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Re: Licensing requirements ???

On Thu, Oct 09, 2003 at 02:01:36PM -0500, Michael D Schleif wrote:
> OK, this is my first foray into a sale-able product, based on `free'
> software.


> I am working with a company that is writing software that is to be sold
> to their customers.  I have specified Debian as the OS on which this all
> runs; so, here I am on this list to learn the ropes of `free' software.
> Other than Debian, the software uses Apache, MySQL and PHP.

You seem to say below that you are using the Debian packages for these.

> My client wants to retain all rights to their software, and is not
> willing to release their software in any `free' software fashion.
> Also, in order to manage problems and maintain SLA's, this software is
> to be sold as an integral piece of a system -- somewhat of a blackbox.
> In other words, their customers will pay one basic price, and receive an
> installed hardware server, on which Debian and software are installed
> turnkey.
> Everything other than the proprietary software is straight DEB
> installed, so their is no issue of distributing modified `free'
> software.  However, the MySQL licensing model seems to indicate that a
> licensing fee is due them; and, I wonder about others.

I am not aware of any MySQL problems; can you give a pointer to
what you are concerned about?

> What are the repercussions to my client, as a result of this model?

One of the advantages of using Debian is that there aren't many
reprocussions -- we attempt (but obviously cannot guarantee) that
you do exactly what you are attempting to do.

Things you should watch out for, however:

 - Don't ship anything from non-free or contrib without checking
   the license carefully.

 - Don't specifically advertise the software you use, or if you do,
   make sure this is allowed by the license.  (I'm thinking of PHP

 - Make sure your proprietary software doesn't link against any GPL
   libraries.  (Run ldd on the binaries, find the package each library
   is in using dpkg -S, and check /usr/share/doc/<pkg>/copyright.)

 - Ship a CD with the source packages corresponding to all the
   binary packages that you install.  This is to fulfill the GPL
   source requirement.  There are other ways to fulfill this
   requirement, but it is _much_ more cost effective to press a
   CD and include it.

 - Remember to provide some way (preferably automatic) for customers
   to install security updates.

There are other things to watch out for, but you not modifying the
source of Debian packages, so it shouldn't matter.


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