Microsoft prohibits GPLed work via licensing of CIFS standards

Alex Hudson home at
Sat Apr 6 07:17:38 UTC 2002

On Sat, 2002-04-06 at 00:19, MJ Ray wrote:
> Alexandre Dulaunoy <adulau-conos at> wrote:
> > Microsoft prohibits GPLed work via licensing of CIFS standards
> Can someone tell me whether we should expect this tactic against any Free
> Software .net implementations?  Thanks, MJR.

This has been discussed before. By participating in the ECMA
standardisation process (for part of the CLR) Microsoft are forced to
disclose any patents that are key for the operation of the system that
they are not willing to licence. So, if they do have patents, they will
either be RAND or not critical for the operation of the CLR (i.e.,
run-time compiler optimizations is a likely subject). 

Passport is probably the subject of patents, although I've never seen
any mention of patents which might be applicable. We already know of the
first two CIFS patents, and there are probably other patents which apply
to CIFS/SMB - security facilities are often another easy target.

I would expect that Mono will be pretty safe from patent disputes. Their
problem is possible copyright infringement from people who've interacted
with Rotor and the Microsoft implementation of mscorlib.dll. Everything
else they are doing is pretty run-of-the-mill.

dotGnu probably has worse problems, given the larger scope of the
project. Rotor, etc., also poses them a problem, but I would expect that
some of the stuff they intend to do will infringe some patent or other
(especially the crypto/identity stuff). 

I would love to see Microsoft attempt to enforce its CIFS patents. From
the look of them, they don't look especially strong, and there are
strong interests that want to see SMB/CIFS stay unencumbered (Sun spring
to mind..). Sadly it looks like they will be used more as barriers for
independent developers - lines in the sand they dare not cross.



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