Microsoft's EU proposal is monstrous, says Samba

Microsoft's EU proposal is monstrous, says Samba

Summary: 'Monstrous' royalties demanded under Microsoft's proposed server interoperability licence will discourage competition, says Samba's Jeremy Allison

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TOPICS: Apps
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The co-founder of Samba, the open source file and print server software, is due to contact the European Commission (EC) in the next couple of weeks to lobby for changes to Microsoft's proposed server interoperability licence. Speaking to ZDNet UK this week, Samba co-creator Jeremy Allison launched a damning attack on the proposed licence, calling the fees that would be demanded under it "monstrous".

Last week, a lawyer representing the Free Software Foundation said the licence that Microsoft proposed following last year's EU antitrust ruling is not compatible with open source software, as it requires royalty payments for every copy sold and stipulates that programs which are built using the licensed information are closed source.

Jeremy Allison, Samba co-creator, said on Thursday that the royalty payments required by the licence are so high that they are unlikely to encourage competition, even from commercial vendors, as many software companies will not be able to afford the fee unless they are creating a high-value product.

"The royalty payments are really high," said Allison. "They have been set as if you were creating a premium product such as a Windows 2000 Domain Controller, but imagine if you are just creating a small embedded system that only uses a small part of the Microsoft protocols. There is no flexibility in the monstrous fixed fee you must pay."

Microsoft has failed to provide a copy of the full licence agreement to ZDNet UK.

Without access to the protocol documentation via the licence, the Samba team will have to work harder to make the application interoperate with Microsoft server products, according to Allison.

"Access to the protocols would allow us to accelerate development and create a more level playing field," said Allison. "We'll get there in the end, but it will slow us down and make it harder to compete."

Maintaining interoperability is made more difficult by frequent changes that Microsoft makes to the protocols, said Allison. "They make changes to the protocol all the time," said Allison. "It is usually some new wrinkle placed on top of things we already have working."

The Commission's anti-trust ruling against Microsoft involved a fine of €497m, as well as asking the company to offer a version of Windows without its bundled media player and to allow rival server makers to use technical documentation to implement server protocols. Allison commented that the ruling would have been more effective if the EC had not fined Microsoft, but had instead forced it to make the server protocols freely available.

An EC spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

Topic: Apps

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16 comments
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  • If SAMBA or ZDNet tell us which parties in the EC and European Parliament to petition then we can start a letter wriitng campaign going. Letters will be better than email which could be seen as spam.
    anonymous
  • Perhaps someday clueless politicians and judges will learn how to deal with single minded companies like Microsoft.
    anonymous
  • I really hope the EU commission stops Microsoft from basically stealing from European businesses just to fund the pockets of its American shareholders!
    anonymous
  • The problem with Samba is that it is about 2.5 times faster than the MS implementation and that is simply too much for MS.
    anonymous
  • Thanks for your comments Thomas. In the interview Jeremy Allison said to me that political lobbying may not help as it is a legal rather than political issue.

    But, if you do want to try something it may be worth contacting either your local MEP or the Directorate General for Competition

    Ms Neelie Kroes is the Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy. You can contact her at:
    European Commission
    Directorate-General for Competition
    B-1049 Brussels

    Regards,

    Ingrid Marson
    anonymous
  • The EC spokesman did not comment, possbliy because he is still licking his wounds after freedom defeated them.

    But in any case, Microsoft was hoping the software patents would happen, so now he is enforcing patents on the EU as a last resort.

    Don't give in to corruption people!
    anonymous
  • Read more about Samba here:
    http://www.groklaw.net/
    article.php?story=
    20050205010415933
    anonymous
  • Well, I guess Microsoft was right all the time. The design and decisons around Microsoft protocols should be determined by a bunch of EU bureaucrats and not by MS developers. Why stop there? Why not have EU decide the next Mercedes design? Or even better, have them determine the design of Samba? You have to ask yourself in that case, do you feel lucky or oops, darn, eh, we only want MS to be handled, stay out of our own business, cause we're such good people? Not credible IMHO.
    anonymous
  • The critics of the EU - Microsoft agreement are correct, the agreement will stifle inovation.

    Why should SAMBA or any other Open Source Software project derive the benefits from developers of proprietary software without either indemnifying the original developer or providing financial reward ?

    Being forced to provide source code or protocol specifications to open source vendors is a disincentive to comercial software vendors from innovating their software.

