Mepis has us confused

Forum: LXer Meta ForumTotal Replies: 13
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Feb 17, 2011
12:01 PM EDT
While installing Mepis on her netbook my wife was stopped by this EULA. A Linux distro with a EULA?

This is where you must "ACCEPT"

MEPIS Linux and CDs are collective works under US copyright law. Copyright © 2002-10 by MEPIS LLC. All rights reserved. PLEASE READ THE SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THE MEPIS SOFTWARE. BY USING THE MEPIS SOFTWARE YOU ARE AGREEING TO BY BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THE LICENSE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THE LICENSE, DON'T USE THE SOFTWARE. The MEPIS product names and the MEPIS logos are trademarks of MEPIS LLC. Commercial use of MEPIS products and/or marks is prohibited unless permission is obtained in writing. MEPIS Linux contains OpenSource components but MEPIS Linux is not "freeware." Unauthorized commercial distribution of MEPIS products is "Theft of Goods" under US law.

This was on the left side, I think it explains what you must agree with?

MEPIS COLLECTIVE WORK LICENSE COPYRIGHT Unless stated otherwise, MEPIS software packages are unique collective works under US copyright law. Copyright (c) MEPIS LLC. All rights reserved. GRANT OF COLLECTIVE WORK LICENSE Except as specifically stated in a separate agreement, and subject to the Terms and Conditions stated herein, MEPIS LLC hereby grants you the right to install or redistribute this collective work for non-commercial purposes for use with other legally obtained MEPIS software collections. TERMS AND CONDITIONS 1. COMPONENT LICENSE RIGHTS Nothing in this collective work license limits your rights under, or grants you rights that supercede, the terms of any applicable component license. Each component is a separate collective or original work to the maximum extent possible as defined by US copyright law. The inclusion in this collection of a component subject to a particular license does not limit your rights, or grant you rights in another component or in the collective work that supercede, the terms of the license of that other work. 2. LIMITED REDISTRIBUTION RIGHTS This collective work may contain some components of binary code that are licensed under the GPLv2 or GPLv3 license which limits your rights to redistribute the GPL licensed components of this collective work to third parties, unless for a three year period you also distribute or formally offer to distribute to ANY party the source code of the component binary code that is licensed pursuant to the GPL license. The Free Software Foundation of Boston, MA, US, as author of the GPL license, claims to strictly enforce this requirement of the GPL license for all parties with NO exceptions. 3. RESPONSIBILITY TO COMPLY By using this package, you agree to comply with any applicable restrictions and obligations imposed by the applicable GPL license or any other applicable license, regulation, or law and to hold MEPIS LLC and its assigns harmless in case of your knowing or unknowing violation thereof. 4. AVAILABILITY OF SOURCE CODE You may obtain a copy of GPL licensed source code from the source code package maintainer which is usually the next upstream copyright holder, in most cases the Debian Project. In the case of MEPIS products, most GPL licensed binary code is redistributed without change. In such cases, MEPIS is not a copyright holder in such code. The maintained upstream sources of such code are available in the public Debian software repositories. 5. MEPIS OFFER OF SOURCE CODE MEPIS LLC hereby offers to provide, for three years from the original timestamp on any included GPL licensed binary package, to any third party, a copy of the source code of the GPL licensed binary code that is distributed with this collection, except where MEPIS LLC is prohibited from doing so by US law. For further details about this offer or to obtain said source code, visit 6. NO WARRANTY Except as specifically stated in a separate agreement or a license for a particular component, to the maximum extent permitted under applicable law, the collective work and the components are provided and licensed AS-IS without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including the implied warranties of merchantability, non-infringement or fitness for a particular purpose. 7. ATTENTION US GOVERNMENT USERS The US Government's rights in this Software and accompanying documentation are only as set forth herein, in accordance with 48 CFR 227.7201 through 227.7202-4 and 48 CFR 2.101 and 12.212. 8. CRYPTOGRAPHIC SOFTWARE RESTRICTIONS Some MEPIS packages are collections of software that contain unmodified publicly available Open Source encryption source code which, together with object code resulting from the compiling of publicly available source code, has been previously cleared for export from the United States to all persons, except Country Group E:1, under License Exception TSU pursuant to EAR Section 740.13(e). Said source code and object code is publicly available at several web sites including However, the knowing export or reexport of ANY cryptographic software and technology, including MEPIS related packages, from the US to nationals of Country Group E:1, currently Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria, is prohibited by US Law. In addition, at this time there MAY be export or import restrictions for products containing strong encryption (128 bit or greater) when sent to or from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burma, Republic of Congo, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ukraine, Vietnam, or Yemen. These country lists are subject to change and other countries may impose restrictions on the import, export, and/or use of encryption software. This legal notice applies to cryptographic software only. More detailed information is available at 9. PREVAILING LAW Whereas MEPIS LLC is a US based entity subject to US laws, by using this package, you agree that in cases of conflict of law US Copyright, Patent, Trademark, Contract, and Export Law shall prevail. 10. IMPLICIT ACCEPTANCE By using and/or installing a MEPIS collective work, you accept and agree to comply with these Terms and Conditions.

