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View Full Version : Is this even legal? OpenOffice.org



juice13610
June 8th, 2007, 03:25 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/OpenOffice-2007-Microsoft-Office-2007-COMPATIBLE_W0QQitemZ230139433630QQihZ013QQcategory Z80265QQcmdZViewItem

Is it legal to sell "digital" formats of open source software?
I'd be interested to know if he is delivering an executable or a link to an executable from OpenOffice.org

tgm4883
June 8th, 2007, 03:35 PM
Yep. Doesn't mean he isn't a dirtbag though

DoctorMO
June 8th, 2007, 03:37 PM
Yep, perfectly legal. your allowed to sell copies of open source software 1) because you really selling physical media and 2) because you only have to provide links to the source code unless you modify it.


Yep. Doesn't mean he isn't a dirtbag though

I'm an open source programmer, why would I mind if someone sold my software on CD?

jrusso2
June 8th, 2007, 03:40 PM
Richard Stallman used to sell CD's with Free Software on them. There is nothing to prevent anyone from doing this.

No one has to buy them either as they are available free.

juice13610
June 8th, 2007, 03:44 PM
Just seems deceitful. I doubt many people know when they see OpenOffice they know that its a completely free alternative.

As to being an open source programmer and not caring if people sell your software, I guess that's your business. Im not a programmer by any stretch, but I would hope that if I was creating software to distribute for free I wouldn't want someone else making money off of burning it to a disc.

rich.bradshaw
June 8th, 2007, 03:49 PM
My cousin bought Audacity from ebay for 15, didn't realise it was free.

It's legal - some people don't have the bandwidth for downloading the CD, but you should probably mention it's free.

saulgoode
June 8th, 2007, 04:01 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/OpenOffice-2007-Microsoft-Office-2007-COMPATIBLE_W0QQitemZ230139433630QQihZ013QQcategory Z80265QQcmdZViewItem

Is it legal to sell "digital" formats of open source software?

Yes. However, you must agree to provide a copy of the source code for the same price (or less) as that of the binary.


I'd be interested to know if he is delivering an executable or a link to an executable from OpenOffice.org

Personally, I think $3.99 is too much to pay for a download of something that can be downloaded for free. Theoretically, there may be instances where this makes sense -- for example, if OO.org's downloads were much slower than those being offered -- and the LGPL (under which OO is licensed) does not preclude charging for a download. Again, the person making the offer must provide similar access to the source code for the same price (or less).

I can't imagine the seller merely providing a link to openoffice.org for $3.99 -- I should hope that would be an E-bay practices violation, though probably not an LGPL violation. Even if delivery of the binary in such a manner is kosher, the seller would be responsible for supplying the source code as I previously indicated; he must do this directly and could not just link to a third-party's download.

That's my take on it anyway. Seems rather sleazy but it is really not worth getting too upset over.

Brunellus
June 8th, 2007, 04:06 PM
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

Free Software doesn't mean that software should always be distributed free of cost. It does, however, make problematic the idea that the software itself is a commodity. If you're selling free software, what you're really selling is the media and the convenience of the packaging, as well as any additional services you are offering for and with that software.

brim4brim
June 8th, 2007, 04:22 PM
I'd contact ebay and submit a false description as they are charging for a free product but I don't have an account.

jgrabham
June 8th, 2007, 04:27 PM
Nothing wrong with it, except they fail to mention that its free (as in beer) software

Orochi
June 8th, 2007, 04:28 PM
Note that he's not actually selling the cd, it's a digital delivery. Meaning if you buy it, he just sends you an .exe file. He just put the cd image up to trick people.

So basically you'd be paying the money for nothing.

DoctorMO
June 8th, 2007, 04:48 PM
I don't understand what anybody has wrong with it other than not mentioning that it's free software.

If we as developers didn't want selling of our software on CDs we'd put it in the license.

Orochi
June 8th, 2007, 04:55 PM
If we as developers didn't want selling of our software on CDs we'd put it in the license.
If he was selling it on CD I wouldn't have a problem with it. It's that he's really just providing a digital download of the file and NOT actually sending you physical media that I have a problem with (since that service is offered for free already). Basically he's making money off of other people's ignorance.

