The group announced on its website that the GPLv3 is an "important change to help promote the interests of Samba and other free software".
Samba offers file and printer sharing between Windows and Linux systems by providing an open source implementation of Microsoft's SMB/CIFS networking protocol.
The Samba project is the most significant convert to the newly released GPLv3 licence. Over 120 projects have adopted GPLv3 and LGPLv3, according to an overview by software risk management firm Palamida.
Samba was previously governed by the GPLv2. Versions of the software through 3.0.25 will remain under the previous licence and will continue 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 process, however. Hundreds of individual developers typically contribute to a project, and each has to agree to a licensing change.
But Samba allows for a smooth transition because developers agree to have their submissions governed by the GPLv2 or later.
Samba's decision might also force other projects to make the jump to GPLv3. Because the previous version of the GPL is incompatible with the third version, v2 projects cannot use any Samba libraries in their software.
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