It is not FOSS? What do you think? It did work nice but part of the thrill of Linux is not having a EULA.

Feb 17, 2011
12:05 PM EDT
You actually do have a EULA, or, more accurately, a big old pile of EULAs with any Linux distribution. The GPL is a EULA, as is the BSD license, etc.

Feb 17, 2011
1:30 PM EDT
Mepis is merely copying the old Caldera philosophy. At least they're not trying to charge a per machine user fee, the way Caldera contemplated doing.

Nothing they're doing is against the letter or spirit of FOSS. They're only claiming rights to their own code/trademarks. However, if you're not comfortable with it, then complain to Warren and use another distribution. Mepis has usually been a good distribution, but it's not significantly better than any number of other Debian derivatives.

Feb 17, 2011
1:45 PM EDT
> complain to Warren and use another distribution

Probably skip the complain to Warren part. I doubt he's interested.

Feb 17, 2011
2:02 PM EDT
> I doubt he's interested.

Probably true. But if no one tells him he's never going to know why they left.

Feb 18, 2011
12:28 AM EDT
After reading on the Mepis website what how Warren feels about the FSF and the GPL I did write and encourage him to apply his talents and skills to creating a BSD distro. It worked for Apple. I haven't looked back. Best to you, Warren.

Feb 18, 2011
3:05 AM EDT
Quoting:> complain to Warren and use another distribution

Probably skip the complain to Warren part. I doubt he's interested.

Indeed, a current visit to the mainsite hints at this.

One immediately sees the line "Now Shipping Versions 8.0.15 and 8.5.03" followed by the quite prominent Donate [with your credit card] icon. Just below this icon are the Quick Links including the "Buy" link (of course!), and only then followed by the links for | Download | FAQ | Forum | Wiki | Users Manual.

Much more information concerning the GPL is revealed from the 'Get Info - About' link found at Again, one cannot help but notice the same prominent Donate icon as in the mainsite followed by the same Quick Links as before. What is slightly more revealing in the 'Get Info - About' link is the sentence "MEPIS LLC and MEPIS Linux were founded...." Through this subtle word-placement, MEPIS is first and foremost "a hybrid business entity" rather than a completely non-profit organization (see the Wikipedia definition of a Limited Liability Company found at )

Once one realizes the commercial aspirations of Mepis LLC, it then becomes much easier to comprehend the contents of the links at the 'Legal' subsection of Mepis's about 'Get Info - About' section:

Offer of GPLed Source Code,

Applicable Licenses,


GPL Compliance FAQ,

US Export Compliance,


Reading through these, one can finally comprehend MEPIS LLC developer Woodford's underlying approach to the GPL and the legalistic EULA quoted at the top of this thread. One can comprehend how Mepis LLC can stipulate that "The source code DVDs [containing source code for GPLed packages included on the SimplyMEPIS 6.0 CD and the SimplyMEPIS 6.0 Extras CDs] may be purchased at the MEPIS Store for US$29.95." ( ) This as opposed to providing sourcecode on a hosted mirror for download!!

