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Samba 4 Brings Active Directory to Open Source and Wins Praise from Microsoft!?

sambaFrom the 'THANK YOU SAMBA!' files:

Like millions of others, I rely on Samba. Like millions of others, I will now rely on it more with Samba 4.0 thanks to the full Active Directory compliance. It's a move that has been a long time coming and one that I frankly didn't think would ever really come.

Samba 4.0 was officially released this week and in the press release there was something that I did not expect – a quote from Microsoft.

"Active Directory is a mainstay of enterprise IT environments, and Microsoft is committed to support for interoperability across platforms," said Thomas Pfenning, director of development, Windows Server in a statement. "We are pleased that the documentation and interoperability labs that Microsoft has provided have been key in the development of the Samba 4.0 Active Directory functionality."

Why is this so shocking? Well for one – it wasn't that long ago (six years ago for me), when Microsoft execs weren't all that thrilled with Samba. In April of 2006, I published an interview with Bill Hilfwho at the time was the General Manager for Microsoft Platform strategy. This is what he told me in 2006:

"With Samba I'm really familiar with that technology and I'd say that a lot of what they do under the guise of interoperability is clone ability. I wouldn't say it's a great relationship but we have a working relationship. They ask things of us and we say, "That's our IP." And they say you should do it because all software should be free. "

Now in 2012 after ten years of effort, Samba 4 is here thanks in part to Microsoft's help. The Samba Team also thanks Microsoft for interoperability testing that Microsoft engineers helped with.

Times do change.

ActiveDirectory is a mainstay and isn't going anywhere, but with Samba 4.0 it will now go everywhere.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.