I have used Fedora/Ubuntu/CentOS all of them, and they are open source linux, free to all users and free to do almost anything.

But i do not get this correctly yet. They are open source, and they are free to use, but what happen if i copy there version and make my own brand linux called "Zyx.", will i be able to that?

I was asked by someone, and i was confused to give correct answer on this, so my question is: "Is it legal to tell someone, you can use Fedora/Ubuntu/CentOS, if you want to make your own OS, simply build on it and copy it? with your brand name?"


Provided you follow trademark and copyright law, yes. Fedora even tells you how, and even makes it easy by providing the generic-logos package that you can use to replace the Fedora trademarks.

  • Great, i mean Fedora is the king of my dream. Its not like i am a competitor of Fedora/Ubuntu/CentOS, nor i can be ever!!, nor i want to!!. But its just about the dream like i put all my time into this Fedora/Ubuntu/CentOS, and i want them to be like my brand its my made and its my asset, and whoever use it, they use not necessarily knowing that i was using Fedora/Ubuntu/CentOS, its just same but evaluated by my custom magics. – user11085 Oct 22 '11 at 18:54
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    @goOgle It's not just Fedora, most “non-commercial” distributions (including Ubuntu and CentOS) follow the same policy — essentially, each of these distributions pass the “dissident test” (google that) as a whole. “Commercial” distribution may include non-free software; you'd need to remove some of that non-free software if you made your own derivative. Some distribution put a copyright on the specific compilation of software shipped on the installation media; you're still free to copy the components as long as you organize them your way. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Oct 22 '11 at 19:19
  • Debian's take: DFSG and Software License FAQ (Draft). – user44370 Jul 30 '14 at 22:10
  • It might be worth adding that Centos is a good example of this. Centos is essentially a copy of Red Hat with the name and artwork changed. Using Red Hat costs money, but Centos is free. – bdsl Sep 7 '16 at 20:29

You can't ask to be paid for the components that are GPL-licensed (this is even more restrictive in GPLv3). In general, what you can do is create your own distribution and try to get paid for the work you did to put it together etc.

You can charge for free software as well as the work you put into putting the distribution together. But you must be careful as to what pieces of software can be included, how their licenses address commercial use and that in almost all cases, you'd need to make the source code available for free.

Some options of how one can earn money on open source are covered in wikipedia article on Commercial open source applications.

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    Your first sentence is wrong: you are definitely allowed to require payment for GPL-licensed software (licenses that forbid payment are generally considered non-free). What you're essentially not allowed to do is to charge separately for the source code (beyond a media cost fee, e.g. charging $x per CD), or to charge per head (you can, but you can't forbid the recipient from installing more copies). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Oct 22 '11 at 19:22
  • If the Operating system is trademarked such as remix. And inside the box i have a closed source application running. Am i not following the law? (after boot for example my software is running Qt or Java compiled applications ) – user11085 Oct 22 '11 at 19:34
  • Should the Qt and Java application has to be open source also? (like i have my own Qt, Java based Gnome3) – user11085 Oct 22 '11 at 19:35

As others have shared you are more than welcome to do it. The problem is not per-se just making another brand but making it sustainable. And by sustainable I mean not just revenues but more importantly, having a bug tracker, fixing bugs and seeing that things generally work. This might turn to be a bigger head-ache than the perceived worth of it.

The other question which has been raised via a comment is a bit more interesting bug which again can be resolved.

If you have a packaged distribution which you have made and have a non-free commercial software, it is ok provided that you have labelled the same on the outside box making sure that both softwares are clearly visually legible. What you are asking/sharing is an extension of what Ubuntu partner repository does, you are just making it a wee bit easier for your customers. A word of caution though, IANAL (I am not a lawyer) so it would be in your interest to converse with an IP (Intellectual Property) Lawyer who has lead cases from FOSS side rather than the other side as they may be able to give a more balanced, nuanced and knowledgeable stance as per copyright law rather than I.

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