Taken together, these revelations of Woodford's commercial aspirations of Mepis LLC and his underlying approach to the GPL --- all gleaned merely through visiting the website(!) --- easily point to Woodford's decided non-interest in comments such as the above. And yet one can imagine that Woodford may decide to directly address comments such as the above once such feedback ends up affecting his and MEPIS LLC's BOTTOM LINE !


Feb 18, 2011
3:20 AM EDT
Really it's a storm in a teacup. So long as he's complying with the Free Software Licenses in his distribution, and apparently he is, however reluctantly, he is encouraged, at least by the GPL, which apparently he dislikes, to sell at whatever price the market will bare (there's irony for you).

More power to him if he can get people to pay him for his work in building MEPIS.

I suspect none of us here are in the demographic he's marketing to.

Feb 18, 2011
9:30 AM EDT
Mepis does include its own proprietary code. In the past They used to charge for the latest version and make the older versions available for free.

It was a more common model in the early days of Linux, Libranet and S.u.S.E. used this or similar models. Warren got in a little dispute because the GPL portion for the latest version was not available for download.

If the add-on tools are useful enough this might be a viable model, but I think the big, free distros do a pretty good job of packaging complete systems.

I used to install Libranet as the first Linux for a lot of Windows converts. They were comfortable paying a small fee and really liked the one stop control center called Adminmenu. It was a very stable debian based distro that just worked without much tweaking, just what a lot of newbies wanted. Debian 6.0 has now surpassed what Libranet once was as have most free distros.

Mepis is still a hold over from this era. Its a nice distro and is still around because Warren has made it more 'free' in response to a changing world. It does seem 'quaint' to read that EULA.

Feb 18, 2011
10:27 AM EDT
> Really it's a storm in a teacup.

Yes. Warren is complying with the GPL, however reluctantly and however much grousing he may do about it.

If you're willing to accept his terms then there's nothing wrong with using Mepis. It's a reasonably good distro, probably about as good as Ubuntu. It has fewer users, so there's a smaller community to help out when you run into problems, but it's large enough to provide adequate support.

Ironically, It's a local distro for me, as Morgantown is only about 30 miles from my house as the crow flies. So if I needed to I could probably run by Warren's house to ask for help. However, between Warren's past actions wrt the GPL and the few (if any) advantages it offers over Slackware, I see no point in using it.

Mar 21, 2011
9:48 PM EDT
@Number6x: I don't know which releases you are referring to when you mention that MEPIS used to charge for the latest version and make earlier versions available free. I do not remember MEPIS ever doing that, but they do encourage people to purchase either download subscriptions or DVDs, but they have also always distributed to a variety of download mirrors (free) in various areas around the world.

Libranet was a distribution that used to charge for the current version and make older versions available free. You could run test versions if you could not afford the current released version, and you could give back by helping to test.

I do the same with MEPIS. I contribute to the download subscriptions and DVDs when I am collecting a full time salary. Other times, I help test and review the software. I've never HAD to pay for anything; it's always been my own choice one way or the other.

Mar 21, 2011
10:51 PM EDT

I'm sure you are correct and I am just 'misremembering'.

Mar 23, 2011
2:32 AM EDT
From 2003-2005, Libranet was installed on my Compaq PII laptop and I was pleased with it. As l lived not far from North Vancouver, BC, I was happy to support a local Linux business and had great hopes for it. Here is a link which gives more information on this short-lived but much loved distro:

Mar 23, 2011
8:51 AM EDT
Libranet was a fantastic distro. I used it within the same period and it was the only OS on any of my computers.

Lessons can be learned here though. Some of Libranet was not Free Software...there were proprietary components to it IIRC. When the developer died, the entire project died with him. Lots of lessons to be learned here about how a community can carry on one person's work if they are allowed to do so.

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