by Peter Galli on October 24, 2008 05:03pm


Getting external feedback is always a good thing, and something that Microsoft has been trying to do a lot more of, particularly with regard to its focus on openness and interoperability with various open source communities.

So it was with great interest that I read the trip report for the CIFS Conference and AD Plugfest, by Andrew Bartlett of the Samba Team, which is a candid assessment of the great challenges, successes and frustrations that are part and parcel of such complex arrangements.

But all that has been achieved so far is in large measure due to the passion, commitment, dedication and tenacity of the Samba team, and their openness to working towards a shared goal. This is truly a great example of how Microsoft and those in the open source community can work productively together.

While there has been some skepticism that Microsoft's focus on interoperability is simply for compliance sake, the reality is that the work the company has been doing with Samba and others are concrete examples of our commitment to openness and to working with open source communities. 

So, the background to this is that, in late 2007, the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, a non-profit organization created by the Software Freedom Law Center and Microsoft, reached an agreement that allows Samba to create, use and distribute implementation of all the protocols that allow workgroup servers to connect with Windows.

Microsoft has made protocol documentation for the Windows protocol programs available online and for download from MSDN, and developers are not required to execute a license or pay a royalty or other fee to have full access to this documentation.

As actions really do speak louder than words, it was gratifying to hear from Bartlett that Samba feels it has a "beachhead at Redmond, and a department committed to providing the Free Software community with answers or clarification on any reasonable interoperability question."