Samba programmers take a peek at Microsoft code

Samba programmers take a peek at Microsoft code

€10,000 and your signature on an NDA will do nicely

Microsoft has agreed to share the information in its Windows workgroup server software with the developers of Samba.

The move is seen as one of the first steps to comply with the European Commission's antitrust ruling.

"Today the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, a non-profit organisation created by the Software Freedom Law Center, signed an agreement with Microsoft to receive the protocol documentation needed to fully interoperate with the Microsoft Windows workgroup server products and to make them available to Free Software projects such as Samba," said an official statement on the Samba website.

Andrew Tridgell, the creator of Samba, said that he was "very pleased" to get access to the technical information necessary to continue to develop Samba as a Free Software project.

"Although we were disappointed that the decision did not address the issue of patent claims over the protocols, it was a great achievement for the European Commission and for enforcement of antitrust laws in Europe," he said.

However, the software will not be opened up without any strings attached. Microsoft has been paid a onetime fee of €10,000 and anyone working with its software must sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Samba is an open source software suite that provides file and print services and allows for interoperability between Linux/Unix servers and Windows-based clients.