Sale of "free" stuff on eBay

From: Jerome H. Fine <>
Date: Wed Nov 24 16:32:18 2004

>der Mouse wrote:

> The question asked "ethical", not "legal". They are very different for
>a lot of people (and neither is a subset of the other, for many, such
>as me - there are illegal things I consider ethical and legal things I
>consider unethical.)
>To answer the original question, for my own values of "ethical": maybe,
>depending largely on the conditions under which the data in question
>were distributed. For example, if the data travels under a license
>like one of the common open-source code licenses, I see no ethical
>problem with it whatever. If distributing the CD involves violating an
>applicable NDA, on the other hand, I generally have much ethical
>problem with it. And there's a lot of grey area in between.
Jerome Fine replies:

I would appreciate a comment on RT-11 distributions. At present
(with a single exception), all RT-11 distributions are still

At the moment, there are a number of RT-11 distributions at:
which are mostly compressed bootable images of a single
RT-11 distribution. They include the binary V05.03 of
RT-11 image which is the oldest RT-11 distribution allowed
by Mentec under the hobby license program which was arranged
by Bob Supnik over 5 years ago when DEC was still DEC before
it was purchased by Compaq. That hobby license allowed V05.03
of RT-11 to be used by hobby users under what has now become
the SIMH emulator.

Mentec (as far as I know) presently allows and has no objection
to running V05.03 of RT-11 and earlier (along with associated
layered products of the same time period) under the SIMH emulator.
Please assume that this statement to be true for the rest of
this e-mail! Note that at present, except for this single
exception (under which the user is responsible for obtaining
the RT-11 distribution by themselves along with any help that
is required), ALL RT-11 distributions can be legally run ONLY
if an RT-11 user has an RT-11 license for a minimum of $ US 900
and an RT-11 distribution for a minimum of $ US 1600.

One of the files there, is a CD collection of
13 different RT-11 distributions from V01-15 to V05.03 of RT-11.
While it can be estimated it took between 500 and 1000 hours
to set up the ISO file (which is also bootable under V05.03
of RT-11), it seemed appropriate to make the ISO file available
for FREE as long as it was being downloaded and burned by the
the user.

QUESTION: If an RT-11 user were to request a copy of the CD
to be burned for them (along with a nice fancy label), is it
reasonable to charge for the CD and if so, what would you feel
should be the maximum charge? ($ US 5, $ US 10 or maybe even
$ US 30 - note that no more than a dozen copies would be likely
to ever be produced since most users would opt to download and
burn themselves???) OR should there never be a charge? Just

As far as I understand, all of the distributions on the V1-0 CD
qualify for the Mentec hobby license AND they merely duplicate
what is generally available (although in a MUCH more convenient
manner in one RT-11 partition so that RT-11 users (if there still
are any who are interested) can use them much more easily. PLUS,
this way these distributions should now NEVER be lost! In addition,
even the V05.03 distribution produced by Megan Gentry is NOT
self-sufficient by itself since for use with SIMH (at least when
I used it) it is missing the system area required (under both SIMH
and E11) if a user is to perform the RT-11 command:

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
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Received on Wed Nov 24 2004 - 16:32:18 GMT

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