Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th May 2010 22:57 UTC, submitted by Panajev
GNU, GPL, Open Source "The Free Software Foundation is up in arms over Apple's iTunes Store Terms of Service, suggesting that these terms fundamentally conflict with the terms of the GNU Public License. The foundation has warned Apple that a version of GNU Go distributed by the App Store makes Apple liable to comply with GPL terms that allow free sharing of code, but warned that its 'Usage Rules' violate those terms. The fallout could potentially affect any app that uses GPLed code."
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Wow.
by ballmerlikesgoogle on Fri 28th May 2010 23:37 UTC
ballmerlikesgoogle
Member since:
2009-10-23

After reading some of the comments on the actual story, there appears to be a very strong disdain for the GPL.

I really wouldn't be surprised if Apple at some point bans any GPL-base coded software from the App-Store in the near future.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Wow.
by alcibiades on Mon 31st May 2010 09:06 UTC in reply to "Wow."
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

The usual defense of Apple business practices is, its their stuff, if you don't like it, don't buy it. The defense of their stance on Psystar was, its their stuff, if Psystar wants to resell it, it has to comply with their license and do as they say.

What is being said here is, its a GPL license, if you don't like it, don't sell it.

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The way it works is not that Apple gets to enforce its licenses on everyone else, but no-one gets to enforce their licenses on Apple. No, it don't work like that. They want to distribute something, they comply with the distribution clauses in the licenses.

All GPL apps should be removed from the App Store, which at the moment means removing them from iPhones. And if Apple wants to allow GPL apps to run on iPhones and iPads, well, it can always allow people to install them outside of the App Store.

Oh, it can't do that, can it? It conflicts with its business model? What a pity.

Reply Score: 4

The questions should be...
by mrhasbean on Fri 28th May 2010 23:43 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

Do Apple's terms give them any more control over the CODE for the app?

Do Apple's terms restrict the developer from complying with the requirement that the CODE be made freely available?

These FOSS licences are supposed to be there to keep the CODE freely useable, modifiable and available. If the FSF is restricting distribution of an app for anything other than lack of compliance with those goals they are being more anal than Apple IMHO.

Reply Score: 4

RE: The questions should be...
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 29th May 2010 00:32 UTC in reply to "The questions should be..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

By violating the GPL, Apple is comitting a copyright violation (by violating the GPL, you lose the right to freely distribute the code and binary). I prefer MIT/BSD licenses and dislike the GPL, but Apple must abide by the GPL - if not, they'll have to face legal action.

And that's a case Apple will lose with 100% certainty. Every time the GPL ended up in court, it held up, no matter the jurisdiction.

Edited 2010-05-29 00:34 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: The questions should be...
by cycoj on Sat 29th May 2010 10:00 UTC in reply to "RE: The questions should be..."
cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

By violating the GPL, Apple is comitting a copyright violation (by violating the GPL, you lose the right to freely distribute the code and binary). I prefer MIT/BSD licenses and dislike the GPL, but Apple must abide by the GPL - if not, they'll have to face legal action.


It's interesting you're not a developer so you're not interested in taking a open source product and making it into a closed source product, yet you prefer the license which ensures that you as a user will have more rights. So from what I can tell when prefer BSD over GPL it's purely political, but it's the proponents of the GPL who are always accused of politicising.

Frankly I can't understand why some people have this strong fundamental opposition to the GPL (I'm not saying that you do). If somebody donates something they ask for something in return, i.e. that the money(...) is spend to "do good" (whatever that means to the donor). That is considered perfectly ok, I'd argue very few people would donate money to profit organisations just so they can increase their profit. However if someone creates a software and asks in return that the software (that persons work) remains free (as in speech) then suddenly a lot of people find that offensive.

Reply Score: 11

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I do not find the GPL offensive at all - I didn't say anything like that. All I'm saying is that I prefer BSD-style licenses because they cause the minimum amount of fuss. I also happen to believe in choice, and part of that belief is tat closed source companies can use your code too.

However, that is entirely a personal choice.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The questions should be...
by cycoj on Sat 29th May 2010 12:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The questions should be..."
cycoj Member since:
2007-11-04

I do not find the GPL offensive at all - I didn't say anything like that.


