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Tridgell Uses Plugfest Against Microsoft 29

inkslinger77 writes "Andrew Tridgell helped the European Commission's defense of its 2004 Microsoft antitrust ruling at the Court last week by talking about Plugfest, and revealing Microsoft's lack of participation. In an interview after the court had adjourned for the day, Tridgell explained that for the past six years Microsoft has boycotted the event, where engineers from around the world meet up to test their software for interoperability. "
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Tridgell Uses Plugfest Against Microsoft

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  • And? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Deadguy2322 ( 761832 )
    It seems to me that, if it were any other company, skipping a voluntary conference would not be that big of a deal.
    • Nope and in america owning a southern flag ain't illegal, if you are however on trail for hanging a nigger, eh fellow black human being, then it can be used to demonstrate motive. Or something. Ask a lawyer.

      MS used to go to this event that promotes interoperability. Then it stopped. EXACTLY at the moment MS started to think it could make a mono-culture with its operating system. "Your honor, goes to show intent". Watch law and order sometime for the precise term.

      • Its a bank holiday in the UK. Is the same true of in the US? It would explain why Bill and Steve have time spare to moderate on Slashdot. Either that or someone's been sniffing the tippex again.
    • That's exactly the point isn't it?

      Being a monopoly isn't illegal. Being anti-interoperability isn't illegal. Being both at the same time may very well be illegal.

  • Stands to reason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stjobe ( 78285 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:27AM (#15236090) Homepage
    for the past six years Microsoft has boycotted the event, where engineers from around the world meet up to test their software for interoperability.


    Of course they have.

    Primus: They don't have to go, it's a voluntary event.

    Secundo: They don't want their software to interoperate with anything else than their software.

    Tertio: Profit? As in "What's in it for Microsoft?"


    So, it's perfectly reasonable of Microsoft to "boycott" the event. It's what you'd expect them to do.

    • by Entrope ( 68843 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:39AM (#15236140) Homepage
      Sure, it's what we would expect them to do. However, it supports the claim that Microsoft does not care about interoperability and wants to illegally leverage its monopoly in some areas to dominate related areas as well. It is a strong clue that Microsoft software fails to interoperate -- if it worked well with others, sending a few engineers for the relevant two-week test session would be a cheap form of PR and would totally defuse complaints about interoperability.
      • However, it supports the claim that Microsoft does not care about interoperability

        Yeah, that's what I said:

        Secundo: They don't want their software to interoperate with anything else than their software.

        Other than that, I think your divinations are basically correct.

    • One might ask the question: why is the onus on Microsoft to prove interoperability? They wrote the system, all they have to do is not make it harder for other products to work with theirs based on whatever standard the others are checking against.

      In this particular case, I don't see where Microsoft has to lift a finger to help the other guys.
      • You could argue a case that they do not legally have to help provide interoperability (but even this is wrong, since they are a convicted monopoly), but the fact that they don't makes some people, especially governments worried. They get concerned when they rely on one company, and only one company for important matters such as recording information. If Microsoft makes it hard for anyone else to retrieve this information, and they do, then lots of people rely on Microsoft.
    • by davecb ( 6526 ) *
      stjobe wrote:Secundo: They don't want their software to interoperate with anything else than their software.

      Interestingly, Microsoft initially wrote public RFCs about the protocol, licenced it to AT&T, sponsored the plugfest initialy, and, if I reccollect correctly, flew Andrew to the first one or two.

      It's interesting they have backed so far from what they once proposed as "Common Internet File Service" (CIFS).

      Arguably, their tactic was to embrace the IBM-/Microsoft-developed protocol, now it's

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Tertio: Profit? As in "What's in it for Microsoft?"


      Well, as the EC courts are soon to prove, what's in it for microsoft is that interoperability of their software is very closely linked with their legal rights to do business there.

  • Plugfest? (Score:2, Informative)

    by BrynM ( 217883 ) *
    I had no idea what Plugfest was, so I googled... MS has their own [microsoft.com] version of the event, which is free. ITSC seems to put on the one referenced in TFA, but their server [itsc.org.sg] is slower than most rocks. They mention that it's the "ITSC PlugFest 2006 on Linux", so I wouldn't expect MS to show in the first place.
    • by Entrope ( 68843 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:46AM (#15236169) Homepage
      As you would know if you had the slightest clue about Windows NT or its successors, IFS is Microsoft's proprietary Installable File System API. The only thing it tests is whether a software vendor complies with Microsoft, so there is no point for anyone else to bother attending.

      Also, ITSC Plugfest is NOT the one TFA refers to (your Google fu is weak). As you might expect, Tridgell was talking about one relevant to Samba: the CIFS Conference & Plugfest, operated by the Storage Networking Industry Association. Most of the vendors who sponsor it do not use Linux on their storage solutions.
      • Thanks for clarifying. I figured that the point of it was filesystems and that's why I thought the MS one was relevant.
        • Nope... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @09:40AM (#15236869) Homepage
          While it is filesystems involved, it's not the same kind- with Tridge involved with testimony, it'd be more networked filesystems and the servers that provide them. And, NO, MS isn't very open about any of that- to the point that they make it nigh impossible to do so. It's no surprise they don't attend Plugfest- it would show them to be as non-interoperable as we all know them to be on this front.
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @08:21AM (#15236322) Homepage
    While the MS absence at Plugfest might well be nice evidence, unfortunately it will disappear: MS will go next year so no-one will be able to use it against them. But they'll send lawyers, or disempowered Linux sandbox employees. And nothing will change.

    Unfortunately, MS quite simply is utterly contempuous of all courts. They do not accept that the courts should have any authority over them. They don't believe that antitrust is "real" law that should be obeyed. At best, it is a hazard to be evaded.

    I do not know how to change the philosophy of such a corrupt organization. Perhaps jailing Bill Gates for 6 months on contempt charges might help. More likely not, as they will see it as arbitrary and capricious. Everything I've seen says MS has an extremely strong internal culture that resists change.

    • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @08:51AM (#15236505) Journal
      They aren't contemptuous... it's just that their profits are greater than the fines they pay. It makes sense from a business perspective to continue ignoring certain laws.

      Once that dynamic changes, they'll stop breaking laws.

      And it would take more than sending Bill Gates to jail for 6 months. All that would accomplish is to change the corporate structure such that he doesn't get personally smacked by the courts again.

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