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02 November 2011, 21:31

Samba gets Microsoft code contribution

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Samba logo On 10 October 2011, a Microsoft developer contributed a GPL licensed patch to the Samba project. The patch, which was part of a proof of concept for extended protection for NTLM and presented by Stephen A. Zarko of Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center, has now been noted as the passing of a milestone by Chris Hertel of the Samba team. Samba provides tools and servers which enable interoperability with Windows' SMB and CIFS networking on Linux and Unix based systems.

This isn't quite the first patch from a Microsoft employee though. In 1993, Lee Fisher, a Microsoft employee, added a debug statement to SMBcreate. But in the years that followed, the Samba developers had to resort to more and more reverse engineering as Microsoft moved further and further away from the specification (See HealthCheck: Samba for the look at the history of the project).

It took a 2007 European Commission judgement that required Microsoft to publish its protocols to simplify the Samba development process. Hertel says "A few years back, a patch submission from coders at Microsoft would have been amazing to the point of unthinkable, but the battles are mostly over and times have changed… Most people didn't even notice the source of the contribution. That's how far things have come in the past four-ish years."

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