[Wolves] GPL discussion/thing

Andy Wootton andy.wootton at wyrley.demon.co.uk
Fri Jul 22 21:58:52 BST 2005

Kevanf1 wrote:

>On 22/07/05, David Goodwin <dg at clocksoft.com> wrote:
>>I believe the GPL allows you to sell any software licensed under it. If
>>software is derived from the GPL it has to be licensed under a GPL
>>compatible license......
>Maybe I have it wrong but I honestly did not think you were allowed to
>sell GPL derived software.  That being the reason that Linux distro's
>that are sold i.e. commercial ones like SuSE can only charge for
>manuals, disks, packaging and support not for the software itself. 
>That is other than commercial software bundled with it.
I've struggled with this for a long time. I think that you are allowed 
too but it isn't possible. RMS always says that you can sell GPL'd 
software so I wondered why noone does. The fact is though that your 
first customer can give it away free if they want (or maybe for half the 
price to share the cost.) This 'competition' tends to bring the price of 
software down towards the cost of distribution; lower if you know a 
cosmonaut willing to pay the p+p. If you make the price to the first 
customer too high then noone buys it because they know it will be 
cheaper later. The model means that you can't make a decent income out 
of selling multiple copies of software. I believe Stallman intended this 
to be a consequence of the GPL. It fits in with his (Marxist?) beliefs 
that you should be rewarded for your labour, not what you produce. 
Therefore you have to sell services if you want an income. I suspect 
that he doesn't make this explicit because he lives in the USA where a 
Commie OS might not go down too well.

Please correct me if I'm wrong because I've worked this out for myself 
from conficting information, using my negligible understanding of 
history, economics and politics.

If I've got it right then the long term implications are quite worrying. 
Does Linux have the same future in store as Russia after Marx? Who is 
the Stalin waiting to corrupt the ideal? Have I taken the analogy too 


More information about the Wolves mailing list