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Parachute, CO
reply to PToN

Re: Linux license for hosting companies?

Short answer: no, there's no up front licensing restrictions when using Linux as the base OS install.

Long answer:

If you're talking about licensing the virtualization infrastructure (KVM/Xen), no there's no license. (Well, technically the GPL yes...) However, Red Hat's subscription service and access to the updates and support are paid, but the source code is free.

If your friend wants "Red Hat" - sans support of any kind, and without compiling from source, CentOS or Scientific Linux are clones.

Ubuntu (Canonical) has paid support as well.

KVM/Xen are available on any modern kernel, so it really doesn't matter which distro your friend chooses; Red Hat based or Debian based (ProxMox for example) platforms are available - all completely free.

As long as the hardware infrastructure supports virtualization (Intel/AMD's AMD-V/VT-X), even if your friend wanted to go with services similar to EC2 or AWS, there's Eucalyptus which is free, and can utilize KVM/Xen, so again, 0$ licensing.

Now, after the infrastructure part, things like Cpanel/Plesk, I believe require licensing, but I have no further details on how they license their software.

Of course, if one hosts Windows based VM's, there's licensing involved there.

What specific type of hosting is your friend going to start?