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Microsoft cans open source NTFS threats

Merkey story with happy ending

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Microsoft has retreated from its recent threat to take action against Jeff Merkey's Timpanogas Research Group for providing read-write access to NTFS partitions.

"Microsoft has apologized and withdrawn their statements," Merkey wrote in a post to a Linux kernel developer mailing list. "We are very happy this thread ended on a happy note, instead of in court. Microsoft will take no action against us for NTFS development on Linux, which can now proceed without concern."

After a long period of amicable co-operation between TRG and Microsoft, Redmond got itchy about the work.

On September 2, Merkey - former chief scientist at Novell - responded by tearing up his agreement with Microsoft and returning the Windows 2000 source and documentation to Microsoft, withdrew the NTFS tools, and embarked on a clean room alternative.

TRG's armada of free software projects includes Open Source NetWare - which is as you might imagine, a GPL NetWare clone with execution environments for Linux and Win32 - the M-Squared Clustered NetWare File System (M2FS) for Linux, and the as yet unreleased open source NDS.

Speaking to The Register last week, Merkey said the NTFS work began when his team added support the NetWare file system on Windows NT, and TRG added tool that enabled NetWare FS partitions to be converted to NTFS in place. Merkey says the repair tools will now be made available again.

Evidently, Microsoft has decided that when co-operating with a company which ultimately brings Novell integration closer it's worth tranquilizing its jittery IP lawyers. It's already been alleged that free software is finding its way into Microsoft releases. ®

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