to every Microsoft employee to show that Microsoft is an irredeemably evil company that should be avoided. We only have to show that Microsoft management is this way and the above documents show this without a doubt. Your very presence here, Michael, is good evidence that nothing has changed at Microsoft. Day in and day out you spam comments here with dishonesty and insults to promote Microsoft talking points.

    Michael Reply:

    FUD:

    Your very presence here, Michael, is good evidence that nothing has changed at Microsoft. Day in and day out you spam comments here with dishonesty and insults to promote Microsoft talking points.

    The fact you think I have ties to Microsoft proves your paranoia… given how I am sitting here at my Macintosh and, if anything, generally prefer Apple products over MS products.

    But even then, I openly admit to Apple’s weaknesses. I do not demonize those who compete with Apple the way Roy demonizes anyone who competes with Linux / OSS.

    Oh, and if you really thought I was dishonest you would quote the “lies” and explain why my comments are wrong. The fact is I point out many, many example of where Roy is inaccurate, dishonest, and unwilling to respond to any facts he cannot deal with. Want me to list some examples? Happy to do so – and then we can see how Roy has no honest response.

  4. Dr. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 9, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Gravatar

    “It could be argued that Microsoft’s unethical Technology Evangelism (TE) practices are “old news”—i.e., that Microsoft stopped using these questionable TE practices long ago. This is very unlikely to be the case, for at least three reasons.” — James Plamondon

    http://scripting.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/scripting-news-for-192007/#comment-34530
    “The point being that Microsoft recognized that my presentations on evangelism theory, strategy, and tactics — of which only one has been entered into the public record, the others still being massively confidential — were, in fact, the best embodiment of Microsoft’s evangelism “policy” that existed at the time.”

    He said that on other occasions, insisting that even Gates approved what he was doing.

    Please don’t feed the trolls.

    Michael Reply:

    Sad that you see Linus Torvalds as a “troll” to the open source world. Read his quotes, above. Microsoft hatred is a disease… and you are a very, very sick man.

    This does not mean one should embrace Microsoft. But keep your criticisms honest and supportable… and Roy, if you want to show you are not extremely biased, you can note the absurdity of twitter’s claim that I have ties to Microsoft. Utterly absurd. Hey, maybe you can just admit there is no support for the claim.

    You can do that, right? Show your lack of support for the paranoid claims about Microsoft… wait. No, you will never do that.

    Yeah, Microsoft hatred is a disease.

    Mikko Reply:

    Linux hatered is a desease!

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You are feeding a troll who says I “see Linus Torvalds as a “troll” to the open source world” when in fact I sometimes correspond with Torvalds. By feeding the trolls you only encourage them to make more false claims.

    Michael Reply:

    Linux hatred is a desease!”

    I would agree – but does anyone you know of suffer from that disease? Or are you including anyone who competes with it?

    If you mean to imply me – I certainly do not hate Linux. To the contrary, I advocate its use.

    Michael Reply:

    I noted I agree with Linus Torvalds that “Microsoft hatred is a disease” and this lead to you saying I am a “troll”. Hence, agreeing with Linus makes one a “troll” in your book.

    I know, I know… it does not work that way in your double-standard world. And the real reason you call me a “troll” is not because I agree with Linus but because I had the audacity to point out your incorrect claims. How dare I!

  5. Mikko said,

    November 9, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Gravatar

    @Michael

    They have macs at Microsoft

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some Microsoft sites are powered by Linux. The matter of fact is, even Microsoft knows its platforms are inferior.

    Michael Reply:

    And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the best evidence yet to support twitter’s accusations.

    LOL! Notice how Roy refused to admit twitter has nothing to back his claim.

    Mikko Reply:

    Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_Business_Unit

    Michael Reply:

    Yup. So?

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