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Re: can I sell fedora?



Joel <rees ddcom co jp> wrote:

<snip OP tax dodge>
...but I would AOL this statement:

>One thing, those who use Linux regularly would prefer you not involve
>Linux in anything that could get you into trouble.

>Since you are so interested in this, let me reiterate what others have
>said:

>Your friend can _not_ sell Linux. He can _not_ sell the right to use it
>or distribute it.

This is true (see below) the GPL's provision is for an unrestricted
_distribution_ fee.  I haven't read the BSD license thoroughly,
although it has less restrictions on modifying code, so maybe has less
on distribution too.

>He _can_ sell a CD with RedHat's Fedora Core ISOs burned on it for a
>reasonable fee. The basis of the fee should be the cost of the CD, the
>cost of the internet connection and time to download, and the cost of
>the time of the person who did the work downloading.

>However, RedHat's software must _not_ be modified.

This is true insofar as images containing the Fedora trademark may
only be redistributed with unmodified Fedora:
/usr/share/doc/fedora-release-2/eula.txt

The GPL's 2nd section also requires modifications to the software
to be clearly noted in a variety of ways.  Again, it should be
remembered that not all software in Fedora is GPLed, so the
requirements for changes will differ between packages.

>Anyone who gets those CD(s) can use Linux freely and can even resell
>them for a reasonable fee. But if the CDs are bad, anyone who has sold
>those CDs has to provide another copy for free.

This not necessarily true.  Firstly, the last sentence of Section 1 of
the GPL:

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.
        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
(my emphasis)
The GPL does not oblige you to offer a warranty.  Depending on who
you're selling to and where you're selling it, local consumer
protection laws may require to provide a warranty for media and/or
for the software itself.  IANAL, but I believe in Britain you would
have to warranty the media.  You are also required, under that same
section, to publish 'an appropriate disclaimer of warranty'
(presumably similar to sections 11 & 12, on behalf of the copyright
holder(s) and parties providing the software).

As others have said, the appropriate price is necessarily what the
market will bear.  If I try and sell Fedora CDs for £1000, while
www.linuxemporium.co.uk is selling for £8 (at time of writing),
then I deserve to be sitting on a big stack of CDs indefinitely.
OTOH, maybe I have the only DVD writer in existence and people
are willing to pay through the nose for the DVD version (actually,
Linuxemporium do that too).

The only restriction placed on fees by the GPL is to be found in
Section 3, which covers the distribution of object/executable code.
IF you provide someone with a program you have obtained under the
GPL then you must choose one of the options to supply the source
code.  One of those options is:

 b) 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;

A restriction not placed if you are just distributing the source.
The result: you are allowed to make what profit you can
distributing either source or compiled code (here Fedora itself),
if you distribute compiled code you must be prepared to supply the
source if asked, and you cannot make a profit doing it (under
option b) at least, option a) does not specify that and option
c) is for noncommercial distribution only).

--
imalone


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