[Samba] GPLv3 and Mac OS X

Jeremy Allison jra at samba.org
Sat Oct 30 21:48:19 MDT 2010

On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 05:16:53AM +1100, Stephen Norman wrote:

> I'm not sure if you could say that Apple doesn't like GPLv3, so that is spreading FUD there as well. Regardless, my guess would be that their legal department has made a case that it might open them for some legal action somewhere. "Derived" work seems to be a bit of a grey area and opinions seem to be divided. The definition was also revised under GPLv3 so that may have something to do with it.

I don't think it's spreading FUD about Apple to say they
don't like the GPLv3. As you pointed out, they are spending
large amounts of resources replaceing gcc with clang, simply
because gcc is under GPLv3. I think saying Apple doesn't like
the GPLv3 is stating a fact.

> >> 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.
> I wasn't aware of these companies shipping products that contained Samba or under what licenses those products are under. 

It's Samba, so they're under GPL v2 and v3, depending on
the version being used. Most Samba vendors (other than Apple)
have moved or are in the process of moving the 3.2.x or above,
which means GPLv3.

> True, and it would be a bad choice in my opinion.

I completely agree, and anything I can do to change their
mind short of changing our license - the license that all
other Samba vendors ship under, I will do.

> I've read and Googled quiet extensively regarding GPLv3 before posting and find it offensive for anyone to think I'd post the question otherwise. Most of the documentation provided around GPLv3 can only be truly understood by someone with an insight into the law covering such licenses.

I'm sorry - I apologise for claiming you're spreading FUD
about GPLv3 (I was in a hurry too when I wrote that email :-).

I disagree about people needing an insight into the law to
understang the meaning of GPLv3 - the FAQ does makes things
very clear.

But companies making decisions about licensing should be
working with people who *do* have an insight into such law,
and in my experience they do. Their legal Dept. usually,
staffed with very capable lawyers :-).

> The two points I've seen repeated over and over again in my browsing is the confusion people have in what constitutes "derivative work" and the concern over the fact that there is yet to be (at least reported) of a legal case involving GPLv3. I believe they are legitimate concerns that anyone should be allowed to have and certainly shouldn't be considered FUD. In time, GPLv3 will probably become as widely accepted as GPLv2. I think everyone can agree that software freedom is important, even if the implementations often differ.

Well people were confused over what a derivative work is
when GPLv2 was all there was out there, so I don't think
GPLv3 makes a difference here. As for "no legal case
involving GPLv3", that's a read herring. Remember, if an
enforcement action makes it to a "case", then it's a failure.
The goal of enforcement actions isn't to make case law, it's to get
people to quietly obey the license. We (Samba) have done
many such enforcements over the years - for both GPLv2
and GPLv3 Samba. You don't hear about them because they
are successful, and the license is upheld.

People only go to court if they think they can invalidate
the license - it's a testiment to the GPL that so few
actions actually make it that far.

Eventually someone will make similar mistakes with GPLv3
that were made with GPLv3 and it'll end up being enforced
by a court, just as GPLv2 was. But I hope that isn't with
Samba - court cases are exhausting for everyone involved.


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