Samba switches to GPLv3

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Most significant GPLv3 convert to date.

The Samba open source project has adopted the new GPLv3 and LGPLv3 licence.

"We feel this is an important change to help promote the interests of Samba and other Free Software," the group said on its website.

Samba offers file and printer sharing between Windows and Linux systems by providing an open source implementation of Microsoft's SMB/CIFS networking protocol. It is used in operating systems ranging from most Linux distributions to Sun's Solaris and Apple's OS X.

The project is the most significant convert to the newly released licence to date. Currently 122 project have adopted GPLv3 and LGPLv3, according to an overview by Palamida. Those projects mainly include applications from the Free Software Foundation, the group that authored the licence, and a series of projects that belong to the Ruby project.

Samba was previously governed by the GPLv2.

Versions of the software through version 3.0.25 will remain under the previous licence and will continued to receive patches as long as there is a significant user base. The release of version 3.2.0 will mark the switch to GPLv3.

Changing the licence can be a cumbersome processes. Because hundreds of individual developers typically contributed to a project, they each have to agree to a licensing change.

But Samba allows for a smooth transiation because developers agree to have their submissions governed by the 'GPLv2 or later'.

Samba's decision might also force other project to make the jump to GPLv3. Because the previous version of the GPL is incompatible with the third version, v2 projects can't use any Samba libraries in their software.

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