[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Suse Products legal?

On Sunday 01 December 2002 12:34 pm, Hanspeter Roth wrote:
> Suse is selling several products such as `SuSE Firewall on CD' which
> are based on Linux and probably other tools under Gnu-license. Their
> price (> 1000 Euro) is much beyond the cost of media and manual.
> Shouldn't they offer products based on Gnu-software by conditions
> based on Gnu-license?
> Are their products legal?

Sounds perfectly legal to me from your description, though I haven't seen the 
CD, and I am not a lawyer.

Nothing in the GPL says you can't charge whatever you want for your 
distribution.  Furthermore, proprietary software can be distributed on the 
same disk as the GPL'd software.  They must, however, provide source (or an 
easy way to get it) for all the GPL'd code included. They also can't link 
their proprietary code into the GPL'd code (they can do this for LGPL'd 
code), and they can't be selling proprietary software *derived* from the 
GPL'd code.  (and "derived" does not mean "calls", "can be linked to", or 
"distributed on the same disk as".  It *does* include "already linked to and 
distributed as binary".  LGPL further allows distributing linked code, so 
long as the source for the LGPL'd part is included).

The motivation for not paying SuSE in this case is market-based -- you could 
always get the free software from somewhere else.   Of course, for corporate 
users, SuSE has done a service no doubt, by collecting and configuring the 
software for you, possibly providing tech support etc. So for some people, it 
might be worth it.  You can, of course, copy the GPL'd stuff on the disk as 
much as you like -- there may be proprietary stuff on it too, though -- you'd 
have to read the license they give you for the distribution.


Terry Hancock ( hancock at anansispaceworks.com )
Anansi Spaceworks  http://www.anansispaceworks.com

"Python takes the pain out of programming ...
            ... and Zope puts it back again."

Reply to: