[buug] GPL & selling preconfigured machines
rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Aug 16 07:36:41 PDT 2002
Quoting Mark Hedges (hedges at ucsd.edu):
> Will the GPL get in the way of me buying old computers, rigging
> them with Linux and then selling them as cheap Internet stations?
> I know I cannot charge on the invoice for the operating system,
> but can I charge a labor fee for setting it up? How's that work?
You're imagining a problem where there isn't one. Relevant parts of the
Section 1. "...You may charge a fee for the physical act of
transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty
protection in exchange for a fee."
Section 3. "You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on
it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms
of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the
a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;
b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
customarily used for software interchange; or,
c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer
to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is
allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you
received the program in object code or executable form with such
an offer, in accord with Subsection b above."
Taken as a whole, these provisions nowhere prevent you from charging on
the invoice for the operating system. At most, that would only preclude
you from satisfying the obligation of offering source code access under
section 3c, leaving you with you choice of the 3a or 3b methods.
If you don't want to take my word for this (and the evidence of your own
eyes, in reading the GPL text), then you might want to seek confirmation
on the Free Software Business mailing list. http://www.crynwr.com/fsb/
"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube, forum3000.org
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