Towards the end of 2007, Tridgell, and fellow developers Jeremy Allison and Volker Lendecke, along with some EU investigators, wrested an agreement with Microsoft that specifies that every one of Microsoft's network protocols which are used to work with Windows Server will be provided to a newly formed body, the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation.
The agreement has five years to run but Tridgell is pleased with the progress in year one. He said there was some trepidation as to the licence under which Microsoft would choose to release the protocols; "we were afraid that they would choose a licence that would be expensive, maybe something per seat," he said.
"We can pay a lumpsum to buy documentation but it's very important that others can take and build on that. In the FOSS world, there are roughly symmetric rights between the giver and the receiver."
The Samba folk had ended up with an agreement under which the documentation from Microsoft would be a trade secret. However, two months later, Microsoft said there would be no restrictions and no payment required.
The Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, a body formed to receive the documentation, can now provide the same to its sub-contractors which will ensure more openness. Those who pay the lumpsum will get some additional rights.
Tridgell said Microsoft's open source promise should be improved if it was to be of any real use to open source developers. In its original form, it applied only to non-commercial open source development and it was more or less impossible to find an open source project of any size which did not have some commercial bifurcation.
"The non-commercial caveat in the OSP makes it of little use to open source developers. We should encourage Microsoft to make different OSPs for software that has commercial value," he said.