[Samba] GPLv3 and Mac OS X

Stephen Norman stenorman2001 at me.com
Sat Oct 30 12:54:44 MDT 2010

Forget our war of words. It looks like Apple and the FSF can't get along at the moment.


I apologise for my confusion as it does appear to be a problem between Apple and the FSF.



On 31/10/2010, at 5:29 AM, John H Terpstra <jht at samba.org> wrote:

> On 10/30/2010 12:00 PM, Stephen Norman wrote:
>> On 31/10/2010, at 1:03 AM, John H Terpstra <jht at samba.org> wrote:
>>> 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?
>> "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?
> The Samba team does not force anyone to use samba.  If someone chooses
> to use it they must comply with its licensing terms.  All derivatives of
> Samba fall under the same license that samba is under - that is what the
> GPL seeks to achieve. The GPL seeks to prevent the misuse and
> misappropriation of software source code.  Its that simple.  You may not
> like that, and indeed Apple may not like that, but that's the way it is.
> Please keep in mind that to use or not to use is a choice!
>>>> 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?
>> I definitely see your point here so I'll try and explain.
>> Apple is one of the largest users of open source software in the
>> world, with over 50 million users each using open source software. By
>> largest users, I mean the software is on people's machine (server
>> side projects like Apache would have much greater numbers). That is a
>> large number and second only to Microsoft Windows. They have been an
>> advocate for open source software, shipping a number of technologies,
>> including Samba in Mac OS X for almost a decade. They helped
>> kickstart software technologies including Ruby on Rails by being the
>> first to ship the software with the OS, something which continues to
>> be the case today.
> Let's make sure that credit is given where it is due.  For all the good
> things any corporation or individual does let's say thank you - AND -
> remember to comply with the license terms under which the contribution
> was made.  If we do not like the license terms, ask for reconsideration
> by all means, but do not demand it.  The author has rights of
> determination over his/her works.
>> 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.
> Please check your facts.  Anyone who produces a derivative work from a
> licensed software application must comply with the original authors' or
> licensors' terms and conditions. Remember, noone forces anyone to create
> a derivative work!  Only derivative works are affected.
>> 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.
> Rubbish! Complete gibberish!  Is their derivative a derivative? If yes,
> then comply. If not, they are on their own with complete freedom to
> choose their own licensing terms.  Keep it simple - it really is simple!
>> 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.
> Specifically who "forced" Apple to change? Please name the person who
> tried to coerce them to not use GCC under GPLv3.  It was a choice Apple
> made for reasons only they understand fully.
>> 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.
> The world has always been divided into opinion camps.  Please keep in
> mind that when all is said and done, there is much more said than done!
> What does the statement "open source dosen't always work" really mean?
> What presuppositions are implied by that proposition?  Have you
> seriously considered this?
>> In relation to Samba (I'll play devils advocat here), the question on
>> my mind woud be, how does using software that already exists in the
>> community and is well liked and tested useful to my project if using
>> that code actually results in me having restrictions placed on what I
>> can do with my code, just because I linked to some pre-existing
>> code?
> The point is that you decided to link to someone else's work. It was
> your choice! Noone forced you to do that.
>> 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.
> That's a business choice. Let's see how long that will fly!
>> 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.
> Specifics please!  What is the COST to the Samba project is commercial
> vendor ceases to use Samba?  How will it affect use of Samba by private
> individuals?  You have not convinced anyone here that there is a
> quantifiable loss involved.
> You have presented a convincing argument that companies that elect not
> to use open source software and instead enter into a licensing
> arrangement will cause their customers (consumers) to pay more for their
> products.  Remember though, this is a choice the corporation or business
> makes.  It is simply a business decision. They are free to make that
> decision.  Businesses are not compelled to explain to their customers
> why they choose to create their products in a certain manner.  If the
> customer does not like what is offered to them they have the freedom of
> choice not to purchase and not to use it.
>> I hope that helps clarify the kind of direction in which I was
>> heading.
> No, I have heard your fear of damage to the long-term viability of the
> open source world but so far you have presented FUD (fear, uncertainty
> and doubt) - we need facts please.
>>>> 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.
>> 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.
> The GPL in all its  forms is a license.  If you do not like the license
> do not use the software. It is very simple.  Think about the freedom
> here please: you are free to use GPL code and you if you do, just like
> any other license requirement you are bound by its terms of use. It is
> your choice to use it or not to use it.  If you use it contrary to its
> license terms please do not complain about your choice - you made it!
>> I guess the biggest problem is that no one seems to be clear on some
>> of the points of the GPLv3. 
> Rubbish!  Many people do not like its restrictions but complain loudly.
> Do we hear complaints about other commercial licensing terms?  If not,
> why not?
> Remember, commercial licenses are all about business.  The purpose of a
> commercial license is to garner revenue from the customer.  Anyone who
> is not a customer has no rights of use.  Simple!
> The GPL gives everyone free rights of use, subject to its terms. Which
> would you prefer? It's your choice.  The GPLv3 was issued to assure that
> software that is protected under its terms of use will continue to be
> protected, and that derivative works can not disenfranchise the original
> authors of their work.
>> 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.
> Is your work a derivative of a previous work? What are the license terms
> of the software you are deriving benefits from? Best you abide by those
> terms, or else choose to create your software some other way. It is
> still a very simple matter of choice!
>> 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.
> The only uncertainty that exists is the cloud of FUD that is spread by
> people who want freedom from licensing terms of use, and yet wish to
> impose their own terms of use on others. Can you not see that?
> I am sure you have read the GPLv3.  I am convinced you have done much
> homework.  Please take up your concerns with the GPLv3 with the Free
> Software Foundation.  If you would like Samba to be licensed under some
> other license, please present a compelling factually-based case that
> clearly demonstrates the benefits to the Samba developers and to the
> Samba user community to convince us to change.  We will listen to sound
> reason that is well documented and clearly presented.
> - John T.

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