DirtDawg
June 8th, 2007, 04:57 PM
I don't have any problem with it either. In fact, I've thought about selling CDs with several programs and documentation to college students for $20 or $30 before. It looks like no one's dumb enough to take this guy up on his offer anyways.

FuturePilot
June 8th, 2007, 04:58 PM
Perfectly legal

....You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

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. .....

DirtDawg
June 8th, 2007, 04:59 PM
If he was selling it on CD I wouldn't have a problem with it. It's that he's really just providing a digital download of the file and NOT actually sending you physical media that I have a problem with (since that service is offered for free already). Basically he's making money off of other people's ignorance.

yeah okay, that is pretty lame.

Calash
June 8th, 2007, 05:04 PM
Perfectly legal


You sure on that? There is no "Physical act of transfer" being performed here. There is no CD, so no work to put the data on the CD. The only possible thing would be if this person was hosting the EXE on there personal web space, something we can not be sure about.

It is a very misleading ad.....buyer beware as usual.

ticopelp
June 8th, 2007, 05:21 PM
I guess you could argue that he's selling the bandwidth. It's undoubtedly a dirty move, selling free software like that, but he's charging four bucks a pop -- not exactly a bank-breaker.

So yeah, it's just small-time dirt-baggery, and probably legal.

Bachstelze
June 8th, 2007, 05:32 PM
if I was creating software to distribute for free I wouldn't want someone else making money off of burning it to a disc.

Then, you impose on people the restriction that they must distribute your program at no cost. Thus, your program is not Free Software, as the GPL explicitly forbids adding such restrictions. And it also explicitly allows charging for software :


When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you
have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
this service if you wish)

DeadSuperHero
June 8th, 2007, 05:39 PM
It'd be hilarious (and very horrible) if Microsoft started selling Open Source apps, with just some "modified" names.

OpenOffice = Microsoft LiveOffice Open Edition
Audacious = Microsoft Sounder
The Gimp = Microsoft VisionMaker
Automatix = Microsoft Windows LivePackage
Gaim/Pidgin = Microsoft OutSpeak Live Edition

And so on and so forth.

Bachstelze
June 8th, 2007, 05:41 PM
It'd be hilarious (and very horrible) if Microsoft started selling Open Source apps, with just some "modified" names.

I don't think they'd be allowed to change the name, unless their software is significantly modified.

FuturePilot
June 8th, 2007, 05:51 PM
After looking into this more, it seems that what he is doing might be considered legal under the GNU license (not completely sure about that since this is a digital copy), however this guy's intentions are not in the right place. I think he's hoping someone will come along who has never heard of Open Office and doesn't know what open source is and buys it. After all the term open source is not mentioned once on that page.

So why would you pay for a download link when you can get one for free here (http://www.openoffice.org/)

Right now I'm thinking scam

Orochi
June 8th, 2007, 06:38 PM
Then, you impose on people the restriction that they must distribute your program at no cost. Thus, your program is not Free Software, as the GPL explicitly forbids adding such restrictions.
Well, you can use a difference license that's not GPL and still have it be free and open source.

tgm4883
June 8th, 2007, 06:44 PM
Well, you can use a difference license that's not GPL and still have it be free and open source.

What license?

Bachstelze
June 8th, 2007, 07:06 PM
Well, you can use a difference license that's not GPL and still have it be free and open source.

No free software license that I know of forbids selling the software. It wouldn't make sense...

Orochi
June 8th, 2007, 07:07 PM
What license?

I don't know. I'm just pointing out that GPL is not the only license out there for FOSS developers. You're even free to create your own license if you really don't want people selling your work.

init1
June 8th, 2007, 07:11 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/OpenOffice-2007-Microsoft-Office-2007-COMPATIBLE_W0QQitemZ230139433630QQihZ013QQcategory Z80265QQcmdZViewItem

Is it legal to sell "digital" formats of open source software?
I'd be interested to know if he is delivering an executable or a link to an executable from OpenOffice.org
Yes, in fact GNU supports it.
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
I don't though.

tgm4883
June 8th, 2007, 07:12 PM
Hmm, why don't we see more developers making up their own licenses. *Scratches head* There has to be a reason.

juxtaposed
June 8th, 2007, 07:14 PM
Hmm, why don't we see more developers making up their own licenses. *Scratches head* There has to be a reason.

