License issues

Richard Sharpe sharpe at
Thu May 24 02:51:17 GMT 2001

At 02:19 PM 5/24/01 -0400, Alex Larsson wrote:
>(I posted this to samba at, but it might get a better
>audience at samba-technical, so I reposted it)
>So, all I need to do is write an put it in the right dir,
>and suddenly Nautilus can browse SMB shares if the user enters
>smb://server/share in the location entry.

Ummm, something like that already exists: ...

>The problem is that gnome-vfs is licensed under the LGPL, which means
>all kinds of apps can link to it, even proprietary ones. If I make a
>samba based gnome-vfs module it will be GPL, due to the samba
>license. A proprietary app (or just a GPL incompatible free app) might
>now suddenly use the GPLd code if the user enters a smb: URI.
>gnome-vfs is LGPL, and a GPL module will never be allowed in the core
>gnome-vfs package. But nothing prevents separate distribution of a GPL
>module, and using such a module with Nautilus (GPLd) would be
>perfectly fine. But doing this would also open the possibility for
>other apps to use it that may violate the license.

Unless you completely rewrite all the underlying routines (libsmbclient
uses libsmb routines underneath it), I do not think you can avoid using
GPL'd code, and others have explained the problems with making GPL's code

For my part, libsmbclient was written by me, although sponsored by Caldera.
It might be possible to make libsmbclient LGPL'd, but then I would have to
rewrite all the underlying code to make it LGPL'd as well. That will take a

>There are (in my mind) two kinds of possibilities for violation here:
>a) an app might use the gnome-vfs api to access files in general,
>which suddenly means that the app also can read files from smb
>b) An app depends on the existence of the smb module for it's core

Hmmm, since is a library, I would not think that you have
to make anything that calls it, if you don't distribute it, GPL'd as well.
However, IANAL.

Richard Sharpe, sharpe at
Samba (Team member,, Ethereal (Team member,
Contributing author, SAMS Teach Yourself Samba in 24 Hours
Author, Special Edition, Using Samba

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