Licensing ambiguities with GPL and LGPL - was Re: Can Samba co-operate?

John Malmberg wb8tyw at
Fri Dec 21 12:16:02 GMT 2001

Jeremy Allison wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 21, 2001 at 01:00:46PM -0600, John Malmberg wrote:
>>It would be nice though if someone officially representing the SAMBA 
>>team could issue a license statement that clarifies this ambiguity, 
>>which could permit libsmbclient to be included as a plugin to other 
>>products, so long as credit and copyright notices, etc. are followed.
> Sure. We don't allow it. libsmbclient is GPL only, not LGPL.

The important question then becomes:

Why does Foobar, Inc. have less rights than all of their end users?

And that is the conflict.  Foobar, Inc. is expressely prohibited from 
being able to use or distribute LIBSMBCLIENT as a plugin to their product.

But any end user of Foobar, Inc.'s products who has no other connection 
with Foobar, Inc. is allowed to create and distribute a GPL'ed plugin 
that uses LIBSMBCLIENT, as long as that plug in is also GPL'ed.

In the whole world, only Foobar, Inc. is prohibited in distributing that 

IMHO: This makes the express prohibition unenforceable because it 
violates the principle of equal protection.

I need to understand that.  Because if I build LIBSMBCLIENT as a shared 
image on my own time, I can have my favorite editor, a commercial 
produce call it to access files on a lanman share.

In 1999, I would not have had a conflict with your GPL policy if I 
distributed the editor commands, but because of an employment change, It 
now can definitely be an important legal point, if I chose to do it now.

LIBSMBCLIENT is one of the few GPLed products that have this clear
conflict in their licensing terms.

So you can understand why I have a particular interest with this issue.

wb8tyw at
Personal Opinion Only

More information about the samba-technical mailing list