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MS getting rid of SAMBA? 475

BenRussoUSA writes "In this ZDNet story . Brian Behlendorf of Apache, Jeremy Allison of SAMBA, Miguel de Icaza of Ximian and now MONO and Eric Allman of Sendmail are all quoted in a story regarding a nasty rumor. Microsoft may be planning to include a Microsoft patented technology at a crucial interoperability point in .NET and maybe the next version of CIFS. Could this spell the end of SAMBA?"
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MS getting rid of SAMBA?

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:32AM (#2109823) Homepage
    Among the unexpected features Mac OS X 10.1 will include: A built-in SMB client. I wonder what effect that had on MS's decision.
    • From talking to Apple goons last month, they fully expected MS to allow other platforms to connect to XP and .NET.

    • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:00AM (#2122823) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft must be overjoyed that Mac OS X.1 and Linux and Unix all have popular SMB clients. Woo hoo! Desktops of all kinds are locking in the value of having a nice Microsoft-controlled backoffice.

      It's the servers of SMB which are the thorn in Microsoft's side. A decent Samba server runs on Linux just fine, which robs Microsoft of all that wonderful lock-in. A Microsoft backoffice solution can be replaced with a drop-in equivalent, and not one desktop user even notices the difference (except there's fewer i.t. emails out to the organization about downtime).

      Every time a fully functional drop-in replacement is possible, Microsoft will attempt to change the game to break that possibility. Desktops are hard to replace fully, because every single user has to make a very personal commitment (either by paycheck or choice) to learn all the little differences. Servers are easy to replace without much hardship, and Microsoft knows this. Hence, .net and kerberos tweaks and other closed or extended standards.

  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:07AM (#2110321)
    I think it's possible that the time when MS could "lock up" SMB/CIFS via patents may have passed. Samba is used by too many "mainstream" IT sites to provide Unix/Windows integration - sites that have already spent huge sums of money trying to port their business critical applications to Windows and failed.

    If they actually tried to do this, the effect would be akin to the results if they tried to change MSIE to break on Apache servers (to create pressure to switch to IIS). Even before Code Red, very few sites would switch from Apache to IIS. Making the browser break on Apache would break so many sites that it would not force servers to switch to IIS, it would force users to switch from MSIE.

    Likewise, if some future version of Windows breaks Samba, IT managers would simply insist on the old versions of Windows until they found a workaround, e.g., third-party SMB drivers for the "improved" Windows on new systems. Or they would investigate whether it's cheaper, and less risky, to convert every single workstation to Linux than to try, again, to port their key application to run on Windows. Combined with the other major headaches MS is trying to force down IT's staff (e.g., some early reports that the "new and improved" licenses sometimes go *poof* without warning, but it can take days to arrange a replacement. If that happens at the wrong moment, a company could lose a contract or a court case, costing millions of dollars. Are you willing to bet your company - and your personal savings - that Windows will never barf on you?) and this could be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back.

    If I had to guess what's happening, MS is floating a trial balloon. They won't pay attention to us, but if InfoWorld starts reporting on the rumors and has some Fortune 500 IT managers saying they'll seriously evaluate alternatives if Samba is locked out of a latter-day CIFS, we'll never hear of this idea again.
  • The Samba team should work on their own "variant" of samba and develop drivers to all systems including MS. I mean, instead of reverse-engineering the PDC protocol, develop your own Open Source implementation of it including a client for MS OS's.
  • Usually MS is bending over backwards wrt. enabling you to run old programs etc. Would they really cut all 95/98/NT/ME clients off?
    When NT started using encrypted password, there was a registry tweak [runet.edu], which enabled Samba to function.
    A real danger seems like it would be MS starting to enforce their patents. It even looks like .au would let them patent software [idirect.com]
    Not A Good thing, since much of the Samba development takes place in Australia.
  • by Chundra ( 189402 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:34AM (#2113732)
    It won't be the end of Samba, because her mother, Simba, and father, Mjimba (the king of the jungle I might add) will protect her. In fact, I suspect that Mjimba would disembowel any Microsoft weenie who tried to lay a hand his favorite daughter, leaving the carcass to the hyenas.
  • by Hilary Rosen ( 415151 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:47AM (#2114785) Homepage Journal
    when they pry it from my /etc/init.d/cold/dead/fingers

