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So I read the gpl, and I love the free software ideaology. But I also noticed that developers are encouraged to charge money for their software under the liscense. If ...
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  1. #1
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    GNU GPL question


    So I read the gpl, and I love the free software ideaology. But I also noticed that developers are encouraged to charge money for their software under the liscense. If I developed a new Linux distro and put it under the gnu gpl and charge $50 for it, what's stopping Joe Schmoe from buying a copy, then reselling it for only $40? Or giving it away for free? I don't know about you guys, but I'd get pretty angry if that happened.

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    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow34 View Post
    So I read the gpl, and I love the free software ideaology. But I also noticed that developers are encouraged to charge money for their software under the liscense. If I developed a new Linux distro and put it under the gnu gpl and charge $50 for it, what's stopping Joe Schmoe from buying a copy, then reselling it for only $40? Or giving it away for free? I don't know about you guys, but I'd get pretty angry if that happened.
    That's the whole point of free software! If you want to sell something, you have to give it enough added value for people to think it's worth buying. If you set a reasonable price and complain publicly if Joe Schmoe sells it for less, it's quite likely that people won't buy his pirate version. But if you charge an excessively high price, people will go to Joe Schmoe instead. That's pure capitalism as described by Adam Smith. GPL allows fair competition; it doesn't allow you to stifle competition by using "intellectual property".
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

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    oz
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    Hello and welcome aboard!

    I think most of the vendors that try to profit from LInux products attempt to do so by offering tech support for a fee rather than trying to sell the distribution itself. Some vendors do sell various distributions on disks or flash drives, but those fees are generally designed to recover the costs of any blank disks or drives, and any postage & handling. There is always a chance of someone else selling the same distro on CD/DVD disks or flash drives for a lesser price.
    oz

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    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    Welcome to LinuxForums!

    To give an example on what oz said, take a look at RHEL and CentOS.
    They are the same system, but CentOS removes the Red Hat logos and branding. You can install either OS and get the exact same result.
    But there's one major difference... RHEL requires a paid subscription for tech support and access to the RH software repos. The software is of course freely available from other sources, in source code and pre-compiled binary format. But having a dedicated support line that you can call should something go wrong in your production environment may justify the subscription fee.
    Jay

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