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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<title>FSF Europe - Microsoft against free competition</title>
<h1>Intervention to the Court of the European Union</h1>
<h2>on behalf of the Free Software Foundation Europe</h2>
<h3>Thursday Sept 30th. 2004</h3>
<h2>Introduction by Carlo Piana:</h2>
<p>My name is Carlo Piana, I appear on behalf of the Free Software
Foundation Europe. The Free Software Foundations have a 20 year
history of starting, developing and furthering the GNU and after the
GNU/Linux system, often referred to as "Linux". FSFs are in particular
the single largest fiduciary of the interests of the thousands of
authors of that system, especially their legal interests through
defense of their Copyright and Licenses (precisely the GNU GPL and
LGPL, published by the FSF).</p>
<p>One of these groups of authors is the Samba Team. May I therefore
introduce Mr. Jeremy Allison of the Samba Team whose first hand
experience will represent and show further how the factual assumption
on Microsofts part are flawed and overstating the consequences of the
<h2>Intervention by Jeremy Allison:</h2>
<p>Mr. President,</p>
<p>My name is Jeremy Allison, and I'm speaking on behalf of the FSFE who
is representing the Samba Team, who have a great interest in this
case. Samba is one of the few competing products to Microsoft in the
Workgroup server market. It is commonly shipped with Linux, but is
developed separately. I am one of the original authors of the Samba
code, and with my colleague from Germany Volker Lendecke have been
working on interoperating with Microsoft software for over 12 years.
I speak from many years of experience of implementing Workgroup server
<p>In the development of Samba Microsoft has already disclosed to us
specifications similar to those that we are now requesting. Microsoft
has given to the Samba Team in the past internal documents describing
exactly the level of protocol information we now need. These documents
are now no longer useful, as Microsoft creates modified versions of
its protocols on a regular basis, as it releases new versions of its
Windows software. The documents given to us were marked internal we
used them to create Samba code, as Microsoft intended when they gave
them to us. They gave us these documents knowing we would create code
with them, and they encouraged this. We were not required to sign
non-disclosure agreements to obtain this information, we were simply
treated as a trusted third party, as I believe we have been. We have
never disclosed their contents publicly, only the code we created.</p>
<p>What we are requesting via these remedies is that Microsoft return to
the policy of openness and co-operation with others that they followed
in the past. The claims that we have not requested information on the
protocols is not true. We have made repeated requests to Microsoft
that they continue the kind of disclosures they made before they came
to dominate this market.</p>
<p>A protocol, like a language, is a convention for communication. We
need to know if the noun comes before the verb. We can learn ourselves
by listening to others speak, this is what we do now to teach
ourselves how to talk with Microsoft software. But such a self-taught
student will always be behind someone properly taught by a native
speaker well versed in grammar.</p>
<p>Microsoft claims that to disclose interoperability information would
cause them irreparable harm. However, we believe the information that
they are being asked to disclose is not of the immense value they
<p>The protocols Microsoft uses to prevent interoperability are mostly
based on open and standard protocol specifications. Microsoft have
added undisclosed extensions and additions to standard protocols that
create dependencies between their clients and servers. For a
non-Microsoft server to provide services to Microsoft clients these
interdependencies must be understood by the programmers
involved. Microsoft uses this lack of knowledge in third party servers
for competitive advantage ("tying together" of clients and servers).
Microsoft is building on the standards work of others, and adding
small but critical changes for the pure purpose of making Windows
clients depend on the presence of Microsoft servers, and Microsoft
servers depend upon Microsoft directory servers.</p>
<p>A good analogy would be with the telephone network. The Microsoft
documentation for the phone network would tell you how voice is
transferred over the lines, but would neglect to tell you how to dial
a number. As you can imagine this would cause difficulty for other
phone manufacturers. Microsoft is trying to claim that the particular
tones that they have chosen to use to dial 1-2-3 are a multi-million
dollar investment.</p>
<p>The protocols Microsoft wants to keep secret to prevent
interoperability are *not* of high intrinsic value. These protocols
are not kept secret by Microsoft because they are valuable, they are
valuable to Microsoft because they are kept secret, and thus prevent
<p>Whilst we are proud of Samba, it is not yet up to the level of
interoperability of a Windows Workgroup server of 1996 (NT4). This is
due to the lack of timely information from Microsoft on how their
products talk to each other. Without this it is impossible to fairly
compete on the merits of our products, as we are always without the
basic levels of interoperability that Windows servers can provide. We
are always scrambling to try and catch up to work out how the latest
version of Windows has modified the protocols we implement.</p>
<p>We are not able to achieve interoperability by the existing methods we
use, sophisticated though they are and there are no others available
to us. We are 8 years behind and will only fall further behind if
these remedies are delayed. It is trivial for Microsoft to change a
detail in the protocol in a service pack or new release, and we need
to first write our own protocol spec. before we can even begin to
implement that change.</p>
<p>We do not wish to copy the Windows Operating System or to see any of
the code that implements it. We wish to be able to expose our own
merits, which we believe are considerable, not to reproduce the
features of the Windows Operating Systems. Such a task does not
require Microsoft to provide details of Windows internals, only
network protocols. We wish to have the opportunity to provide file,
print and authentication services with the same amount of network
protocol information that is available to Microsoft engineers.</p>
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