    Really, what can they do? ECMA rules say they have to licence is "non prejudiciously", and usually that means a percentage of revenues, not a flat fee. So if Jeremy Allison has to send them 20% of whatever he charges for SAMBA, they'll have to accept that.
    • by AME ( 49105 )
      So if Jeremy Allison has to send them 20% of whatever he charges for SAMBA, they'll have to accept that.

      Ironic side note:
      This, I recall, is exactly what MS did to Spyglass. When Spyglass sued MS for not paying agreed-to royalties on Internet Explorer, MS responded that the royalties on a product that they sold for $0 was $0. One more company screwed by MS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:45AM (#2115842)
    A quick search on the United States patent database for all patents from 1996 to the present with the word "password" in the abstract and the assignee having the word "microsoft" reveals 11 patents. It appears that this one : 5,719,941 Swift , et al. February 17, 1998 "Method for changing passwords on a remote computer" is indeed the patent in question. The abstract is : Abstract A method for changing an account password stored at a physically remote location is provided. After initiating a password change sequence, a user submits both an old and a new password to its client machine. Thereafter, the client computes two message values to be transmitted to the server. The first message is computed by encrypting at least the new password using a one-way hash of the old password as an encryption key. The second message is computed by encrypting the one-way hash of the old password using a one-way hash of the new clear text password as the encryption key. The server receives both messages and computes a first decrypted value by decrypting the first message using the one-way hash of the old password, previously stored at the server, as the decryption key. The server computes a second decrypted value by decrypting the second message using a one-way hash of the first decrypted value as the decryption key. The server compares the decrypted one-way hashed value, transmitted in encrypted form in the second message, to the pre-stored hashed old password. If the two values are equal, then the server replaces the old password by the new password. (look for yourself at www.uspto.gov if you don't believe me)
    • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:19AM (#2126410) Homepage Journal

      Here's a link to the full text [] of the patent. But according to the article, "Microsoft does not have to disclose any patents on .Net technologies, unless it is not willing to license them in a nondiscriminatory fashion." And a "nondiscriminatory fashion" toward Ximian Inc would probably involve a royalty-free license. IOW, Microsoft will probably do its usual routine of "We won't sue you over our patents on this technology if you don't sue us over your patents on this technology" in the white paper, as it has done for the FAT specification.

  • "I'll pass judgement after I see it."

    CmdrTaco on 08:36 PM August 6th, 2001
    Guess that only applies to Star Wars, but not to anything really important. Good thing he isn't a REAL journalist.
  • by Zo0ok ( 209803 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:44AM (#2117373) Homepage
    Leaving SMB would mean W95/98/ME and even NT4.0/5.0 would not be able to share files with the newer MS OSes. As long as these old Microsoft OS can communicate with the next MS OS, so will Samba. I doubt MS would break file sharing between NT4.0/5.0 and future OSes.

    They threw out NTLM, in came Kerberos
    They threw out WINS, in came DDNS

    I wouldn't worry too much yet...
  • Open-source critics of Microsoft said the company would have the opportunity to strangle an open-source project by demanding a licensing fee and royalty payments each time an open-source version of its patent was implemented.

    Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson just turned over in their graves.

    Monopolies (even when they are introduced by the government) always hurt the market. Just look at Wall St. We should look at different rewards for patents than monopolies.

