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Re: Can I sell fedora?



Erik Hemdal opined:
One can't sell GPL software
for whatever one wants, one can only recover the cost of distributing
media, etc.  You can argue that it costs $100 to burn a CD in your
country (maybe your ISP charges by the mile and electricity is very
expensive) but it seems dubious from here.  Your (the OP) own messages
indicate that you know a $100 price is inflated.

I tell you unequivocally that the GPL permits you to sell at any price. Sell a single-floppy distribution of Linux for $10,000.00 U.S., as long as you provide the source code for free. Heck, charge a million dollars U.S. The GPL imposes absolutely no ceiling on the price you can charge.


The license states:

- "You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee."

Notice that it talks of charging for the act of copying, not for the media or the copy itself.

- "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License."

This only requires that the license be provided at no charge, not the software.

- "Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange" (if you do not include the source code with the product).

It does not say that you have to distribute the binaries for "no more than .. cost". Only the source is covered by this part of the agreement, as I read it.

It does not specify how to determine cost; I imagine that the cost of doing business with the government is legitimately includable. Don't forget to factor in the intangible costs, such as the risk of legal action against you. Even one such incident could run very expensive; amortize its expected value into your overhead.

How much is your time and effort worth for the "physical act of transferring a copy"? That's time you will never get back. Would you pay a million dollars to live an extra hour?

It also makes it clear that the license does not generally mean "'free' as in 'free beer' but 'free' as in 'free speech'".

I am not a lawyer nor an accountant, not even in my own country. Unless they are in one of those professions in your country, other people's opinions might be interesting, but I'll bet you're better off reading the GPL for yourself, seeking competent professional advice from someone knowledgeable about your prevailing conditions, and ignoring anything we tell you (unless, as stated, the person actually is qualified).

You have no reason to believe that I understand the GPL any more authoritatively than any reasonably well-informed and intelligent person.

Charge the most you can get someone to pay. Even if you tell your customers or your law enforcement authorities, "Lew said it was OK", I will still not be culpable for the results you get from doing so.


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