[Samba] GPLv3 and Mac OS X

John H Terpstra jht at samba.org
Sat Oct 30 08:03:48 MDT 2010

On 10/30/2010 02:48 AM, Stephen Norman wrote:
> This may have been raised before and if so I apologise for not being
> able to find it.

No apology needed. We can discuss this topic on this list.

> I was wondering if someone on the list can please explain the
> relationship that GPLv3 has in preventing Apple from distributing
> updated builds with their operating systems. I've read over the GPLv3
> (I'm not lawyer or anything) and I would guess it has something to do
> with the patent agreements?

Why do you believe Apple cannot make use of Samba? That is a very
different question from why they might refuse to use it.  The word
"prevention" implies a "cannot" element as opposed to a business
decision not to use it. Objection for business reasons is like choosing
not to purchase something as opposed to not being able to purchase it
for one reason or another.

Licensing terms form a contractual boundary to accepted use of a created
work in order to preserve the intent (wishes) of those who labored to
create it.

Samba is the result of many hundreds of man-years of work that was
freely contributed for the benefit of all, subject to the specific terms
of use that are set out in the GPL. Even if every business on planet
Earth should choose not to use it in their products what would be the
loss to it creators?

> I'll admit that I'm not too happy with the GPLv3 and think that,
> ironically, it is in many ways as restrictive (and in some ways even
> more so) than closed source software. That's only my opinion though
> and I understand where it may be useful.

Please help us to understand what changes to the licensing terms will
cause more people to contribute their labors to its improvement and
assure its wider use.  What must the creators of Samba give up in order
to be successful?  What does success look like?  How will Apple benefit
from this change? How will these benefits help the creators of Samba to
better achieve their goals and objectives?

If you can convince the authors of Samba that the benefits of being more
successful will outweigh what the world will lose you will get a certain
hearing. In other words, what must the Samba developers give up and what
will be their gain by doing this?

> Regardless of my opinion, I would like to know about GPLv3 vs. Apple
> Mac OS X and if there are any plans (i.e. Samba 4) that would allow
> the software to again be shipped with the operating system.

Samba4 is part of the Samba3 code tree. All of Samba will continue to
ship under the terms of the GPLv3 until such time as the authors see
good reason for change.  We respect the right of anyone (person or
company) to use or not to use Samba.

I would like to see more people benefit from our efforts and our labors.
I believe that the GPLv3 is the best way that our users can continue to
receive those benefits. The Samba team has chosen to license under the
terms of the GPLv3.

John T.

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