I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world.
Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service
Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give them access to previously secret data on how the Windows operating system works.
The deal was signed with a nonprofit group called the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, (PFIF) which negotiated on behalf of the Samba team because Samba is not represented by a corporate entity. PFIF will pay a one-time fee of €10,000 and, in return, will be able to allow open-source developers, including the Samba team, to access the documents.
Developers will have to sign nondisclosure agreements and will not be allowed to redistribute Microsoft's documentation, but they will be able to write open-source software that implements the Windows protocols. The deal will also clarify which patents Microsoft believes are related to this technology, making it easier for open-source developers to avoid patent violations.
The article is quite negative in tone, ignoring that the licensing process was available before the EU stepped in and giving the glory to the EU, when I believe it is the free-market that made this move happen. Either way, the lack of standards that are used (yes, they do exist) in this technology arena means that people would rather work with existing solutions rather than build new ones. Having said that, Samba has some serious security weaknesses that using the MS protocols could well resolve!
Fri, Dec 21 2007 5:10 PM