Proposal to change Samba contribution copyright policy.

Jeremy Allison jra at
Tue Jul 12 15:19:51 MDT 2011

Hi all,

Some history. Samba has historically only accepted code
with personal, not corporate copyright attached.

There were a couple of good reasons for this in the past, one
of which was that we preferred GPL enforcement decisions
to be made by individuals, not by corporations.

Under GPLv2, a license violator loses all rights under the
license and these have to be reinstated by the copyright
holders, which made controlling who those copyright holders
were very important. People are usually much more reasonable
than corporations :-).

With the move to GPLv3, this is much less important than it once
was. The GPLv3, unlike GPLv2, allows an automatic reinstatement of
rights under the license if a violator cures the license violation
problem within 30 days.

Given this, I'm proposing that we modify our policy slightly
to allow corporate owned copyright within Samba. Note I'm
not proposing open season on corporate (C), and we'd still
prefer to get individual copyright, or assignment to the
Software Freedom Conservancy (as we have done in the past).

The reason to prefer individual, or SFC owned copyright is
for ease of relicensing components within Samba. Over time,
we have moved certain libraries within Samba from GPL to
LGPL, for example the tdb and talloc libraries. Re-licensing
like this is easier if we don't have to get permission from
a corporate legal department, but can just directly ask the
engineers themselves, so I'd still suggest that we keep personal
or SFC copyright for code that goes into libraries, or code that
might be moved into a library.

But for things like build fixes for specific platforms,
I don't think it's necessary any more to insist on
personal copyright, which can delay or prevent engineers
from giving us good fixes.

I already raised this with tridge, who told me that he
had been meaning to raise the very same issue with me
(just one more proof that great minds think alike :-),
so I promised to write this email to propose it to the
lists in general.

Please comment and let us know what you think about
this possibility. Samba Team members get to vote, but
we'd be really interested in hearing from all Samba
users to understand if this is something the community
thinks is a good idea or not.



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