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Joined: Dec 31, 2007
Posts: 13
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Posted Jan 02, 2008 at 10:38:38 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
I was on a stream for tech talk last night and I asked if I could sell Linux Distros for free. The guy said I have no idea, you probably have to work for Linux or something. Then a person is the chat room said it would be leagl to sell it if you make your own Linux Distro. So I wanted to know from the forums if I could. I want to know if I can sell them legally online and at a flea market. And in the future I would like to open up my own store and have something setup like the Apple Store where people could come in and try out the OS. I hope I can get a reply soon.
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stormchaser-Mad dog of GileaD-
Joined Jan 02, 2008
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Posted: Jan 02, 2008 10:49:44 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
"Work for Linux"? He doesn't know what he's talking about. The GPL makes it legal for you to sell your Linux distro or one by others. The question is, if the whole point of Linux is that it's free software, why sell it? It should be given away. Basically, yes, you can.

RE:This is Sparta! ~~~~

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alpinesatan.com
Joined Dec 01, 2007
Posts: 639
Location:London, England

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Posted: Jan 02, 2008 10:56:50 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
well they say distribute not sell, and you can charge what you want. Kind Regards

OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, not forgetting fedora :D

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computerfreak
Joined Dec 31, 2007
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Posted: Jan 02, 2008 11:39:00 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Thank You for your replies. I was hoping I would be able to sell my own version of Xubuntu. I called it "Xubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Spyware Removal Edition." I wanted to make it because a lot of people have spyware on htere computers and there computers won't boot anymore. But if you put Linux of some kind on hte computer it will dualboot (if you want it to) and you can boot to Linux. Well then on the CD there will be a setup file of Spybot Search and Destroy where it will find the spyware and kill it, and then you can boot perfectly back to Windows. And they might even like Linux so much there keep there dualboot or wipe out Windows. Give me a reply if you like my idea.
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alpinesatan.com
Joined Dec 01, 2007
Posts: 639
Location:London, England

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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 12:33:15 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
[quote=computerfreak] I called it "Xubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Spyware Removal Edition.".[/quote] dont quote me but i dont think you can edit the program and re distribute it under the same name.

OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, not forgetting fedora :D

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computerfreak
Joined Dec 31, 2007
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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 2:06:13 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
If I wanted to redistribute the disk under the same name I would have to get Linux's permission? I don't want to cause any harm I just want to help people with there computers. Any ideas for names then? I picked Xubuntu because its such a light OS. Maybe should I go for DSL and rename it? What should I do then?
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stormchaser-Mad dog of GileaD-
Joined Jan 02, 2008
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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 3:03:24 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
"Linux" is not a company. There are many different distros made by different people independently and on their own time. Debian, my favourite, was made by Debra and Ian. See? If you're just going to modify it, then you'll want to use the same name(i.e. Xubuntu - Unofficial whatever edition), and make sure everyone knows that it's unofficial.

RE:This is Sparta! ~~~~

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computerfreak
Joined Dec 31, 2007
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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 3:19:42 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
So I should name my version Xubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Unofficial Spyware Removal Edition?
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stormchaser-Mad dog of GileaD-
Joined Jan 02, 2008
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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 6:38:18 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Yes, that would work.

RE:This is Sparta! ~~~~

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computerfreak
Joined Dec 31, 2007
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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 9:37:13 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Thanks Guys
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alpinesatan.com
Joined Dec 01, 2007
Posts: 639
Location:London, England

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Posted: Jan 03, 2008 9:54:38 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
no worries. This you should read for your benefit. http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html Kind Regards p.s keep us informed :D

OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, not forgetting fedora :D

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Shashank Sharma
Joined Jan 01, 1970
Posts: 1657
Location:New Delhi, India

