eWeek's Steven Vaughan-Nichols has written an alarming report regarding Microsoft's publication of a Royalty-Free Protocol License Agreement. The agreement starts off by saying "If You want a license from Microsoft to implement one or more Protocol(s) (as defined below), You must (1) complete the designated information in the box below, (2) check one or more boxes on Exhibit A, and (3) sign and return this Agreement AS IS to Microsoft." The agreement goes on to define the sort of protocol implementation it covers as server-side software (ie: applications, operating systems) that interoperates with Windows clients over one of the protocols found in Exhibit A.
So what's the rub? Well, Exhibit A for starters. It's a list of more than 130 protocols that reads like a who's who of how every computer network