[Samba] GPLv3 and Mac OS X

Stephen Norman stenorman2001 at me.com
Sat Oct 30 22:03:53 MDT 2010

Hi Jermey,

Thanks for helping me understand all the a bit better.

According to discussions on the LLVM mailing list (sorry I don't have the link) when LLVM's libc++ was released, a number of people commented saying that Apple employees are currently unable to work on GPLv3 software, possibly due to some disagreement between Apple and the FSF. My best guess would be something to do with Section 11 of GPLv3 (patents), and that Apple may have made deals after the date specified (28 March 2007) that cannot be easily revoked or altered and would not allow them to meet the requirements of GPLv3. I don't think we'll ever know though.

Thanks again,


On 31/10/2010, at 2:48 PM, Jeremy Allison wrote:

> 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.
> Jeremy.

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