  • Pure Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CommanderTaco ( 85921 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:52AM (#2117417)
    The WHOLE article is based on this one little snippet of "information":
    He [Allison] said as they discussed the Server Message Block's password changing scheme, the Microsoft representative, whom he declined to identify, commented: "You know, we have a patent on this, don't you?"
    That's it. No hard info on whether microsoft is planning to enforce this patent, or if it's not something that can be worked around. Note that all the people quoted just spout vague generalities like "well, microsoft could screw us over thusly if they wanted to..."

    Considering that to really wipe out samba, microsoft would have to destroy interoperability with previous windows versions... I think this article is just more zdnet sensationalist journalism.
    • Considering that to really wipe out samba, microsoft would have to destroy interoperability with previous windows versions...

      And you think they'll balk at that why exactly? Not only will they not have a problem with it, they seem to be actively doing so as an incentive to get people to upgrade. Witness the number of times they've changed file formats in Word for no apparent reason. And how they refuse to backport useful bits to previous versions of Windows (USB support being a good example).

    • Has Microsoft ever sued anybody for patent infringement? I think I would have heard about it if they had. They get tons of patents, but they have to for defensive purposes.
    • Re:Pure Speculation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:18AM (#2149603) Homepage
      *Very* good point. I didn't say they were planning to enforce it. I didn't really want to talk about it much at all, and wish it hadn't ended up at ZDnet or Slashdot to be honest. I tried to get Charlie to remove this section from the article, but it was one of the only pieces of evidence that he had about patents, and in his judgement that made it important enough to mention.

      It's not "sensationalist jounalism", though. Charlie is trying to make an important point which I will discuss below.

      The reason I spoke about it at all is that my personal feelings are that implementing *NEW* Microsoft-revisioned protocols is a waste of people's time. Once they've become a de-facto standard, like SMB, then we have no choice but to try and implement them, just in the same way that Abiword, StarOffice and KWord have to load Microsoft Word file formats.

      But to start implementing new Microsoft designed protocols and *help* them become ubiquitous is insane. All IMHO of course.

      I don't think Microsoft is planning to wipe out Samba and it is sheer paranoia to speculate on that point.

      Jeremy Allison,
      Samba Team.
      • It is a valid point that supporting a protocol too early might actually help the protocol gain acceptance.

        But where do you draw the line on when to start? How ubiquitous is ubiquitous enough? Is it a good idea to have a project underway so that that you have a bit of a jump start if the protocol does start taking off? Or is it better to wait until the protocol is extremely ubiquitous, and then your Linux servers are at a disadvantage for two or three years until the projects reach maturity?

        These are all difficult questions, and the answers may depend on timing. When Samba was started, Linux was still a small player in the server market, and in fact Samba was one of the things that spurred Linux in to popularity. Now that many users and businesses depend on Linux servers, it will probably mean that there will be higher expectations that protocols be supported sooner.

        Is it a waste of time to start such a project before a protocol becmoes ubiquitous? I suppose it depend on the ultimate outcome. It is a risk, and life is full of risks. The downside is that some people will have wasted their time (and maybe some money) if the protocol flops. But the upside could be the success of Linux in another server market if the protocol proves to be popular.

        Ovbiously there's no easy answer, and I agree that implementing *all* MS standards willy-nilly is probably unproductive, and that implementing MS standards before they become ubiquitous involves some risk. Not all risk taking is bad, however, and if the potential upside is large, I'm not sure I would call it insane.
  • by Black Perl ( 12686 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:33AM (#2120083)
    Getting rid of SAMBA... not a bad idea. While they're at it, they should get rid of COUNTRY and DISCO.

  • by stikves ( 127823 )
    SAMBA is not only linux centric. Many other OSes use samba for windows integration (even there is novell netware 4.x version).

    I doubt microsoft can ignore all these systems. People will not easily dump their workstations for NT...

