Ownership of CIFS?

Christopher R. Hertel crh at ubiqx.mn.org
Thu Jan 30 16:49:22 GMT 2003

Microsoft play both sides of that coin.  Back in the mid/late 90's they 
were trying to position CIFS as an "open" protocol (the term "open" may 
mean different things to different corporate entities).  Following their 
stunning victories in the Pro^H^H^HAnti-Trust trials they decided to 
charge fees for access to the technology.

Until the last few years, Microsoft did regularly publish CIFS
documentation.  The archives are still on-line at:


Some of it is very useful stuff.  Combine that with the SNIA doc and you 
have enough to get off to a good start.

You hit a wall, though, when you try to implement the MS-RPC calls.  CIFS
has become, in many cases, a transport for MS-RPC.  A lot of functionality
is now handled via RPC, and the majority of the RPC stuff isn't openly

As for Microsoft "owning" CIFS...  They have a proven monopoly on the
desktop.  They therefore "own" the client side of the CIFS protocol.  
That, combined with the extensive amount of undocumented RPC calls, some
flags and features that are not described in the SNIA doc, etc., puts them
in a position to extend their desktop monopoly to the server.  That would
be illegal, though, so to prove to the courts that they are not trying to
extend or perpetuate their monopoly they offer licenses to the technology
to competitors.

If I remember correctly (I don't have the URL for the site) you can get
information about those licenses if you can provide a Dunn & Bradstreet
number (to prove your financial worth) and are willing to sign a
non-disclosure agreement before-hand.

Chris -)------

On Thu, Jan 30, 2003 at 07:38:00AM -0800, Esh, Andrew wrote:
> The following article implies that Microsoft is selling licenses for CIFS,
> as if they control the ownership of that protocol:
> http://www.byteandswitch.com/document.asp?doc_id=27508
> My understanding is that CIFS is an open protocol, and it is characterized
> as such by Microsoft on this page:
> http://www.microsoft.com/mind/1196/cifs.asp
> What do you folks think? Is this just a mix-up of terms?
> ---
> Andrew C. Esh                mail:Andrew_Esh at adaptec.com
> Adaptec, Inc.
> 2905 Northwest Blvd., Suite 20        763-557-9005 (main)
> Plymouth, MN 55441-2644 USA      763-551-6418 (direct)

Samba Team -- http://www.samba.org/     -)-----   Christopher R. Hertel
jCIFS Team -- http://jcifs.samba.org/   -)-----   ubiqx development, uninq.
ubiqx Team -- http://www.ubiqx.org/     -)-----   crh at ubiqx.mn.org
OnLineBook -- http://ubiqx.org/cifs/    -)-----   crh at ubiqx.org

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