“This is a huge breakthrough,â€ said Georg Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation-Europe, a group that had challenged Microsoft’s practice of using confidential server protocols. “Microsoft is finally doing what the commission ordered it to do. This will level the playing field.â€
I’m not sure were he got that enthusiasm and I wonder if it’s time to pop the cork. I’m sure he knows well that evil is in the details. Journalists usually pick only a fraction of what people tell them, but still that sentence should not have slipped so easily.
The problem is that we still don’t know if the deal is useful for Samba. This sentence from the EC press release raises my warning signal:
Microsoft will now offer a worldwide patent licence for a reduced royalty of 0.4 % of licensees’ product revenues.
Reduced means that some form of control on copies must be in place to calculate due royaltees. That’s not compatible with Free/Libre Software and that’s all that FSFE and Samba has always been afraid of.
FFII pointed out the main problem with the deal. I hope to see a clarifying message from FSFE and its lawyer soon.