Samba and GPL

Andrew Tridgell tridge at
Sat Sep 1 19:30:10 GMT 2001

> 1. Andrew Tridgell owns the copyright

No, not true. I only own copyright on the bits I wrote. The policy we
use in the Samba Team is that the individual author who wrote the code
puts their own copyright on that lump of code. If the code they write
contains large pieces of code that are derived from things that
someone else wrote then they should credit that person as well.

Many people when submitting patches to Samba have put my name at the
top of new modules they write. This is usually not a concious decision
but instead comes from cut-and-paste from a module that has my name on
it. When I notice someone doing this I point out that they should put
their own name on the code not mine, but there are certainly still
pieces of code in Samba that have my copyright on them that I did not
write. The authors of those pieces of code are very welcome to submit
patches to correct that if they want to.

> 2. This gives Andrew ALL the rights on samba. He has even the right to sell it
> or use it under another license.

This incorrect perception is one of the main reasons why I encourage
people to put their own copyright on code submitted to Samba. If you
had bothered to actually look at the Samba code before writing this
email then you would see that I do not have sole copyright on enough
of Samba to ever sell it or change the license. That is also quite
deliberate, as it means I can never be pressured by an employer to
change the license - that saves me having potentially difficult
conversations with someone who might employ me sometime in the future.

There is one additional policy we have in the team that is a little
bit unusual. We don't accept code that is copyright by companies as
opposed to indviduals. If a company wants to submit code then we ask
that the person who actually wrote the code have the copyright, or
that the copyright be assigned to a Samba Team member. The reasons
behind this policy are long and complex, but they are based on two
incidents in Samba's history that highlighted the necessity of this
policy. The two incidents have to do with the complexities of the
incredibly stupid copyright registration system in the US and attempts
at corporate control of Samba. The decision was then based on advice
from a very competent US lawyer.

So, please don't accuse me of trying to change the license on Samba or
profit individually from my position. Even since I changed it to the
GPL back in 1993 I have been well aware of the risks involved in who
holds the copyright and I have been steering a deliberate course to
avoid potential problems.

Cheers, Tridge

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