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I have website with adsense. Can I share linux distro's virtualbox images with users? Is this legal? Will it affect on my adsense account?

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5 Answers 5

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You need to be careful. Linux - as in the kernel - is licensed under the GPL. This means you are free to distribute it, but you are under an obligation to supply the source code used to build it if requested - though you may charge a fee to cover your costs when doing so. Of course, it is unlikely you will be asked, but you might be.

The wider operating system - sometimes referred to as GNU/Linux - will be covered by a variety of licenses and I am sure it is this, as opposed to the kernel, you wish to distribute. Depending on your jurisdiction (software patent law is very different in the EU from the US, for instance) and the software used you may not be free to distribute that at all eg you may have software which is built using combined GPL and non-GPL code (you can build this but you may not distribute it in this form) etc - you need to check all this thoroughly.

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Well, the legal situation is certainly more complicated than "Linux is totally free", but in this case, there are likely to be no problems.

Distributing Linux is not a problem. It is published under a license that is created just for this purpose. For details, read the GNU General Public License , which practically all Linux software is distributed under.

What you may not do is distribute copyrighted material (i.e. software, videos, music, images etc. that are not under a free license) inside your VirtualBox images.

Oh, and I don't have VirtualBox's license documents handy, but if you don't use the OpenSource edition but Oracle's own edition, I'd read its license very thoroughly. Might well be possible that there are catches in there, too.

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I want to provide only installed linux virtual box images not with other softwares. Just install linux and create image and upload. So it's mean I can do this. –  ubuntuuser Dec 26 '11 at 14:52
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Linux is totally free and you are welcome to distribute Linux in one way or another unless your distro images contains proprietary software.

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I want to provide only installed linux virtual box images not with other softwares. Just install linux and create image and upload. So it's mean I can do this. –  ubuntuuser Dec 26 '11 at 14:52
    
Absolutely..... –  Andrejs Cainikovs Dec 28 '11 at 22:34
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If you've only installed packages from the official Ubuntu repositories (that doesn't include Canonical's partner repostiory), it'll be legal to distribute. That's a requirement we have for all software we include in Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/project/about-ubuntu/licensing

Same goes for Debian main and contrib: http://www.debian.org/social_contract

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The stuffs you need to be careful about when distributing linux image is proprietary software. Common ones that you need to double check includes:

  1. Adobe Flash Player
  2. Proprietary Video/Audio codecs
  3. Proprietary Games
  4. Drivers

This list is incomplete, and even some proprietary softwares may allow redistribution, you will need to check the licenses of the softwares installed in the image. This could potentially be a lot of reading, although there are some shortcuts, all packages in the 'main' and 'restricted' for Ubuntu allows free redistribution. So you'll only need to read the licenses for softwares not installed from those repositories.

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