In a case like this, where one chooses to develop/build a hardware unit that suites the technical requirements of the software, it is very important to draw the line in what it is one wants to charge to the end user. For example: A school wants to run Linux on all their computers, and decides to throw out MS Windows. The entire operation can be done by one of persons working at school. Or they call in professional help from a company that knows what they are doing.
The company that is helping them with the project can not charge them for the operation system. But they charge for possible new hardware, and for the time they are using on installing it and integrating it on their network.
Do they need to contribute to the makers of the Linux OS? Only if they want to. Is it required by the GPL? No.
This topic was started on the same foundation. If one looks at the many discussions out on the internet, people that are having problems with installing their downloaded software on their DIY server, becoming frustrated after a while and finally give up on the whole thing. Who benifits of this. The worst publicity it bad publicity. Even if the word is spread by a total newbee that doesn't know sh*t what he is talking about... The software sucks, got no support, the forums are talking hi-tech jargon, .... what ever. When the learning curve is long, people tend to give up if it is not really in their blood to fulfill the project.
So back to my own project. I tend to compare this with the school project described above. I am not selling it. I am selling computer configurations that we have tested and that we know will work with the software pre-installed. We charge for the hardware, and the time used to install and configure the OS and other software.
I discussed this matter with Pluto 2 years ago. They are talking about their core server, but it is not available. They are looking for resellers, but they don't have the core. So what is there else to do? Right, make your own system, test it, and if it works, I could consider to sell the hardware. I could also take it one step further and discuss with Plutohome if we could use this hardware to sell as approved hardware in the same line as they had thought to do their selves, as they announce it on their website (since 2 years)... and sell a concept of hardware + software license.
But it is here the situation becomes different from that with LinuxMCE. Here we are talking about a project that never intended to sell hardware in the first place. So if people would ask me to install this software on a server, and sell them the unit. Does this conflict with the GPL? I don't think so. And if I was to offer my professional services to help them install the system in their home surroundings, or even would offer them a monthly fee subscription to keep the system updated/fine tuned... I am not selling them the software. I am not modifying the software. I am just selling hardware and my knowledge on how to install and maintain the system.
So please guys, keep things in perspective before this thread is getting out of hand.
I wish you all a very entertaining and happy new year. Greetings from the land of Santa Claus ;-)