    • by jmauro ( 32523 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:47AM (#2109564)
      I doubt they care about anyone else's problems with intergration. Anything that can force people to use NT. They're solely in it for the money, not for more altruistic reasons. If your running Netware they'll probably not help, just send you a bunch of brocshures on the total cost of ownership and some such non-sense. They won't ignore, just keep telling you the perfectly good Netware or Unix server is broken. They're not going to be happy until everyone is dependant on their OS, and then they can raise the prices at will. It's really like crack. The first few are free, and then you can afford the 3rd and 4th, but by the 5th time its so expensive you've got to turn to stealing. When you think Microsoft, think crack dealer.
    • Microsoft can and will ignore whomever and whatever they want to, as they have been doing for years.

      How long did it take them to pay attention to their own customers and get rid of clippy? Four years? How long did it take them to write an SMTP server that allows for conditional relaying like everyone else instead of all open or all closed relaying? Oh wait; they haven't done that yet.

      This is closer to an admittance by Microsoft that other systems exist, and they are unwelcome interlopers in an M$-centric network. Leaving the old LAN Manager authentication in, using the same file sharing technology for years, M$ basically didn't see the need to change anything because, after all, no one was using anything but M$ products, right?

      So with a step like this, M$ is saying "We know you're not using our products everywhere, so we're going to try to come up with another way to make you pay for our lousy tech".

      So now we need a robust file sharing system that works like SMB/NFS/etc from a web browser - cross platform joyousness for the client, apache on whateveryouwant for the server....


    • SAMBA is not only linux centric. Many other OSes use samba for windows integration (even there is novell netware 4.x version).

      Yeah, but most people are using Windows and NT on their workstations. This is actually to SAMBA's advantage as is the recent anti-trust actions. Microsoft has been held to have market power in desktop OS software, so their ability to enforce their patents has been weakened (intellectual propertly law does not grant one immunity from anti-trust law).

      I would not worry about it for now.

  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:56AM (#2120085) Homepage
    Should the open source community be trying to copy the ".NET inititative" or should they try to come up with something different? Let that question sink in a bit and get back to me when you have intelligent commentary.

  • I just had a thought, rather than breaking up Microsoft or charging them some slap on the wrist fine. The DOJ should require MS to provide free licence to all devopers any patented technology that Microsoft develops as part of their OS or applications.

    This whould allow Microsoft to "innovate" as much as they want but allow competition by allowing others to freely clone their products & technologies.

    Of course MS would complain "Waaah they are taking away our property and giving it to others!". They would be right in a way, but it's not like they they took away Bill's wonderful home or something.

  • I know its been said to death, but really, royalties for patent owners for software should be limited to 1 year. Maybe 2. We all know software is pretty much obsolete after around 5 - 10 years. (ie, I'll take a guess that .Net will be around for maybe 10 years, if it's a commercial success.)

    So the licencing wouldn't be prohibitive if you knew you only had to pay it for a limited time within the lifetime of the technology. Copyrights are supposed to help the inventor, but open up the forum to royalty-free competition while the invention is still viable and useful. This would foster more participants in the arena of competing technologies, and thus, more innovation. And we wouldn't be wondering if Microsoft ringing the death knell for SAMBA.

    All of which is not withstanding the scary idea that developing a technology for 'changing passwords' should not entitle you to more royalty payments than a developer, of a technology which only wants to /talk/ to your software, can afford.


    US Patent Office: Selling monopoly rights to common sense for over 25 years. [thinkgeek.com] (Yes, I own the tee-shirt.)
  • by davidu ( 18 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:43AM (#2122858) Homepage Journal
    I would be /very/ surprised to see Microsoft implement a new feature into CIFS which when reverse-engineered by SAMBA (legal under DMCA for interoperability issues) would require them to pay a patent license.

    The reason this would be hard to stomach is that Microsoft has major customers including banks and other data farms which use Samba across their worldwide networks. Microsoft might be a major behometh and may attempt to stifle Project Mono but I doubt it would be throught the form of changing CIFS (the new version of SMB for those who don't know).

