Can I sell pfSense software¶
Many consulting companies offer solutions based on pfSense® software to their customers. A business or individual can load pfSense software for themselves, friends, relatives, employers, and, yes, even customers, so long as the Trademark Guidelines and Apache 2.0 license requirements as detailed on the website are obeyed by all parties involved.
What can not be offered is a commercial redistribution of pfSense® software, for example the guidelines do not permit someone to offer “Installation of pfSense® software” as a service or to sell a device pre-loaded with pfSense® software to customers without the prior express written permission of ESF pursuant to the trademark policy.
- Example 1
A consultant may offer firewall services (e.g. “Fred’s Firewalls”), without mentioning pfSense® software or using the logo in their advertising, marketing material, and so on. They can install pfSense® software and manage it for their customers.
- Example 2
Fred’s Firewalls may make a customized distribution pfSense® software with their own name and logo used in place of the pfSense marks. They can use the pfSense marks to truthfully describe the origin of the software, such as “Fred’s Firewall software is derived from the pfSense CE source code.” Even though Fred’s Firewall is based on pfSense® software, it cannot be referred to as “pfSense® software” since it has been modified.
- Example 3
Fred’s Firewalls may sell their customized firewall distribution pre-loaded on systems to customers, so long as the relationship to pfSense software is clearly stated.
The Apache 2.0 license only applies to the software and not the pfSense name and logo, which are trademarks and may not be used without a license. Reading and understanding the trademark policy document is required before one considers selling pfSense software.
Contributing Back to the Project¶
We ask anyone profiting by using pfSense software to contribute to the project in some fashion. Ideally with the level of contributions from a business or individual corresponding to the amount of financial gain received from use of pfSense software. Many paths exist for resellers and consultants to contribute. For the long term success of the project this support is critically important.
Purchase hardware and merchandise from the Netgate Store.
Become a Netgate Partner to resell Netgate hardware pre-loaded with pfSense software.
Development contributions - Dedicate a portion of internal developers’ time to open source development.
Help with support and documentation - Assisting users on the forum and mailing list, or contributing documentation changes, aides the overall project.
Support subscription via Netgate TAC Having direct access to our team for any questions or deployment assistance helps ensure success.
Using the pfSense Name and Logo¶
The “pfSense” name and logo are trademarks of Electric Sheep Fencing, LLC.
The pfSense software source code is open source and covered by the Apache 2.0 license. That license only covers the source code and not our name and trademarks, which have restricted usage.
We think it is great that people want to promote and support the pfSense project. At the same time, we also need to verify that what is referred to as “pfSense” is a genuine instance of pfSense software and not modified in any way.
The pfSense name and logo MAY NOT be used physically on a hardware device.
For example: A sticker, badge, etching, or similar rendering of the pfSense name or logo is NOT allowed.
The pfSense logo MAY NOT be used on marketing materials or in other ways without a license, including references on websites.
The pfSense name MAY be used to describe the case that a product is based on a pfSense distribution, but the designated product name may not include pfSense or a derivative. Basically stating facts regarding product origin is acceptable. Anything that implies that a product is endorsed by or made by ESF or the pfSense project is not allowed.
“Blahsoft Fireblah based on pfSense software” – Acceptable
“Blahsoft pfSense Firewall” – NOT Allowed
ONLY an UNMODIFIED version of pfSense software can still be called “pfSense software”.
If the source code has been changed, compiled/rebuilt separately, included extra file installations such as themes or add-on scripts, or any other customizations, it can not be called “pfSense software”, it must be called something else.
Trademark protection aside, this requirement preserves the integrity and reputation of the pfSense project. It also prevents unverified changes that may be questionably implemented from being attributed to pfSense.
If a pfSense distribution is modified, the resulting software CANNOT be called “pfSense” or anything similar. The new name must be distinct from pfSense. Trademark law does not allow use of names or trademarks that are confusingly similar to the pfSense Marks. This means, among other things, that law forbids using a variation of the pfSense Marks, their phonetic equivalents, mimicry, wordplay, or abbreviation with respect to similar or related projects, products, or services (for example, “pfSense Lifestyle,” “PFsense Community,” “pf-Sense Sensibility,” “pfSensor”, etc., all infringe on ESF’s rights).
“pfSomething”, or “somethingSense” – INFRINGING references
“ExampleWall”, “FireWidget” – NON-Infringing references
The “pfSense” name MAY NOT be used in a company name or similar. A company CANNOT be named “pfSense Support, Ltd” or “pfSense Experts, LLC”, or use it in a domain name or subdomain reference. However, the company can state support for pfSense software, offer training for pfSense software, etc.
There MUST be a distinction between a company name and pfSense or Electric Sheep Fencing, LLC. No relationship or endorsement can be stated or implied between the two companies, unless we have explicitly licensed and agreed to such a statement.