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Posted: Jan 06, 2008 4:39:40 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
It maybe too late now, but I'd like to contribute to this thread as well. No single entity owns any Linux distribution. So, you, me or anybody can distribute it. You can also sell for any amount a distribution you make. Or you can just sell any existing distribution. But, you can't make profit from selling any distribution made by someone else. That you can't do. So you can't open a store and simply sell Linux distributions for profit. Asking for a nominal amount is acceptable, as long as you're not making a hefty profit. As per naming, you don't have to put Unofficial in the name, since you're already calling your product Xubuntu Spyware Removal. So you're not the same as the original Xubuntu. Just always clarify that you're not associated with the original Xubuntu, just that your product is based on it. Now, I strongly suggest you confirm this with the Xubuntu team. Also, where creating a derivative product is concerned, you must ensure you're not violating any copyrights/trademarks etc. For instance, without permission, you can't use the Xubuntu logo or the Ubuntu logo in your project. These things are always complicated so I strongly suggest you discuss this with the Xubuntu team. Don't worry, they won't feel threatened and they'll happily assist if you ask them :) Good luck and cheers!

Coauthor of Beginning Fedora: From Novice to Professional published by Apress.

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alpinesatan.com
Joined Dec 01, 2007
Posts: 639
Location:London, England

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Posted: Jan 06, 2008 6:42:15 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Thats a great insight! I will bear this in mind when choosing a host for my LFS. Thanks

OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, not forgetting fedora :D

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tonytraductor
Joined Jan 10, 2008
Posts: 3
Location:new haven, ct

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Posted: Jan 10, 2008 10:03:24 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
I created my own distro (Linguas OS / www.linguasos.org), based on PCFluxboxOS, but aimed specifically for the translation industry, and including tools for translators. I changed the artwork and other stuff, but, it is basically PCFluxboxOS underneath, just with slightly different packages (removed some stuff, added others, slid in a few little scripts and stuff), and new artwork. Of course, I'm not selling it. Just giving it away. But, I suppose I could sell it. Although, I don't *own* it...The software is all free and free. I could sell the media (CDroms) that carry it...But not the software. I could charge people for the bandwidth to download it, or for CDs, but, I could not charge for the software. I could charge them for my time when I offer support, too. I'm not though. It's just FREE! I do own the name, the website, and my artwork. That's it. One thing, though, I believe that Ubuntu is a registered trademark (the name and logos, not the software), as are Red Hat, Suse, Mandriva, and a few other distros that are maintained by larger corporations. [Modified by: tonytraductor on January 10, 2008 10:04 PM]

http://www.linguasos.org

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Shashank Sharma
Joined Jan 01, 1970
Posts: 1657
Location:New Delhi, India

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Posted: Jan 11, 2008 1:34:42 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Like I said, you're free to sell it, and you're free to charge for the service (downloading it, burning to disk, etc.) but you can't make PROFIT out of it.

Coauthor of Beginning Fedora: From Novice to Professional published by Apress.

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Marshall W
Joined Dec 15, 2007
Posts: 49
Location:Denton, Texas

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Posted: Jan 19, 2008 8:28:57 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
It may be too late but what do you mean by "Spyware Removal Edition" ? There is a list of Linux viruses on Wikipedia and most of them pose a minimum threat and you could just install ClamWin. My opinion : If you run Linux don't worry about viruses. If you base your OS around nothing but security you end up with Windows.

Answers to your questions : Yes, I am 14. Yes I am smarter than you. Yes I keep a BFG 10k with me at all times.

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alpinesatan.com
Joined Dec 01, 2007
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Location:London, England

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Posted: Jan 19, 2008 11:10:56 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
marshall my garden shed is more secure than windows lol the focus on security is what has made linux soo bullet proof, programers all over the world focus on this, myself being one of them. kind regards

OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, not forgetting fedora :D

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Marshall W
Joined Dec 15, 2007
Posts: 49
Location:Denton, Texas

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Posted: Jan 20, 2008 2:09:21 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
What I meant by that was that if you base your OS around security you get a lot of security with numerous flaws. Linux has great security but it is not all about security unlike Windows.