Sorry if I wasn't clear I actually didn't mean you with that.


All I'm saying is that I prefer BSD-style licenses because they cause the minimum amount of fuss. I also happen to believe in choice, and part of that belief is that closed source companies can use your code too.

I understand the minimum amount of fuss argument, however I don't get the choice argument. The closed source companies don't give you the choice to use their code.


However, that is entirely a personal choice.


I agree license is a personal choice (of the developer). And I do believe that both BSD and GPL licenses have their uses.

Reply Score: 3

Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

Well, you wrote that you disliked it, which may or may not imply that you find offense with it. Anyways, I don't see the point of being hostile towards a licence since they're just that, licences. If you are angry that code X is licenced under Y, then your beef is really with the code author who chose to licence it as such, and not with the licence itself which is just an agreement.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[2]: The questions should be...
by kristoph on Mon 31st May 2010 09:15 UTC in reply to "RE: The questions should be..."
RE: The questions should be...
by alcibiades on Mon 31st May 2010 09:09 UTC in reply to "The questions should be..."
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

The problem is, they are not in compliance with the distribution clauses of the GPL. This is Apple, not the developer, that is out of compliance. That is why all GPL apps will have to be removed from the store in the end.

Look, they have a simple solution to this, if the problem is the lack of GPL applications on the iPad, all they have to do is let people install apps outside of the App Store. Maybe they could let them download them and then run an installer? I wonder if that ever occurred to them, we should point it out.

Reply Score: 2

Something Apple should do
by mrhasbean on Fri 28th May 2010 23:58 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

Is remove DRM from any free apps on the App Store so that you can just email a copy to friends or upload it to your own web site. By all means put the app through the approval process to make sure it's not going to smoke someone's phone and make it's initial download only through the app store, but then make it freely available for mass distribution through any media. IMO this would be a win-win and anyone wanting to redistribute it would have to then abide by the appropriate licences too.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Something Apple should do
by darknexus on Sat 29th May 2010 00:08 UTC in reply to "Something Apple should do"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Agreed, and that would be an effective way out of this issue with the FSF too. As best I understand it, the FSF is upset that anyone who downloads a GPL-based app from the store cannot redistribute the according binary as the GPL says they should. The DRM does, in fact, violate that term of the GPL and so do Apple's terms of service. With a quick exception clause in those, and the removal of DRM for all free apps, the situation is close to neutralized. There may also be paid apps with GPL'd code in them too however, and the same would have to be done to those and I guarantee you Apple would never do such a thing. They'd probably never do it for free apps either, because if they did they wouldn't be able to do their oh-so-important download stat tracking on those distributed outside of the stor, plus the app store lock-in would be effectively removed. Apple would never do such a thing, from sheer stubbornness if for no other reason. They're too fond of their store lock-in to ever let it go and, while I suspect it will hurt them more than help them in the long run, they do not see things that way.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Something Apple should do
by Karitku on Sat 29th May 2010 15:03 UTC in reply to "Something Apple should do"
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

And open flood gates to piracy? Actually only people that FSF should blame is those that submit programs to Apple iTunes Store. They are ones who actually break GPL, and possibly Apple terms also, in this case since they agreed on both terms. Most likely Apple will just remove any GPL stuff to fix problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Something Apple should do
by JAlexoid on Sat 29th May 2010 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Something Apple should do"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

And open flood gates to piracy? Actually only people that FSF should blame is those that submit programs to Apple iTunes Store. They are ones who actually break GPL, and possibly Apple terms also, in this case since they agreed on both terms. Most likely Apple will just remove any GPL stuff to fix problem.


You should read the GPL text in full. Because it does cover the distribution process very thoroughly. And removing all GPL licensed software from the AppStore will be the easiest way of doing things.

Reply Score: 3

DRM isn't the root problem
by tomz on Sat 29th May 2010 00:55 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

They aren't "up in arms" - the GPL was simply violated and they are pointing it out and doing so with less thunder than the RIAA or MPAA usually does. Or even Apple to someone like Pystar.

The GPL insists that you be able to run modified versions, that the source is available, etc.

Free as in Speech more than Free as in Beer.

If the DRM was such that you could run the UNMODIFIED version, it wouldn't clear up the problem.

