Samba Copyright Policy

Samba is a project with distributed copyright ownership, which means we prefer the copyright on parts of Samba to be held by individuals rather than corporations if possible. There are historical legal reasons for this, but one of the best ways to explain it is that 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.

We track the ownership of every part of Samba via git, our source code control system, so we know the provenance of every piece of code that is committed to Samba.

So if possible, if you're doing Samba changes on behalf of a company who normally owns all the work you do please get them to assign personal copyright ownership of your changes to you as an individual, that makes things very easy for us to work with and avoids bringing corporate legal departments into the picture.

If you can't do this we can still accept patches from you owned by your employer under a standard employment contract with corporate copyright ownership. It just requires a simple set-up process first.

We use a process very similar to the way things are done in the Linux kernel community, so it should be very easy to get a sign off from your corporate legal department. The only changes we've made are: (a) Samba uses the GPLv3-or-later and LGPLv3-or-later licenses, whereas the Linux kernel uses GPLv2-only, and we (b) don't mandate signing the Samba Developer's Declaration if copyright is held by individuals. (Individuals who wish to sign the Samba Developer's Declaration are welcome to do so if they like.)

The process is called signing.

How to sign your work on behalf of your employer

Once you have permission to contribute to Samba from your employer, complete our signing process by completing two steps:

  1. Email a copy of the following text from your corporate email address to

    Samba Developer's Declaration, Version 1.0
    By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:
    (a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I
        have the right to submit it under the appropriate
        version of the GNU General Public License; or
    (b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best of
        my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open source license
        and I have the right under that license to submit that work with
        modifications, whether created in whole or in part by me, under
        the GNU General Public License, in the appropriate version; or
    (c) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other
        person who certified (a) or (b) and I have not modified it.
    (d) I understand and agree that this project and the contribution are
        public and that a record of the contribution (including all
        metadata and personal information I submit with it, including my
        sign-off) is maintained indefinitely and may be redistributed
        consistent with the Samba Team's policies and the requirements of
        the GNU GPL where they are relevant.
    (e) I am granting this work to this project under the terms of both the
        GNU General Public License and the GNU Lesser General Public License
        as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of
        these Licenses, or (at the option of the project) any later version.

    We will maintain a copy of that email as a record that you have the rights to contribute code to Samba under the required licenses whilst working for the company where the email came from.

  2. Whenever sending in a patch, add a line that states:

       Signed-off-by: Random J Developer <>

    using your real name and the company email address you used to send the Samba Developer's Declaration to us (sorry, no pseudonyms or anonymous contributions.)

That's it ! Such code can then quite happily contain changes that have copyright messages such as :

   (C) Example Corporation.

and can be merged into the Samba codebase in the same way as patches from any other individual. You don't need to send in a copy of the Samba Developer's Declaration for each patch, or inside each patch. Just the sign-off is all that is required once we've received the initial email.

Please note that merely including a sign-off in the commit does not imply assent to the Samba Developer's Declaration, whether you're submitting a patch containing your personal copyrights or those of your employer. As such, we won't be able to accept patches submitted by companies that don't follow *both* steps of this signing process. Individual copyright holders who don't assent to the Samba Developer's Declaration should use other means (such as copyright/license headers in the source files) to indicate their chosen license for contributed code.

If you have any questions about signing, please email us at

Have fun and happy Samba hacking !

The Samba Team.


Nowadays, the Samba Team needs a dollar instead of pizza ;-)

Beyond Samba

Commercial Support

Global · By Country


sambaXP by SerNet



Current stable release

Samba 4.20.1 (gzipped)
Release Notes · Signature

Release History

Versions & Notes


Patches · Security Updates · GPG Key


Release Planning · Roadmap