Forking a new OS from Linux Mint

Questions about other topics - please check if your question fits better in another category before posting here
Forum rules
Before you post please read how to get help
Post Reply
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:29 am

Forking a new OS from Linux Mint

Post by Reza1714 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:35 am

I want to know legal obligations in terms of license etc that affects the new Linux Os that are derived
from Mint. Is there any resources on the website that clarify it?

I want to take Mint as base and build a new Linux OS for special purposes. But I want to rely on the Mint repos.


User avatar
Level 24
Level 24
Posts: 24058
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:58 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Forking a new OS from Linux Mint

Post by xenopeek » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:31 am

You're free to redistribute our ISOs as long as they aren't modified. We're responsible for the quality of our ISOs and our name guarantees that an ISO meets our standards. For that reason you must name your OS something else before distributing so as to not confuse your users. (Linux Mint and related names are also trademarked by Linux Mint or our partners and the logo and other branded artwork are copyright by Linux Mint; you can't use these for your OS.)

All software developed by Linux Mint is licensed under GPL and we encourage people to share our technology and contribute to it! (For new developers wanting to get involved with one of our projects, please see If you use our software without making changes to it you don't have to rename the programs or packages but if you do make changes to them that aren't in our project, as again our name guarantees that it was released meeting our quality standards, you should rename the changed programs and/or packages so as to not confuse your users. All the software we develop is on GitHub so if you have improvements you c

If you're editing a Linux Mint ISO instead of making your own, at the most basic, as a non-exhaustive starting point, you should do:
  • Edit the files in /etc to replace "mint" with your own name (run command sudo grep -Ri mint /etc to find possible files you should be editing);
  • Remove all Linux Mint artwork packages (provide your own artwork for boot splash, login background, desktop background and menu button and so on);
  • You should probably also remove the Welcome Screen package as it is hardcoded to say "welcome to Linux Mint" which would be confusing (if you want to use it: fork, rename and rebrand it).
Depending on the edition of Linux Mint you're basing your OS on you will be using Ubuntu or Debian as a package base as well. Debian have clear guidelines for what this: For Ubuntu I don't know of a similar, authoritative, page. Depending on your plans (hundred users vs hundred thousand users) you should read ... rty-policy and for the latter plan probably get a license agreement from Canonical just like Linux Mint has.

Good luck with developing your OS :D

Post Reply

Return to “Other topics”