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Selling Free Software

 
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Shredder



Joined: 28 Apr 2002
Posts: 10
Location: Fresno, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 9:08 am    Post subject: Selling Free Software Reply with quote

Hi
I noticed everybody fighting over weather or not it is legal to sell open-source software that is published under the GNU General Public Licence.

Well, just to put everybody to rest (or wake the subject up to more arguing, I suppose) here is the answer:

Selling GPL'ed software is not only legal, it's encouraged.
When you see "free software" think "free speech, not free beer".
What the GPL is for is that the source code is available to those who buy the software. The source code can be freely distributed and modified with NO restrictions at all. Anybody who has the software can give it away for free or charge a billion dollers for it.

Here is how the Free Software Foundation puts it:
"...the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) has no requirements about how much you can charge for distributing a copy of free software. You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It's up to you, and the marketplace, so don't complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.
"


I encourage everybody who took part in the argument over the GPL to read the following article, as published by the Free Software Foundation themselves, at the official GNU website.

---- http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
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orudge
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Joined: 07 Oct 2001
Posts: 1332
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't sell GPLed software. However, you can charge for the media, postage or whatever which contains the software - if I was to create a Seal Compilation CD, with SEAL, FreeDOS and various other things (hey, good idea! My GEM Collection CD never got very far though, for various reasons... ), I could charge a reasonable amount for the CD, download time and postage, but I couldn't charge for the software itself.
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Owen Rudge
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Finkelsmak Kvasthuvud



Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 85
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm sorry owen, but you're wrong. you are allowed to _sell_ GPLed software. it's a common misunderstanding that you can't but you can! You don't even have to make the source code availible to other people than the one's you sell the software to (anyone who buys it can give it away for free, though).

it's true (but i REALLY think Seal should be free beer)
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orudge
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Joined: 07 Oct 2001
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really? Oh... Hmmmm, I dunno... I've always interpreted it as the way I posted.. ah well...
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Finkelsmak Kvasthuvud



Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 85
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just read the link that shredder posted:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

it explains it pretty well.
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ganesh



Joined: 11 Jul 2002
Posts: 133
Location: Vancouver, BC, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Off-Topic]
Before it exits my mind, I need to credit that guy above for his clean skin available on his site. Thats what i ripped apart for the preview3.

I am sorry, but I cant get your name. It has a high entropy of letters.
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CronoXG2



Joined: 25 Jun 2002
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually the main dispute was over whether or not you could dynamically link a non-GPL program against a GPLed shared library without having to relicense that program under the GPL.

Anyway, selling some types of software under the GPL isn't always good way to make money off of it, since all the people who buy that software have the freedom to make and sell (or give away) their own copies of the software without limitation unless you use a trademarked name or something else to make it illegal to do so without modifying the software. Of course if you sold your software as proprietary software, the proliferation of illegal pirated copies on the 'net and between friends and neighbors would probably even things out in the home market. As for the business market, you could probably make up for the lack of a per-seat licensing model for the software by selling services (e.g. Warranty, Tech Support, Customized Modifications, etc.) as well.

I think the real problem is that some people don't understand the difference between proprietary and commercial, and that the meaning of the term "selling software" has become too unclear.
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Finkelsmak Kvasthuvud



Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 85
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just for the record, the entropy of my name is 41,5E-22 J/K...

(you now have the permission to kill me...)
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ganesh



Joined: 11 Jul 2002
Posts: 133
Location: Vancouver, BC, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Actually the main dispute was over whether or not you could dynamically link a non-GPL program against a GPLed shared library without having to relicense that program under the GPL.


Yes, this is all very controversial. Thats why LGPL was brought up.

for Ex, If you write an app in SmallDit, it _SHOULD_ be under GPL according to the law. thats called the viral effect of GPL (according to microsoft). The NVidia guys learnt it the hard way.

I think GPL protects ur IP, but the MIT or BSD style licenses are _more_ freedom. Who would want to refuse free beer ??

FK : Was that your cat playing on the keyboard ?
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Amos Vryhof
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Joined: 15 Oct 2001
Posts: 540
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

orudge wrote:
You can't sell GPLed software. However, you can charge for the media, postage or whatever which contains the software -


Looks like you mistook GPL for Freeware.... The above is true for that...
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Amos


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