Microsoft Strikes Open Source Deal With Samba

protocol Windows workgroup server open source software

The agreement is seen as a victory for open source developers and Samba, which connects Linux/Unix servers and Windows machines for network file sharing and printer networking. The agreement will make Samba's efforts at interoperability easier, as they now have a better idea of how things operate on the Windows side.

The deal comes in the wake of European Commission antitrust lawsuit, which compels Microsoft to share some of its code.

The agreement, for which the PFIF will pay a one-time fee of 10,000 euros, allows developers of open source software, like Samba, to write software compatible and interoperable with Windows. The PFIF is part of the Software Freedom Law Center. Part of the deal includes a non-disclosure agreement, which allows developers to write applications based on the code but not share that code.

"The way it works is that free software developers can become subcontractors to the PFIF," said Samba creator Andrew Tridgell, in a statement. After becoming a PFIF subcontractor, he said, access to the documentation is opened. "Now that the PFIF has entered into the agreement, the next step is for interested free software developers to approach the PFIF to ask to become subcontractors, so they can get access to the documentation."

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Sam Ramji, director of Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab, wrote in a blog post following the agreement that it was a "historic moment" and congratulated Tridgell and Samba developer Jeremy Allison for their hard work. "I expect that this will significantly improve the process of Samba development," he wrote. "What this process has shown me is that if we focus on technology, and patient, diligent execution, we can make real progress together."