Probably because it is probably hard and takes along time to make sure there are no loopholes in it.

And about the topic: The name of the software is the name of the website; they type openoffice.org into their browser to learn about it and download it for free most likly.

MetalMusicAddict
June 8th, 2007, 07:34 PM
Especially with as large as OO.o is I dont see a problem. I used to burn off the windows copies of OO.o, print labels and give 'em away. If the packaging is nice I see no reason why not.

I think it would even be good for OO.o themselves to have retail box versions for the major releases.

Hmm... Actually. Maybe the Sun guys might not like that.

tgm4883
June 8th, 2007, 07:53 PM
Especially with as large as OO.o is I dont see a problem. I used to burn off the windows copies of OO.o, print labels and give 'em away. If the packaging is nice I see no reason why not.

I think it would even be good for OO.o themselves to have retail box versions for the major releases.

Hmm... Actually. Maybe the Sun guys might not like that.

That's partially the point. There is no packaging as the auction is for an "Instant Download"

MOS95B
June 8th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Legal or not, it just seems wrong.

But people will fall for it. I have in the past (much as I hate to admit it)

Isaac_x
June 8th, 2007, 08:07 PM
It's not perfectly legal. It's false advertising. OpenOffice is not
http://img61.imageshack.us/img61/1786/screenshotzl4.png
If I had an eBay account I'd report this item.

tgm4883
June 8th, 2007, 08:10 PM
It's not perfectly legal. It's false advertising. OpenOffice is not
http://img61.imageshack.us/img61/1786/screenshotzl4.png
If I had an eBay account I'd report this item.

It's not?

FuturePilot
June 8th, 2007, 08:12 PM
For the most part it is. But I've had a few Excel documents with complex charts and stuff that wouldn't show up in Impress.

Isaac_x
June 8th, 2007, 08:16 PM
For the most part it is.

Uh, so what part of "100%" don't you understand?

saulgoode
June 8th, 2007, 08:24 PM
No free software license that I know of forbids selling the software. It wouldn't make sense...

Not disagreeing with you on the Free licenses, but just yesterday I discovered an OSI (http://opensource.org/)-approved license which forbids selling (see Section 5 (http://opensource.org/licenses/opengroup.php)).

forrestcupp
June 8th, 2007, 08:53 PM
It is not a violation of the GPL to take the software and sell it in whatever fashion you want for whatever price you want. The only thing you have to do is include the GPL license, and make the source code available. Whether or not people agree with this doesn't change the fact that that is how the GPL works. But no one is going to make a killing off of someone else's software, when it can be offered for free in other places. Even if the original location of the software were shut down, the first time someone buys the software they can legally turn around and offer it for free.

If a license is written that doesn't include the freedom to sell the software, it leaves the realm of FLOSS and becomes freeware.

Quillz
June 8th, 2007, 08:57 PM
Just seems deceitful. I doubt many people know when they see OpenOffice they know that its a completely free alternative.

As to being an open source programmer and not caring if people sell your software, I guess that's your business. Im not a programmer by any stretch, but I would hope that if I was creating software to distribute for free I wouldn't want someone else making money off of burning it to a disc.
How is it deceitful? Think about people on dial-up who'd want to use the 200+ MB plus software package. Or those who want to use Ubuntu, but can't download it via torrents or direct download, so they spend a few dollars on shipping for the ShipIt service.

Ebuntor
June 8th, 2007, 09:34 PM
How is it deceitful? Think about people on dial-up who'd want to use the 200+ MB plus software package. Or those who want to use Ubuntu, but can't download it via torrents or direct download, so they spend a few dollars on shipping for the ShipIt service.

Yeah but that isn't the case here, there is no mention of a cd. All this guy will do is send an OpenOffice .exe so you can install it yourself. An "instant download".
I agree if he send a cd it wouldn't be deceitful.

DoctorMO
June 8th, 2007, 10:43 PM
Ah yes the download... that is a bit of a grey area. how can you charge for a download when the gpl requires that you advertise the links to download it for free.

