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Stephen McGibbon's Web Journal

An interoperability status update from the Samba project

An interesting post from the Samba Team’s Andrew Bartlett from which I will pull one or two excerpts to give a flavour but encourage you to read the original.

Andrew writes:-

Over the 2 weeks at the end of September 2008, I attended two
interoperability events in the US, one in Santa Clara and another on
Microsoft's campus in Redmond.

This has been an amazing year of changes for those of us with an
interest in interoperability with Microsoft, and these two events are an
excellent example of the change in practice.

and later

In September 2007 Microsoft lost it's appeal of the 2004 anti-trust
Decision by the European Commission. As as result, Microsoft was
required to make protocol documentation available to competitors. The
EU mandated a set of minimum terms (now known as the WSPP) that the
Samba Team (and others) would be able to access the documentation
under. By early 2008 the Free Software community gained access to this
documentation under NDA, and by May 2008 Microsoft made all their
protocol documentation public.

Nobody in the Free Software community expected this - it is only
natural to assume that a company as opposed to Free Software as
Microsoft would put in the bare minimum of resources into assisting
its competitors.

and later still

Microsoft has always seen their Active Directory server implementation
as the 'crown jewels', and have in the past fought extremely hard to
try to prevent them having to document the protocols in a way that
would allow for a competing implementation. Much of the anti-trust
trial in Europe centered on the need to document the AD protocols, so
the degree of effort they put into an AD plug fest event is a good
litmus test for their commitment to their pledge to support
interoperability.

Thanks for taking the time to write the report Andrew. It’s encouraging to read that you’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Update:

Peter Galli has written a post on Port 25. For those that missed the news, Peter joined Microsoft a few weeks back to work as the Open Source Community Manager. You can follow his Port25 posts here. As Peter noted in his first post,

The Microsoft of 2008 is nothing like the Microsoft of 2000, and will most likely look incredibly different by 2015. Driving the current wave of change is its focus on openness, interoperability, collaboration - with open source communities and others - cloud computing, and software plus services.

We shouldn't become complacent, and there is plenty more we can, and I'd say should, do but that notwithstanding, it's pleasing to see some of the changes registering positively. That's something I hope next week's announcements will further reinforce.