Here's my situation: I'm starting a small computer repair business on the side. I'll be making house calls in my neighborhood but in the future I'd like to provide remote support. I was thinking of a VNC-based solution but I don't know if it would be practical to use an existing one or not. I was tossing around the idea of writing a custom VNC-based remote support solution. It would have all my own wording and logos so it would seem much more professional I think.

First, how difficult would something like that be? I have a little coding experience and I usually just learn new things out of necessity, like in this case.

Also, since I'd be basing my software off of open source and using it for profit, would that be allowed? Would I have to release the source?


  • 2
    You have to tell us which open source project you chose to base your solution upon, or at least what's its licence so we can give you a better idea of what kind of for-profit uses are acceptable.
    – yannis
    May 28, 2011 at 17:04
  • 2
    That depends on the license terms of the OSS software you choose.
    – Adam Lear
    May 28, 2011 at 17:04
  • Your reasoning seems really vague, I'm sure you'll have lots of things to do without trying to write and maintain a complex piece of VNC software to. Personally I would trust a well know bit of software over some random thing a repair man installed, especially if he told me he wrote it in his spare time of his spare time - but then I guess I'm not your target market.
    – James
    May 28, 2011 at 21:09

2 Answers 2


First: I am not a lawyer. If you're serious, you should see an intellectual property specialist and get their comment.

Second: Let's assume for the moment that you're thinking of using TightVNC.

Let's have a look at their licensing:

The Default Option: GNU GPL

TightVNC is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License (usually referred to as GPL). This is the primary type of licensing, you do not have to pay for it or enter into any special agreement. Just download the software and use it for any legally allowed purposes, including commercial use. Also, you may redistribute verbatim copies of the software with no limitations (unless such distribution is restricted by local or international laws). You even may modify the software and distribute its modified copies, provided that all your modifications are GPL-licensed as well.

So, you could use it commercially, but you would have to make the source code freely available.

Of course, any branding on your version would not be covered by this (I believe, IANAL) so trademarks or copyright you own on that would not have to be released.


Might be fun to do - but is that a good reason?

Fundamentally what's wrong with (say) CoPilot - proven, well supported, very affordable and it more or less "just works". VNC based as it happens...

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