Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tech: Microsoft Forced by EU to Release Filesharing Code

A positive development for interoperability:
Open-source software project Samba has signed an agreement with Microsoft to receive protocol documentation for the software giant's Windows workgroup server products.

The deal will enable the organisation to build software that will interoperate with those products.

The non-disclosure agreement was brokered on behalf of Samba by the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF), an organisation that seeks to facilitate the exchange of free and open-source software information. PFIF, which is paying a one-off fee of €10,000 (£7,240) for the documentation, is part of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Samba's software, used for sharing files over a network and controlling networked printers, is designed to facilitate interoperability between Linux/Unix servers and Windows-based clients.

Andrew Tridgell, creator of Samba, said in a statement: "We are very pleased to be able to get access to the technical information necessary to continue to develop Samba as a free software project."

Samba expects that the agreement will allow the project to add features including full support for Microsoft's Active Directory, encrypted files, a better search interface and support for "SMB2", a new version of Microsoft's Server Message Block protocol from which the Samba project took its name. SMB2 is built into Windows Server 2008.