View Full Version : some GPL questions...

January 9th, 2007, 08:23 PM
I'm thinking about this... how do you make money off a GPLed program??

i know about paying for support earns lots of companies money on the enterprise side...

but if a company makes a cool program and GPLs it, and wants to make everyone who uses it to pay for it, is that possible? or will everybody just be able to distribute it freely without earning the company any money(except on support... which a lot of ppl will not take...)

Really... this is how MS makes a lot of money... selling windows to customers in the first place... can you do that with a GPLed program??

January 9th, 2007, 09:19 PM
You could... sell the disk for $XX ;) Or sell the download and claim bandwidth and server maintaining fees?

You may actually be able to sell binaries and claim packaging fees... or sell the source itself, I'm not sure, but I know I sometimes sell copies of software for a couple of bucks when I run low on CDs, so I can buy more, but they are paying for the D the software is on, not the software so it's legal.

January 9th, 2007, 09:27 PM

You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

However, you have to also provide source code (see section 3) and note that since it's GPL, people receiving your program have every right to sell/modify/give away your program at their option.

G Morgan
January 9th, 2007, 09:32 PM
In some cases it is less of an issue. You could run an OSS MMORPG for profit quite easily since people would pay for the content. Really it's surprising gaming isn't that big a field for OSS, it's one of the few where you could make a profit directly using OSS.

January 9th, 2007, 10:55 PM
Some OSS projects make money from donations. A more reliable way is to put up some ads on the project website (a popular project can make lots of money that way). Another option is to dual-license the code, and sell a non-free one to interested parties. And of course there is selling support. For projects that work against a server, you can sell that - as G Morgan said above, for an MMORPG that would work.

But it's important not only to know how to make money from OSS software, i.e. "how do I make money even though this is free code", but how making a project OSS can help it succeed, which can lead to making more money. Linden Labs just open-sourced the Second Life client, for example. This will be a great thing for their project - many more people helping to improve it, porting it to other platforms, etc. etc.