    Microsoft is a bully and we will always have things to overcome however they still answer to some people, namely their major customers and when they bark orders, Microsoft listens.

    Plus, the story doesn't really even talk about Microsoft changing CIFS, it talks about possible patents in .NET which is entirely possible. We must remember though that the whole world is not kept under US law (though more and more of it has our laws thanks to our friends at WIPO...) Either way, Samba has a pretty stable future despite the minor roadblocks Microsoft throws up.

  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:02AM (#2123000)
    The article talks about patents, and how if Microsoft were to integrate some form of patented technology into their authentication system it may require Samba to license it.

    It's just a general discussion about patents and how they might impact an Open Source project. They use Samba as an example, but are primarily referring to .Net and Mono.

    Hey Mr. Taco... Read the article next time before posting a comment about it.
  • Superscary. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dave-fu ( 86011 )
    So if they're patenting this, does this mean that people either pay or risk the Wrath of Redmond for violating the DMCA by not paying?
    Wow. Who'd have guessed that it'd be game, set, match already?
  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:15AM (#2126249) Homepage
    Allison said he inadvertently learned of a patent from "a high Microsoft official"

    I don't know what MS has been smoking lately, but they've obviously smoked it all.
  • Considering how many companies are running their windows fileservers on linux (possibly without the management knowing), it's quite possible that MS has already lost control of the filesharing protocol to the point that they can't really extend it now. If they'd stuck something with a patent in originally, they might have a chance, but if the deal is that, in order to talk to standard XP clients (or servers?) you need to use MS stuff, people are likely to just use 3rd party stuff because their existing infrastructure requires the old version.
  • Without keeping backwards compatablity with NT 4.0
    and Windows 2000. Of course they could always supply "patches" for NT 4.0 and W2k that will "allow" them to use the new password protocol. But my favorite solution is to host the project in a country were patents do not matter. Let's say Russia.
  • by AdamBa ( 64128 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:41AM (#2126898) Homepage
    Most parties with patents are not required to disclose them in the standards setting process, van den Beld said.

    Is this true? Consider this article from Fortune about Rambus [fortune.com], in which they were dinged for not disclosing a patent to a standards committee.

    The article mentions that Sun and Dell got in trouble for similar things, and had to license the patents royalty-free. Dell had a patent on VL-BUS technology, and Sun had one on DRAMs for SparcStations that Kingston complained about. The Dell story (from 1996) is summarized here [gtwassociates.com] and this is from the FTC [ftc.gov], while the Sun case (from this year) is mentioned here [ebnews.com] and here [ebnews.com].

    - adam

  • Well then, I guess (and strongly recommend) that the Open Source group start up it's own patent bank. This bank of patents would be free to anyone who GPLs their code, but commercial products would be required to pay royalties to the GNU Foundation.
    This is going to be the only way that free software will win.
  • by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:31AM (#2128217) Homepage Journal
    why oh why do people host their projects in the US ?

    why not put it in international waters and work on it from wherever you want ?

    this goes back to cryptonomicon CAVE idea

    more and more things like this are going to happen we should simply wake up and put them out of reach of poloitical ideas and companys

    what are the problems with this approach ?


    john jones

    • by Khalid ( 31037 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @11:08AM (#2110323) Homepage
      Alas the US not only give the tone in technology but in legal matters too. For instance EU is seeking to implement a software patent law and a DMCA like law too. Lobbies are pushing this very hard in Bruxelle so this not only a US problem, Japan is doing the same thing, and soon because of WTO everybody else will follow.

      This is how harmfull laws are passed without the will of citizens who are eitheir too ignorant to act or too weak to have their voices heard. No wonder you have more and more activism in Worlds Summit like it happened in Genova (Italy).
      • doesn't matter, at least in the case of patents. dmca is another issue.

        patents require registration in the country where they're applied.

        that means that if M$ holds a valid U.S. patent, they can forbid you from using the process in the U.S.

        you can avoid this patent by moving to a country where the patent has not been registered. That's how Zimmerman got around the RSA patents.

        even if that country later on recognizes software patents, it can't register them retroactively. that's a universal precept of patent law.

