Question of legality
I posted another forum on this site about this idea, however I wanted to keep that discussion confined within it's own boundaries. I can't post links aperantly, so just search for SOHO in foums and the title is "What is the best firewall distro/application for SOHO users?"
After reading that post, could there be any foreseen legality issues with using linux or other open source software in that context? The reason I ask is because I know linux is open source, free to use by whomever, whenever, however, but I don't know if that includes using it as a third party to manage a businesses network.
Effectively the client would buy the hardware themselves(it would be their gateway), I would install the software on it, take it to them, plug it in, and go from there. Chances are I would sign a contract with them for some time period, and manage the network as a contractor. I do not know if using linux in this sense is allowed because I know I can't sell linux CD's for instance to somebody for a profit because it is open source. This is where I would appreciate a clearer line being drawn if anybody has any experience on this subject.
There are some serious misunderstandings here.
1. You can sell Linux systems (as firewalls or whatever) for $$, as long as you make the source code available for the appropriate parts. Software that you develop from scratch does not need to be made available as source code (usually).
2. You can sell Linux CDs if you want, at least to recover your costs + whatever traffic will bear.
The entire point of open source software is not that you are forbidden to make a business of selling/supporting it, but that you abide by the appropriate licenses. In most cases, that means you must make the source code available to your customers, either on-line, or on request via snail-mail.
You should visit the Free Software Foundation for more information about the various GPL liceneses (Free Software Foundation), or the Open Source Initiative (Mission | Open Source Initiative).