Starting with Samba 4.3 SerNet makes some changes to its popular packages. Formerly known as EnterpriseSAMBA they are now published as SAMBA+. Furthermore SAMBA+ 4.3 packages and all later versions are available as software subscription per server and per year. Starting immediately, they can be purchased at the SAMBA+ shop. Detailed information and prices are listed at https://shop.samba.plusSerNet's Samba team is presentig the new subscription based model at the Storage Developer Conference in Santa Clara right now.
The change to SAMBA+ is well-considered. The "plus" emphasizes the advantage of SAMBA+ packages. They are available for all enterprise Linux distributions (SLES, RHEL and Debian Linux/Ubuntu) and always based on the latest Samba source packages and subjected to strict quality assurance. That is why SAMBA+ packages from SerNet are always reliable, up to date and behave the same across all platforms. A real plus compared to other Samba packages that can differ significantly and thus cause problems in mixed environments.
For SerNet, EnterpriseSAMBA has been a great success for 15 years. CEO Johannes Loxen points out, that SerNet did not charge any money for the software but received funding by development orders and by support for enterprise customers. Samba evolves rapidly, especially after the release of Samba 4.0 and the download numbers of the EnterpriseSAMBA packages are rising every year. At the same time, support calls go down when the software gets mature and easy to deploy, so SerNet is not able to leverage costs via support calls alone anymore. Referring to Richard Stallmanns concept of "free" as in "free speech", not as in "free beer" Loxen says: "We at SerNet would have loved to release SAMBA+ free of charge but the rising numbers of downloads in combination with decaying support revenue leaves no choice. We hope that the prices we chose are fair and reasonable and reflect the value of the software, where all sources remain free (as in free speech)."
The subscriptions bought at the SAMBA+ shop are managed at a new platform called OPOSSO (https://oposso.samba.plus). Users can activate their subscriptions here and manage access credentials. Loxen: "OPOSSO itself is an open source software that will be released at early 2016 to the public under GPLv3."
SerNet's 4.2 packages and older versions will still be maintained as EnterpriseSAMBA and distributed via portal.enterprisesamba.org for free. Users don't even have to register anymore to be able to access the packages, but instead can use a public user.