[coreboot] Commerical support for Linux BIOS

Ward Vandewege ward at gnu.org
Tue Jan 15 03:26:27 CET 2008

On Tue, Jan 15, 2008 at 02:58:07AM +0100, Peter Stuge wrote:
> Note that it's not really legally possible to sell you a firmware
> based on coreboot

That's not correct. It's perfectly possible and allowed. It's just that the
source also needs be provided (as per the requirements of the GPL), and that
nobody can stop you - the customer - from redistributing that source code
under the GPL.

So what Peter is saying here, I think, is that it is difficult to charge for
software under the GPL because your price point can be undercut quite easily.
Most companies build business models around support or some sort of other
added value (like, say, providing rom chips preprogrammed with a copy of

> - since coreboot is GPL you are always entitled
> to receive the source code free of charge. 

That is actually not 100% correct - see section 6 of the GPL
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html). In a nutshell, it's ok to charge a
small amount for the source, as long as it is no more than the cost required
to provide the copy. In the case of a downloadable copy, that cost should be
zero (see 6b). If you want to receive physical media, a small charge is

> You can however always
> purchase consulting services that are related to the code from
> anyone who offers them.
> I know of two companies that provide consulting services related to
> coreboot; Coresystems GmbH (Germany) run by Stefan Reinauer and my
> own consulting company Konsult Stuge. (Sweden)
> Maybe there are more - how does everyone feel about a wiki page that
> lists companies offering commercial support? Bad idea?

Good idea. List away.


Ward Vandewege <ward at fsf.org>
Free Software Foundation - Senior System Administrator

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