Selling systems with Fedora preloaded.

Rahul Sundaram sundaram at
Mon Nov 28 05:28:21 UTC 2005


>Guess, Fedora is best suited for individual use only... As going
>through all the restrictions, and balancing what most users expect to
>find in their comptuers, it'd deffinitely be hard to market such
>computers. Despite the computer's raw power. As I said earlier, what
>worries me the most is the hardware part, as I can leave the system to
>a default (kickstart) installation, letting users configure their
>users, change root's password, etc., but (and I would too) users
>expect the hardware they buy a new system with to flawlessly work with
>the OS the system shipped.  This is what leaves me worried. As these
>are the rough specs we thought of the systems:
Like you have mentioned Kickstart has all sort of hooks for OEM to use 
so the infrastructure to do more than individual deployments is 
certainly there along with GFS, Xen and so on. Jesse Keating did a 
presentation on Fedora for OEM distributions in FUDCon1 which you might 
want to read

> We've thought of a few ways to walk around this issue, like if
>we just leave Fedora be and go for another distro (we wouldn't want to
>do that, though) or offer the drivers as a separate disk with
>installation instructions, and probably those packages we would have
>had added to the system... BUT this could also in itself be an issue
>if in anyway there's a restriction to do this as well. I'm going
>through the licenses of Flash, RealPlayer and the nVidia (and ATi)
>drivers as well... I didn't expect this to be easy...
I cannot offer legal advise but here are some of my personal opinions. 
Regardless of any distribution you use, you would have similar trademark 
guidelines in place to prevent confusion.  As long as you dont modify 
Fedora in anyway and simple redistribute it with the additional packages 
clearly indicated as such the trademark guidelines should not affect 
you. Do a license audit of the add on packages and if the licenses allow 
redistribution without a EULA (Interactive installations is against the 
design goals of RPM)  you can integrate them within a repository and 
have a post installation hook to pull in packages from a OEM  repository 
or design a custom application say in GTK+  that has a druid  or even a 
simple shell script and zenity (part of GNOME-utils) with fallbacks. The 
application would have the EULAs which the user can agree to before 
getting the necessary packages which can be launched on first login for 
the system administrator/user. As long as you make it clear that this 
application and whatever packages it uses is not part of Fedora this 
seems to be a clean solution to me.

>Just to clarify: Even changing default theme (to another GPL'ed one)
>would cause an issue with the trademark? Even if the theme COMES with
>Fedora in a default installation?
All of the Free and open source software licenses allow you to copy, 
modify and redistribute software licensed under them. Thats however 
orthogonal to the trademark guidelines.

Legal like security is a field where it pays to be paranoidal. So we 
have to assume worst case scenarios.  If suppose the trademark 
protection guidelines allow the OEM to change the theme and if they 
switch the distribution to use one of the al1y GPL'ed theme included in 
Fedora as the default, that would be aesthetically non appealing even 
while serving the functionality it is designed for, leaving users of 
this modified distribution leaving a bad impression on what Fedora is. 
So thats potentially a scenario that the guidelines are meant to avoid. 
The alternative would be to get special exceptions which is a hassle.

I would like to hear your plans with more details. How many systems are 
you planning to redistribute Fedora?, market segment, timeframe etc.


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