Re: Debian in a commercial setting
Scripsit "Conny Brunnkvist" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Conny wants to create an enhanced distribution based on Debian]
> So my questions are, is it legal to do this?
I cannot see anything in what you describe that has any reason not to
be allowed. At least as long as you stick to `main', all the
individual packages are of course free.
As for what "compilation copyright" the Debian project may have on the
entire collection of packages - and this probably varies greatly from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction - there seems to be no official license
statement anywhere on the web site, but it is clearly implied by the
Social Contract that it is made available under terms that at least
fulfil the DFSG.
Thus, you're legally entitled to fork the whole OS - grab the contents
of ftp.debian.org and start your own competing general-purpose
GNU/whatever distribution, as long as you give proper credit to the
You can also do something less hostile, like creating a specialized
distribution targeted for some specific target group, such as you
describe. In fact, the project usually encourages such endeavors. See
question 13.3 in <http://www.debian.org/doc/FAQ/>.
> Is it ok for me to call my version "MySpecial Debian GNU/Linux"
Debian is a registered trademark, but the trademark rights are
managed with a healthy amount of common sense. As long as the name
clearly implies that this is not the real, original, thing, there
should be no problems here. After all we ourselves use the "Linux"
trademarks in the name of Debian GNU/Linux.
Beware, however, from <http://www.debian.org/News/1998/19980306a>:
| To be fair to all businesses, we insist that no business use the
| name "Debian" in the name of the business, or a domain name of the
> Or is it fine if I just pay the respect to the main-branch and write
> something like "Powered by Debian" in the subtitle?
That would unambigously OK.
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I somehow seem to have received this on debian-legal though the list
is not in the To or Cc lines. Does "<email@example.com>" forward to
debian-legal, or was it just Bcc'ed to -legal?
Henning Makholm "Take a sad song, and make it bitter."