Answers to your questions : Yes, I am 14. Yes I am smarter than you. Yes I keep a BFG 10k with me at all times.

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Miltonguyphil
Joined Jan 20, 2008
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Posted: Jan 20, 2008 9:36:56 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Microsoft may be "about" security but like alpinesatan put very well, it isn't secure in any way shape or form. Nor is it reliable!
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alpinesatan.com
Joined Dec 01, 2007
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Location:London, England

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Posted: Jan 20, 2008 1:22:08 PM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
lol, i kinda see what you mean, or at least i think i do. But the way i see it microsoft put added emphasis on security and adding the likes of "windows defender" thats just another app using your system resources, unlike linux where you dont even know its there. kind regards

OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, not forgetting fedora :D

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Joined Jan 02, 2014
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Posted: Mar 24, 2008 10:53:37 AM
Subject: Can I Sell Linux Distros Legally?
Is a copycat, by any other name, still a copycat? There is an article on EWeek that discusses the goal of the new RedHat CEO to keep focused on OpenSource software. In this article, the author makes a point to discuss difficulties RedHat must face, particularly 'Copycats' or groups who duplicate RedHat's work and redistribute it. Two of the 'Copycats' mentioned are Oracle and CentOS. Both are groups who have taken the RedHat distribution and re-distributed and re-branded it with a different name and with different purposes. Oracle has re-branded RedHat distro and sells support for it on their own, in a bid to profit from that product. On the other side, CentOS has also re-branded RedHat's distro but offers no paid support and does not sell it, but offers it for free. Since the distro being copied falls under ( primarily) the GPL, it is perfectly legal to "copy" it. So there really isn't a legal wrongdoing here, but an ethical wrong is being suggested. In the case of one for-profit company, relabeling another company's product then making a profit from that, I can see where some would come to that conclusion of being 'ethically' wrong. If not wrong, certainly not a move that will gain Oracle many friends. ( Edit: Oracle does NOT charge for their version of Re-branded RHEL, only for support.) CentOS recognizes that the distro is free to redistribute under the GPL, once the company trademarked identifications, etc are removed ( labeling or 'Branding' ). RedHat sells their branded version and offers a different version for free called Fedora. But, the Branded product is indeed also subject to the GPL and the folks at CentOS are not trying to make any money off the deal, per se, merely to make freely available, that which the GPL says is able to be shared as such. So, one can pay RedHat for their branded distro and pay for support beyond that to have their Linux run smoothly. Or , one can download Oracles re-branded RedHat distro for free and pay Oracle for support beyond that to have their Linux run smoothly. OR, one may download CentOS's re-branded RedHat distro for free and do some research and homework to have their Linux run smoothly. CentOS might be seen as a modern day Robin Hood, albeit not legally 'stealing' from the rich to give to the poor, but the scerio is close enough to make the comparison. The reason, as I have read thus far, on CentOS's part wasn't to release a re-branded Distro in order to compete, but it was legally obligated to remove the trademarked "RedHat" branding and images, etc from the distro and replace them with something in order to be legally responsible and still provide a product that is recognized as a leader in the Linux industry without having to pay high costs upfront for it. Essentially making the RedHat product available to everyone, without the support being available for it. Mind you, an entire support industry has popped up in the form of books, internet forums and other means to provide support and CentOS/RedHat directly benefits from this as RedHat is one of the most commonly used distros authors use to base their teaching examples on. Oracle on the other hand, is doing the same, only they are charging for their support and "extras". No matter how you re-brand it, it is indeed RedHat's distro. Both Oracle and CentOS know this. It's all open source and free, in more ways than one. Both of their methods are 'legal' based on the GPL. Most people, from the start, observed that Oracles move is not largely viewed as 'ethically' right. CentOS is not seen by most as "ethically' wrong because they charge no money, despite RedHat, if it wanted a 'free' version of their top drawer product, would have provided one.
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