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Re: Retailing

Joe Smith wrote:

> Kieran Lloyd" wrote:
>> I am considering selling some home made PC's on Ebay, the thing is I
>> want to sell these pre-installed with Debian Linux.
>> Would Debian have any argument with this? I will obviously be
>> advertising that the Pc's have Debian installed however I
>> will not be charging for it I would only be charging a mark up on my
>> hardware. Please advise if this would be acceptable.
> Hello. While the other people to respond have covered your question
> fairly well, I would like to summarize and add a few additional pieces
> of information.
> (Disclaimer: I'm am in no way affiliated with Debian besides being
> just a user. However, I have been lurking on the mailing lists for
> long enough to start to understand how Debian developers feel. So
> while the following may not reflect the offica feelings of Debian, I
> suspect it at least comes close.)
> First of all, Thank you for for choosing Debian GNU/Linux. We
> certainly appreicate that you chose to distibute your computers with a
> free (as in speech) operating system.
> Debian does not object, and even encourages sale of computers with
> Debian GNU/Linux pre-installed. The fact that you intend to include it
> at no additional cost is even better, as it will increase the exposure
> of Free Software. You could even charge for the pre-installation of
> Debian, but personally I would prefer if you did not.

On the other hand, some of us would prefer that you did charge.  I for
one, and the Free Software foundation for another:


I only say this to make it clear that you shouldn't feel at all guilty
about charging if you want to, not to try and say there is anything
wrong with giving it away if you want to either.

It can be argued that people value things more if they have to pay for
them, in which case, if you charge a fee for the software it is more
likely that people will feel that it's worth persevering with using it,
rather than thinking that they didn't pay for it anyway, so if they
don't like it instantly they might as well use whatever their default
operating system is instead.

Not that I want to start a flame war about this -- there's nothing wrong
with giving it away either.

You should be careful not to give the impression that you are charging a
license fee though -- you are allowed to charge a fee for the copy of
the programs, or for the service of installing them, but not for the
licenses (in the case of the GPL software at least, which covers most of
the software in question)

> You noted that you would be advertising the fat that debian GNU/Linux
> was pre-installed. You may wish to use our spiral logo which can be
> found on this page: http://www.debian.org/logos/
> Chris mentioned that you needed to distribute source code. He noted
> that the easiest way was to include the cd forms burned onto
> recordable discs. Please consider also including a copy of the
> 'binary' cds. This will help your customers install parts of the OS
> that they are interested in, that you did not pre-install.

An alternative approach, which may be cheaper for you, would be to
install a partial mirror (i.e. the right architecture & source, probably
using debmirror) on the machine's hard drive.  With the right
sources.list line the user will then be able to install packages without
first hunting down the CD that they will have lost by then ;-)

If at some point in the future they are getting short on disk space,
they can just delete the mirror.

> Thnaks again, and if you have any further questions please email me
> off-list.

Cheers, Phil.

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