Open source developers intervene in Microsoft EU lawsuit


Open source developers intervene in Microsoft EU lawsuit

Antony Savvas

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is intervening in the case Microsoft has brought against the European Commission over its order that the company’s server protocols should be available to the open-source community.

The order to release the server protocols came out of the European Commission’s anti-trust investigation into the firm, which led to a big fine being imposed on Microsoft, plus various anti-trust measures being taken against the company.

Microsoft has appealed the whole judgement and followed up with a separate lawsuit against the European Commission regarding the server protocol order.

The FSFE, which defends the interests of open-source developers, is already involved in Microsoft's ongoing lawsuit against the whole judgement. It is now protesting about the server protocol lawsuit brought by the company in August.

Microsoft claims that allowing its server protocols to be used in open-source projects would violate its intellectual property, but the FSFE said the technology that Microsoft is trying to protect had little value.

While the FSFE admitted that open-source use could lead to some Microsoft trade secrets being revealed, it said a blanket ban on open-source use was wrong and each component had to be studied separately.

Companies like Samba, which makes open-source file and print software, are set to benefit from the European Commission’s server protocol order, as it will find it easier to update its products for its customers in mixed server operating system environments.

The European Commission is still deciding what access-licence royalties will be payable to Microsoft for the server protocols in question.

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