Reactions to Microsoft EU ruling

By Derek Sooman on December 23, 2004, 7:08 PM
Industry analysts have been busy since the EU Microsoft case announcement yesterday, and have been trying to work out both what Microsoft will do next, and what effect that will have. One noteworthy opinion is that the order to Microsoft to release details of their secret server communications protocols to competitors is perhaps much more damaging than the removal of Media Player.

"It seems like the revelation of client-server communications protocols is of more immediate importance than the removal of the Media Player. That could pave the way for open-source competitors to create software that more effectively mimics the functions of a Windows Domain Controller." - Matt Rosoff, a lead analyst with Directions on Microsoft.

Samba, for example, provides a means for Linux machines to behave as if they are Windows file sharing servers. The disclosure of the server communication protocols may make it possible for Samba to be engineered to be better at performing those sorts of tasks than Windows itself is. However, if Microsoft simply makes these new protocols available under the same licensing terms that it currently offers, many competitors will be unable and unwilling to license them.

"The protocols that were discussed in the court as being 'too valuable to expose' were the Active Directory (AD) replication protocols—allowing third-party directory servers, such as Novell eDirectory and OpenLDAP, to participate in the multi-master replication process. [But if Microsoft is] allowed to set up something identical to the MCPP program in the US, the remedy will be completely ineffective, just as it is in the US." - Jeremy Allison, a Samba developer.

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