[Samba] Azure AD Connect and the challenge of funding Samba bugs

Caglar Ulkuderner caglar at ulkuderner.net
Tue Oct 27 19:21:29 UTC 2020

Hi Andrew,

I remember we talked about crowed-funding in SambaXP previous year. The
main question was tax issue for a company and if I am not mistaken, some
other legal issues was on the table from software freedom conservacy

I just check the samba web site to be sure if donation button still works
and it looks ok. If that funding system is acceptable for team needs, we
may be open some most wanted futures and everybody can donate and follow
the fundraising process for that future.

This can create more collaboration between team and community. Also
community can have some drive motivation on the samba project.

Do you think that is applicable?

All the best,

On 27 Oct 2020 Tue at 00:25 Andrew Bartlett via samba <samba at lists.samba.org>

> Thank you both for digging into this.
> As you have seen this is a tricky area for Samba, being as it involves
> external services, additional (and it seems changing) essentially
> third-party software (not just base Windows) and has consistently
> fallen into a gap of 'almost working' for a number of years.
> The fact that there is a viable workaround (pass-though authentication)
> also seems to be making this harder to fix - because it remains an
> annoyance, not a deal-breaker.
> Furthermore, it seems to have been quite difficult to get good
> diagnostic logs of the issue - both on Samba's bugzilla and when
> speaking with potential commercial customers, I've never actually seen
> a clear set of logs!
> But I want to touch on something more broadly:
> Samba's AD DC development is to each of or community members a
> volunteer effort.  The Samba Team isn't funded for development, we take
> donations which help pay our hosting bills (CI in particular) and until
> the year of the pandemic covered travel for those who needed it.
> Nobody is on the long-term payroll of the Samba Team, instead Samba is
> where is is thanks to the spare time of our committed volunteers and
> the work time of those who are supported by their employers to work in
> Samba for their $DAYJOB.
> What that does mean is that what gets fixed and does not get fixed is
> in large part comes down to what catches the interest of developers who
> some flexibility (in their job or their own time) or what paying
> customers need via support or development contracts.
> Now, to be clear we all work hard to ensure that what do advances a
> common Samba vision and helps more than just an immediate customer, but
> my point is that we have a problem:  Bugs like this sometimes have to
> really hurt someone before they get attention.
> As to a solution?  I don't have a good one.
> Samba isn't funded (by our donations) to a scale where we can afford
> even a significant fraction of a senior developer salary.  I'll also
> warn that genuinely independent open source projects paying folks has a
> difficult history.
> Many say crowd-funding, but that essentially requires that someone
> offer and hold to a fixed price quote for a fix.  Given that much of
> the work in Samba is to work out the problem, this is a challenge.  (It
> might work for feature development.)
> I'm skating on really thin ice here, but I like the idea of support
> contracts.  I like them because they are outside Samba.org: a
> commercial agreement between a single customer and a Samba support and
> development shop.  I also like them because for difficult issues at
> least the customer and commercial support provider can work out what
> the root of the problem is, which is often half the challenge.
> Sadly I also know the economics of those are difficult for many of our
> users, who are attracted to Samba not just for the awesome features but
> the low cost.
> Samba is a proud free software project and always will be.  The freedom
> to use, modify and redistribute is central to what we care about.  The
> challenge of keeping Samba development funded away from per-seat
> licences and in an environment where the community expectation is that
> Samba should not just be free but cost $0 remains however quite
> profound.
> Even more difficult is the funding of security support, but I'll leave
> that for another time.
> Finally, I do realise that compared to fond memories of times long ago
> Samba is much harder to contribute to.  Even despite recent work with
> our move to GitLab new Contribute page on the wiki, making a meaningful
> change to a C based project and following that up with a comprehensive
> (and often Python based) testsuite is a big ask.  Yes, it keeps Samba
> from breaking but perhaps pushes away the 'Jack of all trades' sysadmin
> or student (I was both...) who in times past might have just dived in
> and fixed things.
> Andrew Bartlett
> --
> Andrew Bartlett                       https://samba.org/~abartlet/
> Authentication Developer, Samba Team  https://samba.org
> Samba Developer, Catalyst IT
> https://catalyst.net.nz/services/samba
> --
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