Is Open Source Beginning to “Horn In” On Microsoft’s Monopoly?

Combine the new features of Samba 4 with an Open Source version of Exchange like OpenChange, and Microsoft could be looking at a BIG problem! Small-to-Medium-Sized Businesses could run pretty much as though they were a Windows shop, almost free (except for the client costs!) Check out the OpenChange Open Source Project at this location:

Samba 4 threatens Microsoft’s enterprise lock-in

New Samba release, featuring first open source implementation of Active Directory protocols, reveals fruits of E.U.’s antitrust settlement against Microsoft.

Antitrust settlements are not just meant to punish corporations that abuse their dominant market position; they are also meant to remedy the abuse and restore competition to the affected market. In the real world, this rarely happens. But Samba version 4, released yesterday, could become one of the first open source projects to deliver an effective remedy.

When Microsoft was charged with antitrust violations by a European court in 2004, they agreed to make all the information for network authentication with Active Directory available on fair terms. With substantial effort, the open source Samba project was able to negotiate terms that resulted in documentation becoming available to the project.

In its efforts to demonstrate compliance, Microsoft went beyond mere licensing to actively support interoperability testing for the new code. Jeremy Allison, one of the core Samba developers, told me:

The documentation created as part of the EU settlement with Microsoft helped us to make the Samba 4 Active Directory Compatible domain controller code robust and reliable when interoperating with Microsoft AD domain controllers. Having Microsoft themselves help in interoperability testing was an added bonus not required by the settlement, but very welcome!

The team behind the Samba file, print, and authentication server suite for Microsoft Windows clients announced the release of Samba version 4 yesterday. This version includes significant new capabilities that offer an open source replacement for many enterprise infrastructure roles currently delivered exclusively by Microsoft software, including acting as a domain controller, providing SMB2.1 protocol support, delivering clustering, and offering a virtual filesystem (VFS) interface. It comes with Coverity security certification and easy upgrade scripts. The release notes include details of all changes.

Notably, this includes the first open source implementation of Microsoft’s Active Directory protocols; Samba previously only offered Windows NT domain controller functions. According to the press release, ‘Samba 4.0 provides everything needed to serve as an Active Directory Compatible Domain Controller for all versions of Microsoft Windows clients currently supported by Microsoft, including the recently released Windows 8.'”

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