        'course, if people use your infringing product in a country where the patent is valid, they're facing potential liability themselves. that's why PGP was illegal to import into the U.S. for a long time.

    • I wonder if people in other countries look at the US kind of like they look at Microsoft. We have a unreasonable licensing agreements (laws like the DCMA). We stick our noses into everything. We tie different packages together (you want monetary of military aid, then you better pass these copyright and drug laws). The only organization that might be more like MS is the UN.
    • As you know, the internet runs on connections. The crypt is a wonderful idea other than the fact that any country that hosts it will be put under enourmous pressure by other nations to kill it or bring themselves to the same standards as other nations. Even an oil rig in the middle of international waters needs a feed out, and what's it going to do when the land line is cut by the country whose traffic it passes through? At this point your best bet would be to park a rig off of China; they have enough clout and obstinance to give WIPO/UN/US the finger for years to come.
    • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @01:24PM (#2127145) Homepage

      US law even apparently applies to Russian soil. Just ask Dmitry Sklyarov. The US gov't believes its law applies worldwide. And Russia isn't screaming blooddy murder about it! (Why not?!)

      No one is safe, unless perhaps they decide to NEVER visit the US ever again. Even that might not be enough, just look at Manuel Noriega. Kidnapped by the US in a miltary raid and imprisoned in a US jail.

      And the US would be very likely to bomb any rig out in international waters. We'd justify its destruction and the killing of its workers by saying we were protecting the US economy from economic terrorism and all our sheep/citizens will bleat their approval. And with it having been in international waters, we wouldn't be in trouble with any other country for violating its sovereignty.

      Not that international law has ever (in practice) ever applied to the US ... just look at how many treaties we violate.

      • wow, too many x-files episodes buddy.

        you can't be arrested for violating patent law. not even in the United States. it's purely civil. you can only be sued by the patentholders. so what's happening to Dmitry can't happen when you're talking patents.

      • Actually, U.S. law applies only in U.S. territory, even in Dmitry's case. The thing he was arrested for he did on U.S. soil.

        Just like Americans can be and are arrested in foreign countries for breaking the laws of those countries.

        The DMCA is stupid, there's no two ways about it. But don't get excited about U.S. law being applied to Russians in their homeland, because it's not.
    • why oh why do people host their projects in the US ? ... what are the problems with this approach ?

      Simply locating the project elsewhere isn't enough; for it to be beyond the reach of the US government, it couldn't be supported by the US at all including its citizens. As a US citizen I can be held accountable for whatever I do regardless of where the project is located. Even if I could work in a project in a foreign country without breaking any laws, I could still be sued by an American company if they didn't like the project I had worked on.

      So you do indeed have a situation where US laws can restrict a lot of software development. These laws may seem unfair but they also prevent Microsoft from moving to the Cayman islands when the US threatens to break them up.

  • Saving us all from better products at little or no cost for bloatware, no recourse, bugs galore and the big happy M$ smiley face which says, "It's what the people want."

    Gates, Ballmer, Mundie and a host of other IT Leeches.

    ® Microsoft Corporation, 2001

  • by ebh ( 116526 ) <edhorch AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:37AM (#2128430) Journal
    If they're holding a patent, it should be public knowledge. So what's the patent number? Why all the "I think there might be..."? Until we find out, let's drop this whole thing down the FUD bucket.

    (I fully suspect they do have a whole file cabinet full of patents, but I'd like to see them before I start making assumptions about the future of open source.)

    Not only do we not know the specifics of the alleged patent, but we don't know if it's trivial or not. There's no guarantee it won't flunk the prior art or novelty tests.