For it to meet the GPLv2 or worse, v3 (which avoids TiVoization which would apply here), I need to have access to the source, be able to modify the code and be able to DISTRIBUTE and run that modified code on the device.

There are other subtleties, but Apple's agreement and the GPL (v2 or v3) are incompatible on several levels.

Reply Score: 3

RE: DRM isn't the root problem
by Vargol on Sat 29th May 2010 13:46 UTC in reply to "DRM isn't the root problem"
Vargol Member since:
2006-02-28


For it to meet the GPLv2 or worse, v3 (which avoids TiVoization which would apply here), I need to have access to the source, be able to modify the code and be able to DISTRIBUTE and run that modified code on the device.


Assuming Robota Software, the app 'Authors', distributed the source you can do all of the above. Yes if you want to run it on the actual device you'd need to be in the iphone developers program and pay your $99 a year to Apple, but it is still compliant with the terms of the GPL if not the spirit. Certainly less of an issue than TiVoization.

As for Apple themselves needing to distribute the code, should I also be asking the DVD press company that Red Hat use for RHEL code or the store I bought if from ?

Reply Score: 1

RE: DRM isn't the root problem
by Almafeta on Sun 30th May 2010 04:27 UTC in reply to "DRM isn't the root problem"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

They aren't "up in arms" - the GPL was simply violated and they are pointing it out and doing so with less thunder than the RIAA or MPAA usually does.


I wasn't aware the iPad's operating system and the network that distributes content to it were released under the GPL. Where can one find a copy?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: DRM isn't the root problem
by chris_l on Sun 30th May 2010 15:50 UTC in reply to "RE: DRM isn't the root problem"
chris_l Member since:
2010-02-14

"They aren't "up in arms" - the GPL was simply violated and they are pointing it out and doing so with less thunder than the RIAA or MPAA usually does.


I wasn't aware the iPad's operating system and the network that distributes content to it were released under the GPL. Where can one find a copy?
"

Apple's crap isn't released under the GPL. However Apple's claiming the right to impose restrictions upon things that doesn't fall under Apple's ownership without the obtaining permision of the actual owner does violate the GPL and a number other similar approaches.

Reply Score: 1

v ...
by Hiev on Sat 29th May 2010 02:51 UTC
RE: ...
by gnufreex on Sat 29th May 2010 03:27 UTC in reply to "..."
gnufreex Member since:
2010-05-06

IBM didn't sue any FLOSS project. (Yet)

I do not know what you are implying.

On topic: Apple Store policy is very clear: No Free Software. Just proprietary. They did not say with those words but that is what it means.

Someone trowed a jab at GPL, but no other FLOSS license is allowed either. Their policy is in conflict with Open Source Definition and Free Software definition. For BSD licensed code to be included in their store, it needs to be striped of BSD license and made proprietary, becase BSD license is also incompatible with 5 users limit. Only difference is that BSD license can be removed easily and users can be shafted even without original developers' knowledge. With GPL, you have to seek permission of copyright holder to do that, and in this case that is FSF; they not do such kind of deals.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ...
by Hiev on Sat 29th May 2010 03:30 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27
RE[3]: ...
by gnufreex on Sat 29th May 2010 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
gnufreex Member since:
2010-05-06

Oh, that. IBM did not sued. They have proved to be enormous dickwads, but they did not sued and it is arguable if they even threatened. Read the letters. TH is the one who launched complaint to European Commission against IBM.

I would not say that IBM's stupidity was attack on open source. Even PJ of Groklaw (who is always on FLOSS side) said that TH guys are bunch of bozos.

Anyway, FSF have spoken against IBM number of times. This was non-issue.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ...
by Hiev on Sat 29th May 2010 13:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Well, the FSF didn't appear to botter since they stayed in silence.

Reply Score: 2

RE: ...
by chris_l on Sat 29th May 2010 16:06 UTC in reply to "..."
chris_l Member since:
2010-02-14

Oh FSF, where were you when IBM sued certaint open source company over their patents?

Oh, I forgot, IBM is your sponsor.

You oportunistic.


The FSF *KNEW* just like most people with more than *1* fuctioning brain cell that claims of that certain open source company was full of shit.


