09.23.09

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Likewise: Microsoft Embraces and Extends Samba with Software Patents?

Posted in GPL, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Samba at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Likewise as Microsoft

Summary: A partly Microsoft-derived entity harms Samba by taking its work and making it more Microsoft obedient

A COUPLE of weeks ago we mentioned the company called Likewise because it had been conceived by Microsoft employees, at least in part. The name of the company is very appropriate because it’s centered around a me-too product that is more or less leeching Samba.

It was rather pleasing to see that someone in the press is finally willing to criticise this company, which is selling Samba for a price near Microsoft’s headquarters at Bellevue (there are software patents to be paid for, they would insist).

SMB (Server Message Block) is the network protocol glue that binds many file and print servers and clients for Windows and Linux, but it’s recently been running into some trouble. First, Microsoft’s proprietary take on it, SMB2, has real security problems. Next, Likewise has released a new open-source SMB/CIFS (Common Internet File System) file server software stack to share files among Linux, Mac, Unix and Windows computers, which, in the past, had been based on Samba, the popular open-source SMB server. Samba’s leadership is not happy with this.

[...]

Meanwhile, back at traditional SMB, which works just fine, Likewise recently released Likewise-CIFS and its commercial brother, Likewise Open 5.3, under the GPLv2. The company claims it is the only commercially supported CIFS/SMB file server for storage vendors and enterprises. Likewise-CIFS supports both SMB1 and SMB2.

So what’s the problem? As Krishna Ganugapat, VP of engineering at Likewise, said in a recent interview, “We came to realize that most successful open-source companies must be in a position where they control their own technology destiny.” Later, he said, “We now owned our own intellectual property; we held the copyright to all our source code.”

Listen to him extolling the virtues of intellectual monopoly. By his own admission, Ganugapat started his career in the Windows NT Development Group at Microsoft. That was in 1993.

It is worth adding that Likewise is close to Novell, as we showed many times before (Samba protested against Novell’s deal with Microsoft of course). Tony OBryan provides what he calls a “translation” of the article above:

The story deserves an executive summary:

“Microsoft writes new software, and the software sucks. A Microsoft-funded organization once again tries to kill a Microsoft competitor (Samba, therefore Linux).”

That’s the entire gist of the story.

To be more accurate, Microsoft is trying to kill free-of-charge Linux. Likewise’s products will be marketed as a “better Samba than Samba” and since Likewise is right on Microsoft’s doorstep, it may as well receive the assistance which is required (financial too).

People who support GNU/Linux and Free software should avoid Likewise and go with Samba instead.

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