Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

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xdragonfly
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Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by xdragonfly »

I am currently working with several friends on building a derivative of Debian Linux. I am a bit confused about the licensing of such work though. Since Linux is an open source work, and many distributions are built off of the original works of another, can you build both a standard (free) edition and a commercialized (at cost) edition? I know that many Linux Distributions have this, but reading through open source licensing, I am confused as to how this works. Thanks for any information.

xd

J.Byrne
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by J.Byrne »

You can't build a comercial version if your doing somthing debian based you'l have to distribute it with the same laws and permissions as debian.

Useful link:
http://www.gnu.org/

Really though, if you can't understand how the liscensing works, your not ready to make your own distro.

xdragonfly
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by xdragonfly »

Actually, I spoke to someone at Debian who was able to clarify things.
We are now working on moving forward with things as planned.

Thanks for the link anyway.

xd

Rob Jansen
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by Rob Jansen »

Most of the distributions are free.

The cost come from customer support.

damian
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by damian »

Yes support. Or you are allowed to charge for media/packaging. I'm not sure if its legal to profit from this though.

RentedMule
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by RentedMule »

GPL is allowed to be sold for money. Even if it is repackaged (aside from copyright/trademark issues from media), you can sell it. You just have to make available the source of the GPL sources your project uses to those who you distribute it to. For a linux distro, that would include all GNU tools and the kernel, at least. You can, however, distribute your own closed source binaries in said distro, without having to give up any code.

damian
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by damian »

Are you sure that's correct. They are the "free software foundation" for a reason.

pkubaj
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by pkubaj »

Are you going to share results of your work? What are the main differences from Debian? Personnally, I use Debian and would be interested in beta testing.

RentedMule
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by RentedMule »

Yes, I am sure. I deal with it all of the time.

"Free" in their context means "Freedom", not free as in "no cost"

xdragonfly
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Re: Building a Linux Distribution [Licensing Question]

Post by xdragonfly »

RentedMule wrote:Yes, I am sure. I deal with it all of the time.

"Free" in their context means "Freedom", not free as in "no cost"
RentedMule, I really appreciate you taking the time to clarify all of this.
That was our concern, we do have a lot of our own code that we wanted to keep closed source.
The kernel and basic features of the OS will remain open source as usual.

Thanks again,

xd

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