Patents, copyright and encryption (oh my!)

paraphernalia at paraphernalia at
Tue Aug 7 16:24:00 UTC 2001

Following last week's conversation of the 'European DMCA' in all its glory, I 
was darkly amused by this news article:,4586,2801560,00.html?chkpt=zdnnp1tp02

in which the (unsurprising) revelation is made by Jeremy Allison of the Samba 
development team that Microsoft have strategically patented parts of the .Net 
technology. Apparently this came to light when whilst discussing the Server 
Message Block's password changing scheme with 'a Microsoft representative', the 
said representative added, "You know we have a patent on this, don't you?"

So Windows' file transfer protocol as seen in .Net includes these patented 
encryption procedures for changing user passwords, which is, to quote the 
article, "a potential dependancy for all developers who have to mimic the 
Windows file system and seek to interoperate with it." 

I think I'll let Allison have the last word with his comment on keeping Samba 
in step with Microsoft's changing architecture: "[it] is a constant treadmill. 
If they think Microsoft is going to play fair, they're insane."

One funny thing about the world of IT is that any nightmare you're likely to 
come up with isn't just plausible but in fact already happened, at least if you 
find ZDnet reliable. 


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