I would like to know what to be careful about using Ubuntu for commercial use. I am developing SW will run on ubuntu mate OS(Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS). I am planning to sell my SW with ubuntu on SD card or with Raspberry PI HW. I have not modifying kernel but modifying config and cmdline files only. My SW run entire on C++, JAVA and using media player. Do I still need to buy licence for ubuntu mate ? or Do I have to publish my source code of my application publicly?

way I can see is, I am not selling Ubutu OS but I am selling my SW and HW which run ubuntu Mate OS. Unfortunately, I have to sell SD card with ubuntu mate OS and my application for pupil so cant install OS easily and lots of other sensor connected to device so not possible for end product. Is their anyone has used Ubutu mate for commercial purpose or any product in market?

Debian based product looks very straight forward explained here https://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-faq/ch-redistrib.en.html I can use Raspbian OS for my use and there are couple of Pi products in market with this OS.

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    Your question is not really about the Pi but various software licenses. – Steve Robillard Dec 3 '18 at 23:20
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    I think I agree with you, not really PI technical question but I am going to use PI – NoWorries Dec 4 '18 at 20:55

Simply putting your commercial software on the same medium as Ubuntu Mate doesn't necessarily mean you have to apply GPL license to your code. However, you have to verify the licenses of all libraries and software components your software is using and make sure you respect these. For example you mention Java which (in case you use Oracle Java and not OpenJDK) is distributed under a non-commercial OTN license, so you'll have to pay license fees to Oracle for each copy you sell. Other libraries you use may have different restrictions.

There may be additional restrictions regarding pricing and distribution. For example it may be a good idea to set a separate price for the hardware (with preinstalled OS), and a separate price for your SW license. Otherwise it could be argued that you're using your SW as an excuse to sell the Ubuntu OS.

I strongly suggest you talk to a lawyer about this, since advice from the Internet may be incomplete or incorrect.

  • thanks for explanation and highlighting various issues. I really like your idea to sell PI with preinstalled OS and separate price for my SW. There are many people selling PI in commercial market with Raspbian OS, how are they doing? As far as my concern, I just want Linux OS platform to run my software, it works on Ubuntu, Rasp OS..etc. if Raspbian OS which is based on Debian so not much issue than I can go with Raspbian OS – NoWorries Dec 4 '18 at 21:59
  • @NoWorries Selling Raspbian/Ubuntu is no problem as long as you didn't modify anything in it. Maybe you could do the same, maybe not. It's also possible that people selling Modified Raspbian OS provide source code for all modifications. Or perhaps they don't while they should, meaning they are in a grey area legally. The only way to be 100% sure is to talk to a copyright expert who will inspect your SW and tell you what rules apply in your case. – Dmitry Grigoryev Dec 5 '18 at 8:07

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