Commercializing Mail-in-a-Box

I am wanting to commercialize Mail-in-a-Box. I wanted to see if any of you have any thoughts. I want to come up with some ethical questions for myself and for the business, as I develop on to this.

I want to add Libre Office online (or Collabora online) to Mail-in-a-Box. I’m not sure if @JoshData would approve of such thing, or any other thing that I would want to add to the project. If that means I fork the project, should I name it “Mail-in-a-Box”? “Mail-in-a-Box reimagined” (or other fancy description on top of “Mail-in-a-Box” to differentiate it)? Or should I rename the whole project, and make customers think it is something totally different.

Now, I understand, I can do whatever I want, because it is under CC0 Creative Commons Universal (AKA: free-for-all, do whatever the bleep you want), but I believe in being honest in my business, and seeing what people think about this.

I am thinking I will try starting a service where people who do not know what they are doing can get a Mail-in-a-Box server up and running, and just pay a subscription, with minimal amount of people-support (i.e. support that involves getting on phones or emails and responding to customers). I am thinking $8/mo, to include a server, donation to Libre Office and/or other organizations to develop packages into better open source products. Then, also having more expensive products to sell for better support and/or better servers.

I want to get Mail-in-a-Box (or similar) in the hands of more people, and become more useful!

this is ONLY for the admin panel and setup scripts, the license for the software it installs DOES NOT FOLLOW THE CC0 UNIVERSIAL LICENSE! (Listed, but not limited to: Postfix, Dovecot, Z-Push, Nextcloud, munin, and so on)

1 Like

I would be happy to see the work in this project be used to help more people in whatever way people can do it — a commercial service is a great idea.

I would ask, however, that you don’t use the Mail-in-a-Box name in any product name or branding so that there is no confusion for folks in the Mail-in-a-Box community about what is coming from this project and what isn’t. It’s fine to say in product documentation that you use Mail-in-a-Box. (We say in our docs that we use Postfix and other open source projects, for example.) It would not be OK with me to call a new product or service "Mail-in-a-Box,” “Mail-in-a-Box reimagined,” or e.g. “Eliter Mail, Powered by Mail-in-a-Box,” for example.


I have been having issues, on paper, where I am still trying to figure out how to sell anything related to Mail-in-a-Box.
I have thought about having a “cloud” product, in which mail, nextcloud, and libre office online were provided on a per-user-per-month basis, but the whole goal is privacy. The user would not have any control (or as much control as I’d like them to) over their stuff.

I can’t compete with products like Google G-Suite or Microsoft Office 365, because it will be cheaper. I could argue that these companies have shaken hands with the devil in the past, where they make deals with China, who does not respect freedom, privacy, intellectual property, or American (and similar) values. Google helped the Great Firewall. I can always say I will never do that, but that doesn’t sound like a strong argument. Now, some European countries have made it illegal for governments and schools to use Google or Microsoft products, I believe Germany is one of them.

I was also told by my local city senior economic analyst that when you throw rocks at people, they’ll throw rocks right back–e was talking about business. I’m not sure how I can spin that I’m a better company with better, ethical practices without “throwing rocks”.

JoshData is correct. The name Mail-in-a-Box must not be misused to prevent confusion. If anyone wants to make a commercial service like or, they are welcome.