Using freeware in my business


I'm planning to start a local business where I would repair and tune up customer's computer's for a flat rate of, say, $60. I wouldn't hire any employees, I'd just be me.

If I used freeware (open source and free software) in this process, would that be legal or because I'm generating a profit, or would it not be?

I wouldn't be repackaging the software or selling it or anything like that, I would just use it myself in the repair and tune up process.

Thanks for any help you can give!!

Software Legal Computers

asked Apr 26 '11 at 16:47
118 points
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3 Answers


It is impossible to answer this in a general manner.

You should really read the licenses for different tools that you plan to use. A few freeware tool is free for personal use but not for commercial uses.

However, my guess is that most freeware software are free even for commercial endeavors. But really, read the licenses before you use them and you'll be fine.

There is nothing inherently "wrong" with using freeware/open source in your business.

Best of luck!

answered Apr 26 '11 at 18:54
Anders Hansson
606 points
  • I second the Andeers. In addition, in case of any concerns, you should ask directly the software owners for permission. – Ross 12 years ago
  • Strange that you go the vote for a flat out wrong answer "A few freeware tool is free for personal use but not for commercial uses". As everyone else correctly said ... read the licence. – Mawg 11 years ago


"freeware" and "open source" are two very different things, and usually "freeware" is used to indicate software that is free as in "free beer" while "open source" is free as in "free speech".

Every kind of software comes with its own license, and you have to read it.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 04:39
Federico C
121 points
  • +1 for juxtapositioning free beer vs. free speech. – Kenneth Vogt 12 years ago


Rats, there is not a clear answer for your question because each license tool must be evaluated.
There's software that is free only for personal use, thus you cannot use it for your business.
In the case of open source you can use the software professionally. What you cannot do, in a simple description, is sell software to your customers.

answered Apr 26 '11 at 18:54
Fernando Martins
798 points

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