Mark Rafn wrote:
> On Wed, 2 Aug 2000, Rene Mayrhofer wrote:
> > What I would like to have is some sort of protection for the ISO image
> > itself.
> Umm. Why? If you allow redistribution (which you must, because YOU are
> distributing based on permission granted you by the GPL), why restrict
> what is probably the most benign form of redistriution?
> > If somebody takes all the files from the CD-ROM, organizes them in any way and
> > creates his/her own ISO image, then it's absolutely ok. Because when somebody
> > does this, it might get me some contributions or ideas on how to improve
> > Gibraltar.
> What if someone takes all the files on the CDROM, adds one file, and
> creates her own ISO Image? And then a third someone takes that image,
> removes one file, and creates HIS own ISO image? Is someone in violation
> of your license?
No, that would be allowed. It is really not that easy to build a live filesystem
on CD-ROM, the image creation parameters must be correct, the correct symlinks
must be there, etc...
Only having all the files that are on the CD-ROM is not enough. If somebody is
able to create his/her own live CD-ROM similiar to what the official Gibraltar
images are then I do not have problems with it. Because when this happens, I
expect that some contributions get back to Gibraltar.
> It seems to me that allowing a modified distribution logically demands
> that you allow an unmodified distribution.
This is the point that I would like to have verified. I read the GPL and I do
not know how this can be answered. BTW, what exactly is the license of the
official Debian ISO images ?
But when somebody creates his/her own ISO image, then it would not really be a
modified distribution, but a new one. The ISO image itself can not really be
modified, you have to create a new one if you want something changed (the ISO
filesystem is not writeable).
> > And I definitely do not want to restrict the usage of the images in any way.
> Except the use of "burn onto CD and give to someone, perhaps in exchange
> for a fee" ;)
But that would not be "using" them in the first instance. I interpret "use" as
work with it, use it to perform some task, use it to solve some problem. Burning
them on CD and selling them means to me that those doing this are not really
using the images, but earning money with other people using them. I don't know
if I could express what I think.
> > Non-commercial and commercial institutions should be able to use the
> > images for whatever they want (if they use it for themselves). The
> > only point that I would like to have restricted is that some company
> > takes my ISO images, puts them on CD-ROMs and sells the CD-ROMs
> > without contributing anything.
> Selling CDROMs of free software IS contributing. It makes it easier for
> the end user to acquire the software. It's morally equivalent to
> adding a trivial front-end install script and distributing the result.
I can not completely agree with this. With the current price of CD recorders,
selling an already freely distributed ISO images is not really contributing to
the community. It would be when support is sold with the CD-ROMs (e.g. 30 day
email support after buying it). And this is what I plan to do: sell a bundle of
the "official" CD-ROMs including a printed manual and support.
> If you like, consider it "bundling the software (ISO image) with the
> hardware (CDROM) that stores and transports the bits".
> > I do not want any company to make money
> > with my work without Gibraltar profiting in some way.
> Bizarre. And contrary to the spirit of free software. And not even what
> your license does. You seem to want to prevent anyone but yourself from
> profiting by the distribution of CDs that contain your product, but are
> happy to have users profit by the use of your product. Neither
> contributes to Gibraltar. Why restrict one and not the other?
The use of the product conributes to Gibraltar by generating bug reports and
this is very important to me. I only have 5 different machine types to test
Gibraltar on and without the input of users I will be unable to make it boot on
a broad range of hardware.
But I can not see how a company distributing CD-ROMs commercially contributes to
the development of Gibraltar. If I am able to sell CD-ROMs, then this will
contribute to it because it enables me to work on it. Does it really contribute
if some other company sells them ?
> Fundamentally, if you want to profit from distribution of your software,
> don't call it free.
I only want to distributed the ISO images *free as in beer*. The contents of the
images are *free as in speech*. How can I make it (by wording) clear that I want
to distinguish between the content and the image itself ?
> > If somebody
> > sells support for Gibraltar and gives the Gibraltar CD-ROMs away for
> > free, it's ok, because then he/she will probably find errors, report
> > bugs or make suggestions for improvements. If somebody only sells the
> > CD-ROMs, it's not ok.
> What if they sell "support" in the form of a guarantee that they'll
> replace the CD if it's a defective burn? Or in the form of a jewel case
> to hold the CDROM?
With support I mean helping the user with configuring and maintaining the
> > In reality, I want a situation in some way similiar to what OpenBSD does: they
> > give away everything they write, but sell the CD-ROMs.
> Important distinction - they ALSO allow others to sell/copy/distribute the
Quoting from the OpenBSD homepage (http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq3.html):
3.1.2 - Does OpenBSD provide an ISO image available for download?
You can't. The official OpenBSD CD-ROM layout is copyright Theo de Raadt, as an
incentive for people to buy the CD set. Note that only the layout is
copyrighted, OpenBSD itself is free. Nothing precludes someone else to just grab
OpenBSD and make their own CD.
I only want to do something similiar, "only the layout is copyrighted, Gibraltar
itself is free". I know that most of the tools that come with OpenBSD are under
the BSD license, while most of the Debian tools are under the GPL. Does this
make it impossible to copyright the layout of an ISO image ?
And if I can copyright it, don't I -as the copyright holder- have the right to
be a bit less restrictive then Theo de Raadt by making them available for
download for *free as in beer* ?
> > extensively enhanced web interface and support) but want to prevent companies
> > from selling this work that I am giving away for free (hey, it's more than a
> > year of my free time) without me getting anything.
> Is this purely motivated by jealosy? You don't make any money when I pay
> my ISP so I can download your ISO. You don't make any money when I give
> my friend 5 beers to download and burn it for me. You don't make any
> money when I buy it from Joe's Free Software Clearing House. I can't see
> the difference from your perspective.
Please don't make it personal.
The difference is that you pay your ISP not only for downloading Gibraltar and
your friend will not do that 1000 times. A company commercially producing and
selling CDs will do.
> > Another example is Debian itself: There are some restrictions on what can be
> > done with "official" and "non-official" ISO images (I think only the logo
> > matters, but the principle is the same). I want something in that direction.
> You can use similar restrictions as Debian. That does not inclue a
> restriction on distribution, whether for profit or not.
I only mentioned Debian as an example where there is some distinction between
the "official" image produced by Debian itself and other images produced using
the same contents as the "official" image.
> > What can I do to stay compatible with the mostly GPL-ed content of ISO
> > images ? Do I have the possibility to say "use it in any way, do with
> > the content what you want but do not sell CD-ROMs produced with the
> > official Gibraltar ISO-images" ?
> I suspect (and hope) you can't stay compatible with GPL software if you
> restrict distribution of the collection. If your work is seperable from
> all GPL stuff in such a way that you can simply treat your work as
> no-charge proprietary software, you can write whatever license you want,
> but it's not free software, and it's not GPL-compatible.
I do not want to restrict the GPL software that is on the images, I only want to
restrict the images (which contain GPLed code but are not GPLed themselves).
Which paragraph of the GPL prevents such a restriction ? I read it several times
but I am not sure on the meaning of some of the points (I am not a license
The "collection" itself, the official Gibraltar images could be seen as the
The purpose of the license should only be to enable me to develop Gibraltar
further. I can not do this if a company takes the images and sells CD-ROMs
because then the concept of "being better and faster than the competitor" does
not work. If somebody takes the sowftare packages from the CD-ROM (they are
already available with Debian and my own work software packages will soon be)
and produces something better than Gibraltar, then he/she deserves the profit.
If he/she only takes what is already there and sells it then I will have no
chance on earning enough to work on further versions of Gibraltar.