Mark Rafn wrote:
> On Wed, 2 Aug 2000, Rene Mayrhofer wrote:
> > That is exactly what I mean: if somebody sells his knowledge, his time
> > by selling support then he does not directly make profit with the ISO
> > images that are distributed freely. He/she makes his profit because
> > others use the freely distributed ISO images and he/she has the
> > knowledge about configuring it. And that is totally ok.
> But if someone sells their knowledge about finding software, transferring
> it to CDROM, and mailing the result, that's not ok? I really don't get
There is really not much knowledge needed to start a cd-burning program under
windows, give it a file and press on "Burn". Compare this to the knowledge that
somebody need to actively support a firewall setup at companies.
> How about other distribution methods that could carry a fee? I once
> considered putting together a priority FTP mirror co-op. Would it be
> legal for me to make your ISO image available on a for-pay network or on a
> pay-for-download basis? How about on a dvdrom or Jaz drive rather than
> cdrom? What if it's bundled on those media with other software? How
> about preinstalled on a system?
That would also be not ok because you would use the "official" Gibraltar ISO
images and sell them for profit. It does not make any difference if you burn it
on CD or if you charge for downloading them. On a DVD or Jaz it won't work
without modification so you would need to create new images with the packages
from the current one (and this would be allowed, the content of the image is
protected by the GPL). Only the layout of the ISO image could be protected, not
I did not think about preinstalled systems until now, the reason why I contacted
debian-legal was because of my bad knowledge of licenses.
> In any case, it's clearly not free if you can't freely distribute it, so
> probably inappropriate for further discussion on debian-legal.
I think that it is appropriate because it is based on Debian. I do not want to
conflict with any of Debian's licenses (I have applied to become a maintainer a
year ago), this is why I have contacted this list. The ISO images will not be
*free as in speech*, but all of the software that was used to build them already
is or will be (I am preparing Debian source packages at the moment - mkinitrd-cd
is already in woody and it's one of the most important parts of the boot
I want to produce free, GPLed software that can be used to build embedded
firewall systems (a whole system on a CD-ROM is kind of embedded), but I need
some income to be able to do so. At the moment, I am trying to make money with
selling pre-configured CD-ROMs that contain everything needed to build a router
/ firewall. As a service to home users I really want to provide the latest
versions for *free as in beer* download.
The question to all license experts is now: Can I take GPLed software (including
my own GPLed packages specifically written for live, read-only filesystems) from
Debian and publish ISO images with an license that restricts selling those
particular ISO images (thus protecting the layout of them) ?
I think that the question really is if the GPL contains some paragraphs that
force every special layout of the combination of software packages to be
distributed freely. The BSD license does not seem to demand this, since OpenBSD
does not distribute their official ISO images for free. And I think that older
RedHat releases also did not come with a free ISO image, only RedHat's own tools
were distributed under the GPL.
Can it be that I am allowed to not give away my ISO image of GPLed software when
I distribute CD-ROMs, but that I can not say "I want to publish a version for
free but with some restrictions on the redistribution of the ISO image"
Could somebody answer these last questions please ? I really do not want to
conflict with Debian's licenses. If I have no chance to distribute ISO images
for free but with restrictions for commercially selling them, then I can not
afford to publish them. I would have to take the ISO images off my server and
would only be able to publish the software packages I write for constructing
such systems (under the GPL). But that would be of no use to the users, these
packages will only help experts building embedded systems.