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by Franki

Microsoft was found guilty by both the US DOJ, and the EU European Commission, this is a fact. The US basically slapped Microsoft on the wrist for it, and the remedies imposed for being found guilty of monopolistic activities made no significant difference to Microsoft at all. The EU however, imposed a record fine of around half a billion dollars, as well as making them release a version of Windows without “Windows Media Player” and also stated that they should share information on about Microsoft protocols with it’s competition to improve interoperability with competitors’ products. Microsoft has just released a statement to the effect that they do not plan to object to the court decision requiring it to comply immediately with the EU sanctions.

The current problem however, is that the way Microsoft is complying with the later sanction, is incompatible with it’s biggest competitors. Linux and Open Source software like Samba, are governed by the GPL license. The GPL basically says that if you distribute a GPL licensed product, you must include the source code, so that others can benefit and improve on the code and make it available to the community as well. However Microsoft’s protocol license specifically says that no MCPP licensee is permitted to release their software source code. So in one fell swoop, Microsoft made sure that their biggest competitors cannot benefit from the anti-trust remedy. It isn’t just Linux that is affected here. Most commercial UNIX’s also use Samba to provide SMB (CIFS) file sharing services to Windows clients, and Samba is a GPL Open Source program.


Microsoft claims that the license is not discriminatory, as anyone get get it, including Open Source programmers. What they don’t tell you, is that the license is of no use to OSS programmers because to use that knowledge in an OSS program would be to invite legal action from Microsoft. The Free Software Foundation Europe is bringing these concerns to the EU commission, which may try to negotiate with MS on the issue. Read more at Eweek.








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