“Forget software politics for a minute – what does the new Samba licensing mean for the version you’re actually running, and for the distribution that packages it for you? Samba maintainer Jeremy Allison explains.”
Interview: Jeremy Allison, Samba
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2007-07-18 11:16 pmSeth Quarrier
Not to nitpick, but if people use the original FSF version of the GPL2, as was pointed out in the interview, there is no issue; the issues only come in when people have released software under modified, not forward compatible versions, such as Linux is. So don’t blame the FSF for this.
Edited 2007-07-18 23:17
2007-07-19 1:39 amjakesdad
Fair enough… Like I said, to each their own… Thanks for the clarification.
2007-07-19 3:45 ambutters
Remind me again how “free” I am…
I think we have enough people reminding us how “free” we are, how proud we should be of that, and how important it is that we bring this “freedom” to the rest of the world.
I think we should have more people reminding us how “unfree” we are, how concerned we should be, and how we should learn to coexist peacefully with those that have a different idea of what it means to be free.
There have been early skirmishes on the border of free software and proprietary software, and the GPLv3 intends to clear things up. You can choose to accept or reject the idea of exclusive patent agreements and live on the corresponding side of the fence. You have to choose. You can’t mix exclusive patent licensing with free software.
This is a problem that needs to be solved today, while the two cultures are first learning about one another. If we let the proprietary culture infect the upper echelons of the free software community, we will be divided, we will be marginalized, and we will become radicalized.
We don’t have to like each other. We don’t have to agree on what it means to be free. We can have different visions for the future of software and computing. We can compete with each other, but we have to compete by playing our respective games.
The commercial Linux elite can make a lot of money by playing the proprietary software game. But free software is our community’s valuable resource. We can’t watch as our corrupt commercial representatives sell our rights away so that everybody but the free software community gets to benefit from the legal use of our software.
2007-07-19 12:54 pmjakesdad
I would argue that Free Software has the opportunity it has at this time exactly because there are “Elitist” companies (that employ developers of “free” software by the way)marketing and selling the software that we love so dearly. The movement itself started it, but the companies can take it to the next level of exposure.
It seems the game is patents. Since we all know the free software developers own the copyrights to their work. So since the game is patents and these “elitists” are playing the game with patents, lobby to change the patent system/game. Hate the game, not the playa. Dont make 2 different games that are mutually exclusive.
Now back to my point… My point was that it seems rather silly to make a next generation license incompatible with existing licenses that are based on the same idea. And as a previous poster stated, I mis-read something and thanked them for pointing it out. My opinion is that it is better to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive, no matter what side you are on, no matter the subject. As I type this I think we are on the same page here… But I cant tell with all the flag waving.
2007-07-19 2:00 pmb3timmons
My point was that it seems rather silly to make a next generation license incompatible with existing licenses that are based on the same idea.
On the contrary, it’s entirely logical, because the licenses in question are based on copyleft :
When we say that GPLv2 and GPLv3 are incompatible, it means there is no legal way to combine code under GPLv2 with code under GPLv3 in a single program. This is because both GPLv2 and GPLv3 are copyleft licenses: each of them says, “If you include code under this license in a larger program, the larger program must be under this license too.” There is no way to make them compatible. 
My opinion is that it is better to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive, no matter what side you are on, no matter the subject.
Nonsense. E.g., using that logic one could argue that free software developers should surrender all of their copyrights to the public domain. That would be more inclusive of firms such as Microsoft that want total exploitation of such software.
Indeed, while inclusiveness is a fine goal, it but one of many criteria. How about true and false? Suppose I think the earth is flat, and you don’t, but, for the sake of inclusiveness, you adopt my opinion. Where would that get you?
History is littered with examples of disasters in the name of inclusiveness. Inclusiveness may be good, but there are likely far more important criteria, such as, you know, the merit of an opinion.
2007-07-19 4:24 pmborker
Perhaps rather than ‘inclusiveness’ as a goal, the stress should be on a level playing field.
Until the patent agreements started springing up, everyone who contributed to GPL projects did so on the same terms as everyone else. Joe the programmer working in his spare time was on the same footing as a development team from IBM. Each could contribute and know that their contributions could not be taken away from them or improved upon without them receiving the benefits of those improvements.
The patent deals tilted this landscape. Now one entity could contribute to a GPL project and not be in the same ship as other contributors. Entities like Novell can now use the works of others with more safety than the original author! Not exactly something that would encourage those others with less protection from the MSs of the world to want to continue to contribute when their contributions (and any improvements on their contributions) are more advantageous to their competitors than they are to themselves.
One of the aims of GPL3 is to re-level the playing field. Any contributor now is protected as much as any other, so anyone is safe to contribute without losing the potential benefits of their contribution or having their contributions become more valuable to a competitor than themselves
I read a developer ‘complain’ as he had a software (GPLv2 and later) combining Qt (GPLv2 only) and Samba.
He is unhappy about the change of Samba from GPLv2 to v3, as it means that he has to stop his project: Qt and Samba are no longer compatible due to Samba change of licensing..
So it’s nice for Samba developers to gain compatibility with Apache code, but this change of license do create problems.
2007-07-19 1:11 pmStychoKiller
The only people that will have trouble are those that attempt to rip off the original authors of copyrighted code. The original authors are even allowing you to make money from their efforts (if you’re actually adding some sort of service/value to their work), they’re just not allowing you use their work and claim it as your own. This is the fundamental principle that copyright is based on. Here in the U.S., there are those that have no respect for the property rights of others, especially those that have more money and power than most. One only has to look at the appalling ruling by the Supreme Court that allows government entities to confiscate someone’s property via eminent domain AND GIVE IT TO A DIFFERENT PRIVATE ENTITY in the name of the common good. This plus the insane idea that software can be patented is what this fight is really all about. Mathematical ideas (which is really what software is at a fundamental level), have no business being patented. I would even go so far as stating that business methods should not be receiving patents either. Patents should only be granted for physical devices, such as can openers and pharmaceutical drugs.
The notion that ideas (which is what most people place under the umbrella of “Intellectual Property”) can be owned by one entity is the same sort of argument that allowed the catholic Church to lock up Galileo for claiming that the “Earth revolves around the Sun” (C).
Good luck in keeping the Thought Police from taking everything from you if these sorts of notions are allowed to remain. Kudos to the Authors of GPLV3 (& V2 for that matter,) for standing up to the would-be Totalitarians out there trying to make money illegally.
The Microsofts of the world are acting like the pool of human knowledge and ideas are a zero-sum game, which is total B.S.!
Edited 2007-07-19 13:12
2007-07-19 7:14 pmborker
if that developer was Chani from KDE, they emailed TT and got the following reply:
“We are currently evaluating the impact that licensing Qt under GPLv3 (it
is currently GPLv2 only) would have for our dual licensing model. In
particular, the in-house development clause that is new in GPLv3 will
have some impact on our business model, or at least require a certain
amount of positioning (and thus preparation).”
So, like most I guess, TT are looking at what the ramifications are before any possible switch over (which is of course the diligent thing to do). Hopefully (well to me anyway, I know there are those who aren’t exactly fans of GPL3) they make the switch in the not to distant future
Remind me again how “free” I am with 2 licenses that basically say the same thing but are incompatible? Just seems silly to me. But to each their own, Samba is still great software!