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Old 05-25-2005, 04:03 AM   #31
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Originally posted by crinklestein
Excellent! Thanks for the link. I will definitely be notifying them about this. I agree that it is reprehensible for them to take years worth of work that was done for FREE and then simply slap a logo over it and copyright the whole thing. I have been spreading the word about this and will continue to do so. I belong to alot of message boards.
I don't understand the part of 'copyright'. Which part of the CD contents is 'copyrighted'?

I can understand the trademark and it is easy to remove all the trademark as long as all source codes/images are in the CD (and this is guaranted since the CD is under GPL).

So, according to GPL none of the codes (binary/source) in CD should be copyrighted. And I think this is the reason why Nvidia binary should not be included in the distribution CD. However, the user (not the distributor) can download and install in his system and this is not in violation since this is not the act of distribution but act of using the system.

If I can do like what Mepis can do, I can grab popular distro and start writing 'copyrighted' modules all over the place in the CD such that without it the CD is useless. Then in effect, I can take control of the whole CD as 'partly' propietary since noone is able to use it without coming back to me for the copyrighted part. And of course if I can do all this I can put my price tag as much as I want.

Maybe someone who is expert in GPL can shed some light on this issue?

Old 05-27-2005, 10:06 PM   #32
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The Mepis name and logo is copyrighted material, therefore not covered under the GPL. They can legally demand you remove it from sold copies of the software.

Their OS Control Center is their own proprietary component and they can legally demand you remove that as well before selling the distro.

The balance of the distro is GNU GPL covered software so you can pretty much do whatever you want wiith it.

It basically boils down to a copyright case. As they own the rights to the name "Mepis" they have the right to demand you cease making a profit using that name. It really isn't in compliance with the spirit of the GPL but it would likely hold up in court.

If it were me, I'd use a fully GPL compliant distro like Debian or Slackware to build a distro for sale. Been thinking about doing that myself.
Old 05-28-2005, 04:39 PM   #33
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Or, sell Centos (a RHEL knockoff), or become a Novell vendor! I do like the idea of stabbing Mepis back by removing the non-GPL-compliant components and introducing a new distribution, stating that it is based on Mepis' GPL contributions (remember, you HAVE to credit the contributors!!) - it will piss them off but totally legal and will teach them a good lesson. It would be a fair bit of work but then you'll have the last laugh, and a great project to cite on your resume.

Last edited by KimVette; 05-28-2005 at 04:47 PM.
Old 05-29-2005, 12:52 AM   #34
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Originally posted by masonm
The Mepis name and logo is copyrighted material, therefore not covered under the GPL. They can legally demand you remove it from sold copies of the software.

Their OS Control Center is their own proprietary component and they can legally demand you remove that as well before selling the distro.
I still don't understand that part where Mepis can put proprietary component into the same CD that contains GPL software.

If this is the case, I can write my own software (non-GPL) that uses MySQL and distribute my software + MySQL in a single CD. How nice would that be?

But, I checked MySQL site quite sometime ago and learn that:

1. I can use MySQL on my website back-end server free of charge (GPL).
2. I can distribute CD that contains MySQL and any software that is also GPL in a CD.
3. I can distribute my software and MySQL together as long as my software is also GPL.

Could someone clarify on this?

If Mepis can do it legally, it means MySQL doesn't play fair.
If MySQL is right, it means Mepis should not distribute the control center together with GPL codes in single CD.

Or did I miss something here?
Old 05-29-2005, 05:45 AM   #35
Registered: Mar 2005
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Why can't you just give written credits to Mepis for their proprietary software, Debian for the OS and, of course include a copy of the GPL, and clearly state you are charging a reasonable fee for the copying, handling and shipping effort? This would strictly be a labor charge for processing since you aren't selling the software itself. Is this legal enough? This thread got kind of confusing after a while.

Last edited by isd2301; 05-29-2005 at 05:47 AM.
Old 05-29-2005, 01:49 PM   #36
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I thought you could sell it, if you're not charging for the distribution, but if you charge for the cd it should be legal.

Just say 3 cds that happen to contain mandrake cd 1 2 and 3 on them.
Old 06-22-2005, 06:32 PM   #37
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Mepis is not free anymore.

When I first started selling mepis on my website I did it the legal way. I went to to find out If I can sell it. It was under GPL and I was able to sell it. And the website wrote the Mepis name and Logo is TM and you can't sell it without permission. And at that time around Feb of 2005 has a email that you can apply for permission to use the Mepis name and Logo. Here is how the permission list from

1. Your name and address.

2. Your Phone and Email.

3. Where you plan to sell it.

4. I m requesting to use the MEPIS name and logo for
the purpose of selling CDs.

5. I agree to display this statement on each CD
containing MEPIS Linux and prominently on any web
pages or printed collateral related to your sale of
MEPIS Linux CDs: "Please support MEPIS Linux by
registering your copy at:" On
web pages, the link to MEPIS must be active.

6. I will clearly label each CD regarding the version
of MEPIS Linux it contains.

7. That I will not imply that you are an official
representative of MEPIS LLC and that you will not make
misleading statements about your relationship with
MEPIS and MEPIS Linux.

8. That I will hold MEPIS LLC and MEPIS Linux harmless
for any problems arising out of your sale of MEPIS

9. That if I violate the terms of this agreement, I
will immediately stop using the MEPIS name and logo if
asked to do so.

So I applied and have the right to use the logo and name.
And all of sudden, a company call said they are the only allowed commercial reseller said NO, You were NEVER allowed to use Mepis name and Logo. And wanted me to signup as a reseller for them and giving me 50% off. And I was thinking, what about the OPENOFFICE and GIMP that Mepis put with the CD they are selling? OPENOFFICE and GIMP don't get pay from mepis and why is that mepis claim it is GNU GPL?? But charges $40.00 for it?? And you can't sell it for a profit?? I think they just trying to get people to do free coding and said it is GNU GPL so people around the world will help them to code for free. Then suddenly they change it to TM and claims the copyright. This is worst then MS, because at least MS paid their programmers. Mephis should be a shame!!!
Old 06-29-2005, 03:57 PM   #38
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They cant to jack. Look @ ebay, its full of people selling linux distros, but they never go for more than 1.50... Alot of websites charge you that much for putting it on a disk. Your simply charging for the Hardware, also, look @ Linspire, there click and run service is $50 a year, to download free, open source software :S i dont see them getting Bi*ched at.
Old 06-29-2005, 05:00 PM   #39
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Just because you have software that is GPL'd on your CD doesn't mean you can't also have proprietary software on it. All the GPL basically says is this: You can't re-license this particular peice of software and You must provide the source if you distribute GPL'd software. Having one piece of GPL'd software on a distribution does force the GPL on every other piece of software. The Mepis CD doesn't have to have the source, but you must be able to get the source from the Mepis people on request (which you can).

It is perfectly ok to add some proprietary software to a linux distribution, put your logo's all over it, and charge for it. It is also Ok for them to say nobody else can distribute anythign and use there name.

People often are confused on this issue, but not once in the GPL license does it ever say you cannot make oney off GPL'd software.


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