    Why should SAMBA derive all the new features in SMB/CIFS (such as support for Kerberos authentication, Encrypting File System, Roaming Profiles, Distributed File System) without recompencing Microsoft ?

    The EU decision was stupid and politically motivated.
    anonymous
  • Breaking News Feb 8th, 2016: Microsoft Lobbys European Courts to Introduce "Breathing Microsoft Air" Royalties:

    Microsoft, having only in the last year diversified into Energy and Life Support Systems - MWP (Microsoft Water and Power), are, just days after re-launching a recently acquired brand of some distinction ( "MicroCoke" ), now introducing a new charge designed to bill users for breathing the especially pure air that is blown through the cooling fans on the companies' new line of MicroVidia and MicroBM machines - air recently proved by MS Scientists to have "rejuvenating properties".

    What will those crazy kids at Redmond think of next?
    anonymous
  • Quote:
    The critics of the EU - Microsoft agreement are correct, the agreement will stifle inovation.

    Why should SAMBA or any other Open Source Software project derive the benefits from developers of proprietary software without either indemnifying the original developer or providing financial reward ?

    Being forced to provide source code or protocol specifications to open source vendors is a disincentive to comercial software vendors from innovating their software.

    Why should SAMBA derive all the new features in SMB/CIFS (such as support for Kerberos authentication, Encrypting File System, Roaming Profiles, Distributed File System) without recompencing Microsoft ?

    The EU decision was stupid and politically motivated.
    ================
    :end quote


    SAMBA has not "derived" any "benefits" you MORON!!! The only people who have derived benefits are consumers like me because I don't have to pay $$$ to a pathetic company like MS to be able to share my files on the network with some Windows-using idiot.
    Are you saying microsoft is "innovative"? When was the last time Microsoft built an innovative product? Can you give me an example? Maybe when they built their first browser? Or maybe when they built their internet search engine? Or maybe when they came up with the mouse? Or maybe when they came up with the Office product?
    None of the examples above have started with Microsoft.
    After all this you can keep defending Microsoft but one day you would be paying your lunch money to Microsoft because the way Microsoft wants this world to work is that the click of the button "ORder now" on www.papajohns.com Ms will charge you $20.
    I have noticed that only people who have no good knowledge of the software industry and people who work with Microsoft products only tend to defend Microsoft's actions. You are just one of them.
    anonymous
  • Quote:

    The critics of the EU - Microsoft agreement are correct, the agreement will stifle inovation.

    Why should SAMBA or any other Open Source Software project derive the benefits from developers of proprietary software without either indemnifying the original developer or providing financial reward ?

    Being forced to provide source code or protocol specifications to open source vendors is a disincentive to comercial software vendors from innovating their software.

    Why should SAMBA derive all the new features in SMB/CIFS (such as support for Kerberos authentication, Encrypting File System, Roaming Profiles, Distributed File System) without recompencing Microsoft ?

    The EU decision was stupid and politically motivated.

    End quote.

    This all makes one huge assumption:

    Microsoft innovates.

    We hear stories about how Microsoft buys up companies left and right. Why not actually CREATE something for once? I mean, if they know their own software, they wouldn't NEED to buy out some antivirus software company.

    Oh, yeah, better still, how about PROPERLY ENGINEERING your products for a change so you wouldn't NEED to buy some antivirus software company (at their side) or antivirus software (for the end user side)?

    Sorry, pal, astroturfing gets you nowhere.
    anonymous
  • The EU's decision was bound to happen.

    You have two conflicting philosophies here. One is the Union or a mob rule of countries demanding more control of a company
    anonymous
  • The royalty fee game is used to drive companies out of business and the royaltORs can always "knock-off" what they sold to you. Do beware. ch
    anonymous
  • "Why should Microsoft...?"

    Because they are being punished for being a convicted monopolist.

    "You've been a bad boy. Go to your room."
    "But they don't have to go to their rooms!"
    "That's because they weren't bad."
    anonymous
  • Peter, Lan expert above, mentions that he loves Micro$oft's product and is happy to use it.

    Come on, who are you kidding? You're happy with Micro$oft's networking software? you would be one of a small and shrinking band of dedicated professionals who think that way. it is so flaky, so state dependent, and so (intentionally) difficult to link with anything else, that it simply beggars belief.

    in fact, the whole windows environment is so needlessly complex that it needs a certified engineer to operate...how useful is that?

    IMHO, you have never tried anything else because it came bundled with your intel server boxes. MS, the great monopoly game.
    anonymous