    • The worst is the best. It's contrary to popular FUD about needing comercial interests for comitments and software stability. Instead, it shows that some companies inflict massive intentional waste on all of us. An intollerable slavery is preferable to a tollerable one.

      The worst: MS uses some crummy patent and gets DMCA import restrictions on all future SAMBA so that it could not be legaly used by any US company or any other DMCA slave state companies.

      Enough BS like this from MS will make people think if Word documents are worth the price paid.

    • by TheMidget ( 512188 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:49AM (#2117400)
      AFAIK, you can't patent software in Australia, where Samba is developped. So, even if there were such a (US) patent, it would not stop Samba. Well, there might be a small period where Samba would not work while they are busy catching up (i.e. implementing the new algorithm), but the next version all would be back to normal.
      • by NumberSyx ( 130129 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @12:05PM (#2118824) Journal

        AFAIK, you can't patent software in Australia, where Samba is developped. So, even if there were such a (US) patent, it would not stop Samba.

        Once the Samba Team did the work and built a port of the new protocol, they would never be able to visit the US, or they would be arrested by the Microsoft Division of the FBI.

      • I know that Slashdot isn't the best palce to go for an opinion on legal issues, but does anyone have any idea if it would be legal to download and use a product that violates a US patent. I've heard of companies getting injunctions against other companies distributing products that violate their patents. However, if the distributers are outside the US, would it be illegal to use the software itself in the US?
        • patents control use. yes, it would be illegal to use the infringing product without a patent license.

          however, patents aren't a matter of criminal law, unlike copyright. you can't be arrested for infringing a patent. you can only be sued. most likely, the patentholder would get an injunction against you using the patented process. theoretically, the holder could also get damages. they'd only bother with that if you were a big organization that they could suck a lot of money out of.

          violating the injunction could land you in jail, for contempt of court. however, you still wouldn't get a criminal record and would normally be let out when the judge decided you were going to comply with the injunction. on the other hand, there's no limit to contempt of court: the judge can keep you there forever. so it's generally a good idea to obey injunctions. :)

  • Backfire (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xwred1 ( 207269 )
    I'm thinking that this could backfire against Microsoft, at least in the short term.

    I've read that when Microsoft has guys that help customers deploy Microsoft solutions, they use Samba if they need to integrate with a Unix network.

    If Samba didn't exist, Microsoft would have lost the sale to that customer, because they'd have to either go whole-hog with Microsoft, or nothing at all. Chances are, most would stick with nothing unless their Unix boxes were too old.

    Also, alot of non-Microsoft systems out there will be using Samba to server files to the Microsoft workstations. If the version of Windows after XP (Blackcomb?) didn't support SMB, I doubt the IT department would want to roll it out right away.

    Not to mention that Microsoft would be forcefully obsoleting their own user base. Thats not something they are known to do willfully, witness the sufferings of people dealing with Win9x.

    If Microsoft tried to do this, I expect that it would be a slow and gradual process, similar to the phasing out of WINS in favor of DNS with Windows 2000.
  • by abdulwahid ( 214915 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:40AM (#2131634) Homepage

    Why don't they realise that they only reason the Internet has been so successfull is because it works by using a set of standard protocols that anyone can adopt and use. The best thing about the Internet is that I can run Linux on all my office machines and still access the Windows based services that others provide. By taking this road MS are in danger of marginalising themselves and not Linux. There simply has to be interoperability between different platforms in the modern business world.

    In my company, for example, all of the tech guys use UNIX and all of the admin and sales use Windows. We have to interact with each other. If MS aren't going to allow it through their tools, it just means companies like mine will have to migrate to non-MS solutions for even the Windows machines. I just feel that MS are shooting themselves in the foot by taking this sort of approach.

    • the Internet has been so successfull

      Umm...successful at what? Certainly no one is making the gobs of money MS is used to.

      Really what economic reason can be given for them to change their behavior? Because if there is a valid one, and not just "Microsoft should play nice because its the right thing to do", they will change their tune in a heartbeat.

