9 July 2007

Samba Adopts GPLv3 for Future Releases

After internal consideration in the Samba Team we have decided to adopt the GPLv3 and LGPLv3 licences for all future releases of Samba.

The GPLv3 is the updated version of the GPLv2 license under which Samba is currently distributed. It has been updated to improve compatibility with other licenses and to make it easier to adopt internationally, and is an improved version of the license to better suit the needs of Free Software in the 21st Century.

To allow people to distinguish which Samba version is released with the new GPLv3 license, we are updating our next version release number. The next planned version release was to be 3.0.26, this will now be renumbered so the GPLv3 version release will be 3.2.0.

To be clear, all versions of Samba numbered 3.2 and later will be under the GPLv3, all versions of Samba numbered 3.0.x and before remain under the GPLv2.

The Samba Team would like to thank Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen and the Free Software Foundation for updating the GPL license, and also all the individuals and corporations involved in helping to create the GPLv3. We feel this is an important change to help promote the interests of Samba and other Free Software.

The Samba Team.



  • What about code submissions ? Does anything change?

    New code contributions will be accepted in exactly the same way as before. As Samba has always accepted code with the "or (at your option) any later version" of the GPL, contributors do not need to change anything about their submissions.

  • I need to ship 3.0.x for several years as part of a service contract. What about old versions?

    As with previous major version changes, the Team will continue to provide security fixes for 3.0.25b releases for as long as this code base is widely used. All new features will only be developed for the new 3.2.x or later GPLv3 versions however.

  • Help! I've read scary things about the anti-DRM, language in GPLv3? What does this mean for my Samba-based products?

    We're not aware of any vendor distributing Samba in such a way that would cause them to fall foul of the new DRM language in the GPLv3, but as always, consult legal advice if you have doubts.

  • I am the author of a GPLv2 licensed program, can I still use the samba libraries?

    The Samba Team releases libraries under two licenses: the GPLv3 and the LGPLv3. If your code is released under a "GPLv2 or later" license, it is compatible with both the GPLv3 and the LGPLv3 licensed Samba code.

    If your code is released under a "GPLv2 only" license, it is not compatible with the Samba libraries released under the GPLv3 or LGPLv3 as the wording of the "GPLv2 only" license prevents mixing with other licenses. If you wish to use libraries released under the LGPLv3 with your "GPLv2 only" code then you will need to modify the license on your code.

  • What about patent covenant agreements ? How do they affect the distribution of Samba?

    Patent covenant deals done after 28 March 2007 are explicitly incompatible with the license if they are "discriminatory" under section 11 of the GPLv3. Samba distributors who have made such patent covenant agreements after that date will not have the right to distribute any version of Samba covered by the GPLv3 (Samba 3.2 or later). The rights of vendors to ship 3.0.25b and previous versions is unchanged and remains as it was under the GPLv2. Consult legal advice if you are in doubt.

Posted at 11:55 | Read more in: Announcements