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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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.

If I wrote code that I wanted everyone to share, I would not view it as nice if someone took a copy of my code and refused to share it. This can happen to my code if I license it as BSD/MIT. The GPL simply adds a stipulation beyond BSD/MIT that in effect says: "I shared this with you, you may use it however you like but if you give it to others you must share it with them just as I have shared it with you".

Sorry, but I simply can't agree with any argument that wishes to characterise that position as unreasonable in any way or failing somehow as not being "altruistic sharing".

As for your comments re linking:

LGPL is absolutely safe, as it specifically allows linking (even static linking). Most libraries are LGPL, not GPL.

Despite what the FSF say, copyright law itself allows dynamic linking ... if a later work does not actually INCLUDE any major elements of earlier works, then it does not infringe copyright law.


Edited 2011-01-10 06:28 UTC

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