Software licensing generally mean, you don't own software, but you own the right to use it - a license to use it.

One criticism about EULA is that it is often pretty lengthy. For example: Paypal license agreement is 64K words long.

Software license is often pretty complex to understand with it's lawyer terminology.

Example1: Facebook, at one place says, you own all of the content and later says, you grant us a ....

enter image description here Example2: Gamestation license:

As an April Fool's Day joke, Gamestation added a clause stating that users who placed an order on April 1, 2010 agreed to irrevocably give their soul to the company, which 7,500 users agreed to. Although there was a checkbox to exempt out of the "immortal soul" clause, few users checked it and thus Gamestation concluded that 88% of their users did not read the agreement.

I learnt that money can be made out of open source license.

I learnt that there are 70 different licenses related to open source

Considering EOS operating system, to be specific, which is the industry-leading, Linux- based network operating system,

EOS runs across the entire portfolio of Arista’s network switches as well as in a virtual machine instance (vEOS)

EOS operating system being one customisation of Linux kernel used for commercial reasons, I would like to understand the license aspect in terms of,

Installation rights
Customisation rights
Distribution rights

for using Linux derivative, as commercial product.

Here is EOS distribution model

Arista also distributes open source EOS that can run on hardware other than Arista switches.

Linux kernel is under GPLv2 distribution model


1) Which clause of GPLv2 allow such vendors( like Arista) to sell EOS?

2) Does Arista(vendor) suppose to distribute EOS with source code or as closed source?

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about license laws. – dr_ Mar 10 '17 at 12:52
  • @dr01 Is it appropriate to migrate to opensource.stackexchange? – overexchange Mar 10 '17 at 19:09

I'm not sure what to look for in the verbose background you give, so I'll just answer the questions.

1) Which clause of GPLv2 allow such vendors (like Arista) to sell [derivatives of the Linux kernel]?

The first one. It explicitly allows distribution and taking a fee. Though clause 6 gives the recipients a right to re-distribute it, possibly for free.

2) [Is] Arista (vendor) suppose[d] to distribute EOS with source code or as closed source?

Clause 3 sets requirements for distributing in object code or executable form, namely requiring that they be accompanied by either a) the source code, b) a written offer for the source, or c) information you received on where to find it, but that only applies for non-commercial distribution. Note that this includes derived works, meaning modified versions of the original.

The license isn't too complicated, I would suggest reading it in full.

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