[FSFE PR][EN] Samba and FSFE: "Microsoft - obstacle to innovation in the digital society!"

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Apr 27 10:58:03 CEST 2006

"Businesses and public authorities have to pay prices that are kept high
by Microsoft's refusal to share interoperability information with its
competitors, as is common practice in the industry," explains Andrew
Tridgell, president and founder of the Samba Team in his presentation on
behalf of Free Software Foundation Europe in European Court today.
Yesterday, Microsoft stated that it had spent 35 thousand person-hours
on documenting that kind of information - and essentially failed.

Tridgell continues "Microsoft keeps claiming that it was asked to show
its source code to competitors, which is absurd. We are exclusively
interested in industry-standard interoperability information, such as
Interface Definition Language (IDL) files commonly used for these kind
of protocols. By our reverse-engineering, we were able to conclude that
the total Active Directory description would amount to roughly 30.000
lines, of which the admittedly best experts of the Samba Team were able
to reverse-engineer 13.000 over the course of six years. These IDL files
easily fit on a single floppy disk and would go a long way towards
providing the interoperability information requested." 

"If Microsoft had shared that information when the Commission first
requested it, customers could already find small embedded devices in
stores for around 100 EUR that could offer the Active Directory
functionality implemented in Samba - Microsoft's implementation of these
protocols has hardware requirements ten times bigger. Think of a small
box the size of a router, compared to an entire PC," Carlo Piana, FSFE'S
lawyer on the case continues.

"The prevention of competition by Microsoft to leverage their desktop
monopoly into other areas imposes a stark price on all professional
computer users. Are we really to believe that Microsoft has no idea what
is running on 90% of the computers around this planet so they have to
call in their retired engineers to explain to them the working of
Windows XP?" Georg Greve, president of FSFE summarises. "Enough is
enough. Microsoft should stop playing games with the Commission and the
Court and leave the field of innovation of obstacles to competition and
freedom of choice!"

About the Free Software Foundation Europe

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSF Europe) is a charitable
non-governmental organisation dedicated to all aspects of Free
Software in Europe. Access to software determines who may participate
in a digital society. Therefore the freedoms to use, copy, modify and
redistribute software - as described in the Free Software definition -
allow equal participation in the information age.  Creating awareness
of these issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and
giving people freedom by supporting development of Free Software are
central issues of the FSF Europe, which was founded in 2001 as the
European sister organisation of the Free Software Foundation in the
United States.


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