Home > Microsoft > Microsoft Communications Protocol Licensing Microsoft Communications Protocol Licensing Submitted by OffTangent 2003-10-16 Microsoft 15 Comments The Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP) makes available by license over 100 proprietary protocols that enable your server software to interoperate and communicate with Microsoft desktop client operating systems. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 15 Comments 2003-10-16 5:52 pm I’ve only had the chance for a cursory glance at all this, but I am wondering if this essentially offers a legit way for Gaim, Trillian, etc. to license the protocol used for MSN IM. Or am I understanding this entirely wrong? 2003-10-16 6:11 pm Nope. Have a look at the Program Entry Requirements – http://members.microsoft.com/consent/Info/EntryRequirements.aspx – I think this just about prohibits any FOSS usage via the licensing programme. 2003-10-16 6:36 pm So much for enforcing the part of the DOJ settlement requiring them to open up their proprietary protocols without restriction. 2003-10-16 7:13 pm Non refundable royalty payment of $50,000 required. Wow. Microsoft is getting balsy. They’re effectively locking out 99% of developers. Oh well…. 2003-10-16 7:21 pm “Microsoft has made available, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, each communications protocol implemented in a Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP or successor desktop operating system that is used to interoperate or communicate natively with a current Microsoft server operating system.” Amusing, because after reading the Program Entry Requirements, it does not seem either reasonable or non-discriminitory to me. 2003-10-16 8:03 pm This is jut a PR move in light of the ongoing investigation and the upcoming hearing by the commission of the European Union into Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices. Microsoft is trying to lessen its legal risk; as others have pointed out, the terms of this licensing are onerous and unlike to be attractive to most independent developers. Microsoft learned only one thing from its anti-trust court case here in the US: try to short the legal process by using delay tactics and by fighting the PR battle with the court. I hope the EU doesn’t think this is all the remedy that they need. 2003-10-16 8:23 pm Not just is the licensing seemingly in contradiction of the DoJ terms, but they’ve also managed to keep the few critical protocols out of this. No MAPI, doesn’t look like MSN is fully covered, no SQL (though TDS is fairly well documented by Sybase from whom MS bought it), and so forth. Great, we can buy CIFS…or we can just read the Samba code. Oh goody, we can buy the Windows Update protocol…isn’t that just SOAP with some glorious extensions? 2003-10-16 8:43 pm …For a platform to be successefull (sp!) it has to have a certain critical mass of developers. By excluding most of them, MS is certainly doing them selfes a dis-service. 2003-10-16 8:48 pm … Microsoft would open their protocols. Protocols thrive when opened. That’s why we have the Internet. If the developers of TCP/IP had kept it secret and charged licensing fees for it, few people would have used it. And we’d all be using something else. This move should make more developers ignore Microsoft’s protocols and develop open ones. It’s tantamount to a city digging a moat around itself to make toll bridges more viable. 2003-10-16 9:00 pm hehehe – I like your analogy. 2003-10-16 9:18 pm So I just took a look at the list of protocols. They list HTTP and DHCP. So given that those are documented by the IETF, what, exactly, would Microsoft license me? Saying, “We opened up over 100 protocols,” where 99/100 are documented by the IETF or others is sort of pointless, right? 2003-10-16 11:39 pm See, most of our protocols are already opened. Nothing to see here Mr. E.U. guy. *raises right hand* I swear we’re a good innocent multinational corporation now, honest. *left hand behind back with fingers crossed* 2003-10-17 4:49 am Sure, allow people to create “compatible” versions, however, when you set the bar of entry equal to that of reaching Mars, one really wonders why they call it “undescrimintory”. A better solution would be for Microsoft to supply all the protocols source code under a libre BSD license so that all and sundry can use it at no cost. Microsoft is then required to update them at the same rate as Windows to ensure compatibility. I am not an opensource fanboy but I am an open standards zealot. Openstandards exist for a reason, and it isn’t to fill a domain space. Openstandards allow realiable interoperability between networks, operating systems and so forth. Imagine if the whole win32 api (including those “special” features) was submitted to ECMA for standardisation, every man and his dog could then create a win32 ABI for their operating system. The net effect? a API that span’s accross a large number of platforms result in ferce competion between operating system over who can implement the win32 API efficiently. Microsoft would then be forced into competing with software vendors and as a result, Windows would increase in quality as API differences disappear betweeen operating systems. 2003-10-17 12:51 pm “The Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP) makes available by license over 100 proprietary protocols that enable your server software to interoperate and communicate with Microsoft desktop client operating systems.” In other words, Windows 2003 Server with Active Directory is supposed to save your organization millions of dollars a year. And, Samba 3 does the same job, only faster. Therefore, you had better be licensing the protocol if you want to service your corporate network of Windows clients. 2003-10-17 4:46 pm You have got to be kidding me… I don’t know about everyone else, but Linux is looking mighty appealing to me.. Screw Microsoft, their buggy ass applications and protocols!