The merging of the body parts
Samba is resolutely free software. As Tridgell records in one history of the project, Smbserver 1.5, in 1992, was the first to be released "under the GNU General Public License (GPL), unlike earlier versions which were released under a 'do what you like' style of license. This largely reflects the fact that I had become a huge fan of Linux and was impressed by the progress being made by the Linux community." More recently, Samba was one of the first major projects to adopt Version 3 of the GPL.
Samba is a thriving project that has been revitalised in recent years, partly by the (forced) release of the Microsoft specifications, partly by bringing in new developers with new ideas, the adoption of git for management of distributed development, and a succession of fresh challenges, which include the varied demands of appliance manufacturers, the implementation of clustered TDB, and feature parity with Microsoft's Active Directory.
Samba 4, currently the alpha development of Active Directory for Linux and Unix, has been in parallel development with Samba 3. Allison says "The ultimate goal for Samba 4 will be to merge with the Samba 3 file server code, something that is called "Frankie" internally, after Frankenstein, the merging of the body parts. The client side of Active Directory is relatively simple, and we've had that for years. The server side is a nightmare, because it involves so many different things - it's Kerberos, its a DCE/RPC PC server, its a DNS server, it's a file server... It's a massive conglomeration of things that have been glued together... and it's all standard protocols, except for the bits they've made non-standard..."
"What makes it nasty is that clients dip into the data model using many different protocols that all have to be consistent. So you can write something using RPC, and read it using LDAP or registry calls, and you have to see the same data. The clients were deliberately written to co-mingle all these different things..."
For the Samba developers everything has changed, but some things will always remain the same.