Fun_People Archive
15 May
Judge Jackson, are you listening?

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 15 May 100 20:26:48 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Judge Jackson, are you listening?

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
From: Andy Latto
   From: david mankins
   Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 13:00:51 -0400

   Microsoft has ``embraced and extended'' Kerberos, by using an unused
   field in Kerberos headers.  Internet standards like Kerberos being
   open, this caused some heat in the internet standards community
   (extensions of this sort are basically okay, but you have to publish
   the details of how to interoperate with them).

   So Microsoft ``published'' details about the extension on the web, but
   one must agree to an NDA before viewing the page.

At first this seemed really odd. Why bother to have an NDA, when anyone
that a signer might want to disclose the information can obtain the
information themselves, simply by signing the NDA themselves. Normally,
you disclose information only under NDA when there are some people
(typically competitors) who you won't give the information to under any
circumstances, even if they sign an NDA.  At first glance, giving the
information to anyone who wants it, but requiring an NDA, makes no sense.

Then I figured it out.

If you can't disclose the MicroKerberos protocol, then presumably you can't
publish code that implements this protocol. So it becomes illegal for an
open source OS to implement a mode in which it is compatible with the
Microsoft extension.

I assume Microsoft has an explanation of how the fact that Linux is legally
prevented from being compatible with its extension is a benefit to
consumers. Of course, the real reason for this tactic is to leverage their
desktop monopoly to compete unfairly in the server market.

It's amazing to me that Microsoft continues to pull this sort of stunt at
the current state of the antitrust hearings. If you were a lawyer for
someone who had just been convicted of a string of bank robberies, wouldn't
you advise your client not to rob any more banks during the sentencing
hearings? But Microsoft goes right on breaking the same law during the
debate on sentencing. Incredible.

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