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13 October 2011, 12:26

Samba can now accept code from corporations

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In an email , Samba's Jeremy Allison has described a change in copyright requirements that is intended to make it possible for corporations to contribute to the Samba project, yet still retain copyright on the submitted code. The contribution of code changes by an individual working for a corporation will involve a process called signing, similar to that used in Linux kernel community. This entails the signing of a Samba Developer's Certificate of Origin, which has been developed in cooperation with the Software Freedom Law Center. This certifies that the contributed code's copyright is owned by the specified corporation, is available under certain open source licences, and that the contribution is made with the full permission of the corporation concerned.

Allison explains that Samba had previously wanted the copyright for the various components of Samba to be held by individuals, rather than corporations, as "it's much easier to work with individuals who have ownership than corporate legal departments if we ever need to make reasonable compromises with people using and working with Samba." He stated that the project knows the provenance of all the code contributed to Samba, and that the new system will allow that to continue to be the case, but without the risk of bringing "corporate legal departments into the picture". Ideally, the corporation concerned would assign the copyright of any code changes over to the individual programmer, but failing that, the new certificate will provide the necessary legal basis.

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