Dr. C
June 9th, 2007, 02:56 AM
Ah yes the download... that is a bit of a grey area. how can you charge for a download when the gpl requires that you advertise the links to download it for free.

Where does the GPL say this? In fact preventing the selling of software would make the software not Free (FSF.org) and not Open Source (opensource.org)

What this person is actually doing is selling very valuable information for $3.99 on eBay. Information that can save many people hundreds of dollars, even thousands of dollars by making them aware of FLOSS. To an Ubuntu user who is aware of FLOSS this information does have not value, so they would of course pass on the eBay listing, but what about the poor Windows Vista user, unaware of FLOSS and suffering under the tyranny of Vista DRM, who for a mere $3.99 finds out about FLOSS? Is this not worth $3.99?

If there are any false representations regarding what Open Office can do that is another matter, but selling an Open Office download on eBay for $3.99 is not only perfectly legal but also very ethical.

What was finding out about Ubuntu worth to you?

DeadSuperHero
June 9th, 2007, 03:24 AM
Hmm. Well, if it's only a couple of bucks, I understand.
But is it still ok if they sell the same app for hundreds of dollars?
I mean, I consider lots of Open Source stuff to be worth far more than hundreds of dollars, just because of their quality.
Still, I think it's easiest just to not worry about it.

Dr. C
June 9th, 2007, 03:59 AM
Hmm. Well, if it's only a couple of bucks, I understand.
But is it still ok if they sell the same app for hundreds of dollars?
I mean, I consider lots of Open Source stuff to be worth far more than hundreds of dollars, just because of their quality.
Still, I think it's easiest just to not worry about it.

Yes it is still ok. Whatever the market will bear.

How many Windows Vista users would pay say $50 to get rid of the DRM in Vista? Now a Windows Vista Ultimate license retails in Canada for around $500 Canadian. So I offer you an alternative that is 100% DRM free, does what you need it to do and offers a host of other benefits for say $550 Canadian. Is that a good deal?

The alternative is called Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)

I have already saved you another $500 since you wont need that Microsoft Office 2007 license, and you also need a graphics program lets see.. how much can I save you there, and you will not need that anti virus subscription, and you will not need that hardware upgrade (the current hardware is fine).

So I will charge you $550 and save you say $2000 just to start.

DeadSuperHero
June 9th, 2007, 04:16 AM
Interesting thinking...
Though, personally I'd rather just point someone to Ubuntu's website. It seems a little more ethical than to con people out of their money.
The whole reason I tried out Ubuntu was because it was
1) Free, therefore it's cheaper than Windows, and
2) Works well on my computer.

That's all that led me to it. Oh, and I learned about Open Source, and all that goodness. Ah, gotta love it!

arsenic23
June 9th, 2007, 04:52 AM
This basically boils down to the old, 'Some people like to pay 5 dollars, and some people like to pay 10.'

There are people who will see two DVD players side by side in the store. Both players look about the same and have the exact same functionality, but this person will buy whichever is more expensive. This can be caused by vanity, the idea that cost=quality, or any other crazy notion, but people actually do it.

Alterax
June 9th, 2007, 07:00 AM
It's perfectly fine. I'm a member of the OOO OEM mailing lists and the CD-Rom mailing lists too, so it's something that others have asked about in the past.

The GNU Public License, (currently v.2) does allow for a person to sell copies of the software if he or she chooses. The GPL pretty much says you own the source code and can do with it whatever you wish, as long as you make sure the source code is available to your clients (which has actually helped my sales!) and don't try to do something dodgy like try to claim some sort of exclusive rights on it. There's more to it than that, of course, but not a whole lot.

--Alterax

DeadSuperHero
June 9th, 2007, 07:11 AM
So, if I started an online computer store, I could sell a distro of Ubuntu for money?
In that case, that is kind of neat. It can be misused, surely.
Interesting...perhaps one day I could make the next Ubuntu...
Damn, GPL is empowering! :D

tgm4883
June 9th, 2007, 05:50 PM
So, if I started an online computer store, I could sell a distro of Ubuntu for money?
In that case, that is kind of neat. It can be misused, surely.
Interesting...perhaps one day I could make the next Ubuntu...
Damn, GPL is empowering! :D

Yes, you can.

http://www.linuxcdmall.com/ubuntu.html