      Lets also not forget, Samba was always about working around Microsoft networking - coding around their API's. They are all public, so there is no reason they can't do so again. Patent or no patent, it is legal to perform reverse engineering to ensure compatibility.

  • by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:40AM (#2136114)

    I'm so tired of MS and thier contrary ways. they forever claim that they work for teh benifit of the consumer. Samba is the best if not only solution for interconnectivity between MS networking protocols and Unix. I've used this over and over again in MS, Apple networks, where there is a single Unix server. but yet MS intends to cut this off. how is this helping the consumer. True capitalism you dont muscle a customer to buy your product by stamping out the compitition you make a better product. Ms however does not understand this. Yet on the other hand we have the Gov getting in bed with big business. I really wish slashdot and the like activist woudl start writing their congress man or woman about this. when the old folks prescription goes up or someone threatens to take away there driving privaliges look how quickly they act. we need to adopt the same stance and start fighting for our rights as consumers in a free market.
    • Re:sick of this. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 )
      > Samba is the best if not only solution for interconnectivity between MS networking protocols and Unix ... but yet MS intends to cut this off.

      From Micorsoft's perspective, the "best interconnectivity" is "no interconnectivity".
  • Terrible Article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0xA ( 71424 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:58AM (#2136151)
    I read the article twice and I really don't see the issue.

    From reading the article I understand that there is the potential for Samba or any other open source app that realies on CIFS to have to mimic a function that happens when a user changes their password (I am asuming that this is part of MS/CHAP). The problem being that MS might hold a patent on something, that possibly would have to be implimented by said open source app and as a result MS could charge some sort of licencing fee. Maybe

    What a friggin joke! The author comes up with a scenario which is has no factual basis, decides it could be a bad thing and then get various people in the community to provide quotes that agree with him.

    This is FUD, a pure and perfect example of FUD. ZDnet is getting worse evey year.

  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @12:46PM (#2137749) Homepage
    When I started reading the article there were 0 posts, by the time I finished over a hundred.

    As with all large companies Microsoft files lots of ridiculous patents. They do it for the same reason mine does, so that if they are sued by another company thay have something for swapsies.

    It would probably not be a good thing for Microsoft if their customers could not attach Linux file systems easily. SAMBA is simply collateral damage in the high stakes game between EMC and Microsoft. EMC servers are very expensive and Microsoft would love to play bigger on that turf.

    The bigger problem is that in the crackpot US PTO scheme you never know if a patent has been applied for on something until the government awards a 20 year monopoly in practicing it. The rules have been improved, i.e. made less open to corrupt abuse but they are still an extortionists charter.

    I can't remember the last time Microsoft was the plaintif in a Patent lawsuit. They have been the victim of many Patent Trolls.

    It would be an idiotic strategy for Microsoft to try to use patents to make .NET proprietary. But then again the tax cut for the ultra-rich and breaking the ABM treaty to build a 21st century Maginot line are crackpot ideas.

  • by snake_dad ( 311844 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:35AM (#2139475) Homepage Journal
    and port Samba to windows. :)

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @12:12PM (#2141116)
    Shutting out SaMBa is easy. The trick is not to shut out older MS SMB clients like, say, LanMan, Windows 3.11, 95, 98, ME, NT 3.51, 4.0 and Win2k in the process. If they pursue this too rigorously, they risk alienating customers because the new software isn't backwards compatible. Why do you think they're still putting DOS compatability in their new OSes even though the last MS-DOS release was almost a decade ago?
  • Lock-in (Score:4, Funny)

    by loki4eng ( 218727 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @10:38AM (#2149663) Homepage
    This is all about lock-in. It is getting harder and harder for MIS departments to fight M$, but we keep getting more reasons to do so. They continually leverage their desktop monopoly to force businesses to use (buy) other software of theirs. Its nothing new, but it has gotten SOOOO much worse this year.

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