Get over it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ...
by Hiev on Sat 29th May 2010 18:06 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Yes, and still remains quiet and accept its sponsorship so its credibility gets affected badly.

Deal with it.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: ...
by ichi on Sat 29th May 2010 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Re-read what you replied to, I think you got it the other way around.

Reply Score: 3

Would not be an issue if...
by Moochman on Sun 30th May 2010 14:57 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

This wouldn't be an issue if Apple would just allow the users to install whatever they want from outside the app store.

Even if they did come up with a halfway workable way to make the app store "compatible" with the GPL, it doesn't change the fact that the principles of the GPL and the FSF are pretty much the opposite of those of the app store. The FSF is all about the ability of everyone to share apps all they want, and to run whatever they feel like, and to mess around with system internals to your hearts content. Do that with an iPhone and you're technically breaking the law.

Apple really needs to pull their head out of their ass and realize that the world does not revolve around them. They should not be criminalizing the right of the consumer to do what they want with their device.

Edited 2010-05-30 15:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Would not be an issue if...
by bnolsen on Sun 30th May 2010 22:25 UTC in reply to "Would not be an issue if..."
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

you do need to balance the open part with a working phone. The above policy if followed strictly would surely drive apple into bankruptcy over support costs.

I'm not sure what the best model is for these types of special purpose devices.

Edited 2010-05-30 22:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Would not be an issue if...
by nt_jerkface on Mon 31st May 2010 01:31 UTC in reply to "Would not be an issue if..."
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Apple really needs to pull their head out of their ass and realize that the world does not revolve around them. They should not be criminalizing the right of the consumer to do what they want with their device.


No you need to pull your head out of your own ass and realize that the vast majority of iphone users are satisfied with the iphone store. It has over 100k apps and almost all of them are under $5. Only a tiny minority cares about being able to install apps from a USB drive or web site.

If you don't like it then buy an Android. Like Stallman you need to accept that most proprietary software transactions are mutually beneficial. People want functionality, not ideology.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Would not be an issue if...
by gnufreex on Mon 31st May 2010 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Would not be an issue if..."
gnufreex Member since:
2010-05-06

You need to get your head out of sand and look at the facts before posting pre-written anti-FSF propaganda.

Most sheeple liking iPhone store has nothing to do with this case. But all you want is to bash Stallman and FSF, so you probably did not even looked at what this is about.

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

*Discussion going nowhere spotted*

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Would not be an issue if...
by Moochman on Mon 31st May 2010 18:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Would not be an issue if..."
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Nothing you say shows any kind of benefit for the customer being criminalized just for choosing to install apps from outside of the app store.

That is all.

Edited 2010-05-31 18:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

FSF is just looking for somewhere to grind the ax again. Publicity, thy name is Apple.

Shall Apple inspect each line of source code of each application submitted to the App Store? Shall they keep a cross reference of all open source code, line by line, version by version?

The easiest solution is to eject anything from the App Store that is mentioned by the FSF and take away the fun.

This is not the way for the FSF to promote open source software but it's certainly a way to give it a bad reputation, regardless of your stand on the licence.

Reply Score: 2

Developer's Responsibility
by yoursecretninja on Tue 1st Jun 2010 03:43 UTC
yoursecretninja
Member since:
2006-01-02

Since Apple cannot reasonably know what code a developer has or has not used in their application, it seems to me the responsibility for this misuse of GPL-licensed code should rest with the developers. In fact, Apple should pull the offending products from the store for not only being in violation of the GPL, but also for being in violation of Apple's developer contract, which in section 5.1 states:

"You represent and warrant that: ... (b) none of the Licensed Applications, or Apple’s or end-users’ permitted uses of those Licensed Applications, violate or infringe any patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property or contractual rights of any other person, firm, corporation or other entity; "

What that says, in part, is that Apple's permitted use (e.g. distribution via the App Store via their policies) must not infringe the intellectual property of others AND it is up to the developer to ensure this.

Developers using GPL code in their binary applications, which Apple distributes and does not allow customers to redistribute is a violation of the license on the DEVELOPERs' part. I'm an iPhone dev and have never used GPL-licensed code in my products as this has always been my understanding of the contact.

Edited 2010-06-01 03:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1