[Samba] GPLv3 and Mac OS X

Jeremy Allison jra at samba.org
Sat Oct 30 11:16:57 MDT 2010

On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 04:00:21AM +1100, Stephen Norman wrote:
> "Prevention" may have been a poor choice of words here. I guess what I'm asking is, if Apple was to ship Samba 3.2 or above with their OS, what other parts of the OS (if any) would need to be released under GPLv3? For instance, if Finder used some part of Samba in it would it too need to be made available as GPLv3?

If Finder became a derived work of Samba then yes it would need to
be made available under GPLv3. Just as if Finder was a derived work
of Samba in their current OS (where they use Samba 3.0.x) they would
need to ship Finder under GPLv2.

Lest anyone thing I'm making any claims, Finder is *NOT* a derived
work of Samba under GPLv2, and neither would the same code be a
derived work of Samba under GPLv3. So there really is no difference
there to Apple at all.

They don't like GPLv3, but that is their right. We *do* like GPLv3,
and that is our right.

> I'm not sure how many users use Samba worldwide, but I'd think that the potential loss of such a number would have been considered during the license transition. After all, Apple aren't going to use code in their OS that might require them to open source some of their key technologies, such as the Finder or Workgroup Manager.

Of course we didn't want to lose people. But this is Apple's decision
not to ship, not ours. No other OEM's have had problems. These include
IBM, HP, Google.. it's a large list.

> Instead, Apple will be forced to either fork the old code base of Samba (something no one wants) or develop their own implementation of CIFS/SMB that isn't covered under the GPL.

Which is their choice.

> GCC's change to GPLv3 forced Apple to find an entirely new compiler infrastructure, Clang/LLVM, which arguably is actually an improvement over GCC in many ways. The problem for the GCC people is that their are now going to be 50 million of their users potentially moving to a new compiler and that isn't counting other projects such as FreeBSD and other BSD derivatives. The flow on affect could be quiet large, and while GCC isn't going away any time soon, the potential for it to be superseded by LLVM is certainly there.

GCC's change to GPLv3 didn't *force* Apple to do anything. Apple *chose*
do do it. Are you seeing a pattern here.

> I'd hate to see the open source community end up being divided into a GPLv3 zone and one that has everyone else. It would then prove many anti open-source advocates (i am not one of them) a reason to show how open source doesn't always work.

Rubbish. GPLv2 used to have the same reaction. "If you'd only
release under BSD then you'd be more *popular*" was always the
whine. It's not a popularity contest, it's about philosophy.

> I realise a lot of the changes made in GPLv3 relate to patents, but I'd say that it would make better business sense to most companies to license a technology (such as SMB) from Microsoft and then be allowed to include it in my product, which they can then sell and support, rather than being forced to release their code for free.

In other words, giving up the freedom for their users. This is
the same with GPLv2 by the way. Look at section 7. If it's
better business sense then companies will do it. Some do, some
don't. So I'd disagree over that.

> Finally, companies such as Apple are going to have to deal with problems such as Windows 7 compatibilty in their products, something which the old version of Samba 3.0 seems to have trouble with, and if they find they are unwilling to update to a later version because of the requirements of the new license, then they may have to switch to a different technology or license it from Microsoft. That might make Microsoft happy but it would be a big blow for the Samba project, especially if it meant the loss of over 50 million potential users.

What a shame - Apple will have to spend a lot of money to adopt
to Windows 7 because they don't want the Free help. Their choice.
3.0.x has problems with Windows 7 as Win7 wasn't even a gleam in
Microsoft's eye when 3.0.x was shipped.

> I think Samba is an amazing project and I don't want to detract from that at all. I personally think that compelling companies to release their code under the GPLv3 for using a small part of GPLv3 code is against the principals of open source software in general. After all, the original purpose (and I think the general public opinion) is that open source means I can take code, include it in my project and sell that project to customers as long as I give any changes I make to the source code of the project back to the community.

What complete rubbish. People said *exactly* the same about
GPLv2. GPLv3 Samba has pricisely the same effect on Apple as
GPLv2 Samba - no more difficult to work with.

Your summation of what "Open Source" means is 

> I guess the biggest problem is that no one seems to be clear on some of the points of the GPLv3.

Rubbish again. Read the FAQ:


> For example, if GPLv3 code is used in the Finder, does that mean that all of Mac OS X must be released under the GPL or just the code in the Finder? And how does that effect me as a a developer. If Apple produces a framework, such as CoreAudio and I link against it when I'm developing my application, and that framework uses GPL code, does that then require me to release my code under the GPLv3, meaning I cannot sell it to customers? I'm guessing that's what Steve Balmer was referring to when he spoke about GPLv3 being viral in nature.

No, he was talking about the GPL in general. V1, V2 and V3. Do try
and keep up :-).

> Now all this might be for naught if I'm wrong and I may be, but I think that the uncertaintly that clouds around the GPLv3, mostly because of the wording and because it hasn't been challenged in court (yet), is going to raise some concern in the community.

Rubbish again. Please don't spread GPLv3 FUD on the list. At least
*read* about it before starting a discussion about nonsense.


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