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Samba Adopts GPL 3

One of the biggest burrs under Microsoft's saddle, particularly with the European Commission, has adopted GPLv3

Samba, the open source networked file and print project, and one of the biggest burrs under Microsoft's saddle, particularly with the European Commission, has adopted GPLv3 for all future versions of its code.

It is the first major win for the Free Software Foundation outside FSF's own GNU pieces of the Linux operating system like the "tar" command for compressing and decompressing files.

The Samba team told its mailing list that "We feel this is an important change to help promote the interests of Samba and other Free Software," which is to say give it another vantage point from which to harry Microsoft.

Samba, which enables file and file communications between Windows desktops and non-Windows servers, is a key piece of code - because of its access to Active Directory - and Novell is ultimately bound to pick up its GPLv3 code at some point.

It's reasonable to think that both sides will tiptoe around whatever Novell does since nobody wants to lose in court. However, the real test case of whether Microsoft's patent protection passes to all GPLv3 users could come if Xandros or Linspire, whose deals with Microsoft aren't grandfathered by GPL 3, decide to ship new Samba code or any other GPL 3 stuff.

They can probably survive a year without updating but after that they face utter irrelevance or a suit by the Software Freedom Law Center.

Samba project leader Jeremy Allison, who left Novell for Google to protest Novell's deal with Microsoft, says the first GPL 3-covered Samba rev will be available in a couple of months.

The project will be renumbering its releases to distinguish GPLv2 code from GPLv3. The next version of Samba was supposed to be designated 3.0.26, but now it's going to be 3.2, and all 3.2 and later code will be under GPLv3. All 3.0.x Samba code will remain under GPLv2.

All contributions to Samba 3.2 will have to be "GPLv2 or later" because under the new rules GPLv2 and GPLv3 code can't be mixed in the same project though they can be in the same operating system.

There will be 3.0.x Samba security fixes, but any new features will go into the GPLv3 code.

Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds continues to resist the idea of putting the Linux kernel under GPL 3 on the theory that the GPL 2 under which the kernel is currently distributed is freer than its replacement. He's got a real problem with the Free Software Foundation's position on so-called Tivoization. "I think it is okay to control people's hardware" as TiVo does, he's said.

It's thought Torvalds' position is probably is pretty much in synch with IBM's position though the two are likely independently derived even if the Linux kernel is pretty much IBM's kernel these days. Whatever it may say publicly, IBM has patent considerations of its own.

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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