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12.15.12

Denying Microsoft the Ability to Spin Compliance on Samba as Goodwill

Posted in Microsoft, Samba at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jeremy Allison

Summary: Despite Microsoft’s ongoing abuses, a media attempt to rewrite history emerges

THE anticompetitive nature of Microsoft persists with UEFI, a deterrence against Linux and GNU GRUB. Mr. Varghese shows that UEFI is effective at that. It secures Microsoft’s common carrier from competition. Or in his own words:

It’s early days for secure boot, the new method that Microsoft is using to protect its desktop turf, but it would not be unfair to say that the company has succeeded in showing up the sharply fragmented nature of GNU/Linux.

Secure boot is a feature in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, the replacement for the motherboard firmware or BIOS. It has been implemented by Microsoft in a manner that effectively prevents easy booting of other operating systems on machines which have secure boot enabled.

This ‘side effect’ is not an afterthought. Microsoft uses it to suppress Linux with the convenient excuse of ‘security’. Yes, offence is spun as necessity. Likewise, Microsoft spins its legal obligation as goodwill as it strives to rewrite Samba history.

Sean Michael Kerner recalls what Microsoft told him. It’s patent FUD:

Why is this so shocking? Well for one – it wasn’t that long ago (six years ago for me), when Microsoft execs weren’t all that thrilled with Samba. In April of 2006, I published an interview with Bill Hilf who at the time was the General Manager for Microsoft Platform strategy. This is what he told me in 2006:

“With Samba I’m really familiar with that technology and I’d say that a lot of what they do under the guise of interoperability is clone ability. I wouldn’t say it’s a great relationship but we have a working relationship. They ask things of us and we say, “That’s our IP.” And they say you should do it because all software should be free. ”

Now in 2012 after ten years of effort, Samba 4 is here thanks in part to Microsoft’s help. The Samba Team also thanks Microsoft for interoperability testing that Microsoft engineers helped with.

Times do change.

No, what changed since then is that multi-billion-dollar fines forced Microsoft to act differently in the practical sense. The pretence, or the act, is just a smart PR decision for them. By “IP” they meant patents and unsurprisingly Samba denounced Novell for a patent deal which the EU Commission found harmful to its case.

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