Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Sat 8th Jan 2011 19:28 UTC, submitted by sjvn
GNU, GPL, Open Source Some people swore to me that just because the free-software General Public License (GPL) clashes with the Apple App Store's Terms of Service (ToS), didn't mean that Apple would actually pull down GPLed apps. Well, Apple just did. Remi Denis-Courmont, a Linux developer of the popular VLC media player, has just announced that Apple had pulled the popular GPLed VLC media player from its App Store.
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"This mess doesn't affect me either, I avoid GPL'ed software like plague unless they're absolutely necessary.

If you write your own code, it is your code, so you may do with that whatever you wish.

If you don't write code, GPL software won't bite you, you know. You are absolutely free to run it without restriction. Fill your boots. Have a ball.

If you want to use someone else's GPL code in conjunction with your work, keep it separated from your work. Do not include any GPL source code actually within your work, but rather write your own code to run "on top of" GPL code. Here is an example of a company with a proprietary product which has done just that:

If you want to re-distribute someone else's GPL code, then simply re-distribute their source code as well. Its their code anyway, no skin of your nose to re-distribute it even as source code.

You do not have to distribute source code for your work, if you do not want to, if it was actually your work.

So, please explain, what exactly is your reason for avoiding GPL code? I'm peplexed, I truly am.

I also avoid GPL software when I can. As a developer that uses a more liberal license (BSD in my case but MIT license would also do), I avoid it, for one reason, because the philosophy behind the license is exclusive. If you go to FSF's website, you will see a list of licenses that are or are not compatible with GNU licenses. You will notice that it does not phrase it as what GNU licenses are compatible with. Yes, it is a small difference, but it demonstrates an attitude against others. For a comparison, consider how software packages mention compatibility. They say they will work on an OS; they do not say an OS is compatible with them.

If I write BSD-licensed software and link it against GPL-licensed software, I have to redistribute it under the GPL license according to the FSF. The MPL or CDDL do not have this issue as long as I keep the code apart in separate files. Although they are friendlier licenses, I still prefer BSD/MIT licenses since they are closer to altruistic sharing than the others. If I shared something with somebody, I would not view it as nice to require anything back in return.

This post is not intended as flamebait, but I could not help seeing a similarity between Digital Rights Management (DRM) and GNU licenses. Both try to control the usage (development in my eyes is a type of usage). The phrase "Source Rights Management" (SRM) had actually popped into my head.

BTW, as for Apple, I did not see them being at fault in this case. While I may be very wary of their control over their devices, they did not attempt to distribute anything. Someone else tried to distribute VLC over Apple's system against the terms of the GPL; if someone is to be sued, that is the person who should be sued for placing the binary in a place it could not be redistributed. Of course, the source availability of the binary did comply with the terms of the GPL; this was just about the binary.

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