Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th May 2011 21:46 UTC
Apple Apple has released the source code for WebKit in iOS 4.3, which it had been withholding for eight weeks. However, according yo Jay 'saurik' Freeman, they are still not, and never have been, in compliance with the LGPL. "Apple's provided source code (which /is/ heavily modified for the iPhone) [...] isn't even complete enough to compile (it is missing a bunch of code for the WAK* classes), so Apple has simply never been in compliance with this license," Saurik writes. So, it would seem that Apple is still violating the LGPL, and has been doing so for a very long time. Funny how this never makes it to mainstream technology sites. I guess they find their pre-release review devices more important.
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"Even allowing for the sake of argument that Apple is or was in violation of the LGPL, why do you even care? Are you a copyright holder for part of WebKit? Did not having that source code harm you in some way?"

This shows that you have no idea what (L)GPL is actually about.

In fact, even end users are harmed when apple violates licenses. Many end users do benefit from having access to the source code. It doesn't matter if they are a minority or not, the copyright holders entitled them to it when they published code under the LGPL.

Apple is not entitled to withhold their source code changes while distributing the object code. If apple disregards their obligations, end users who depended on having access to the source code (and are entitled to it), are undeniably harmed.

Legally speaking, it'd probably be difficult for anyone other than the original copyright holders to take action against apple for any violation.

It makes for an interesting question, what if an open source owner died before transferring ownership? Could non-copyright holding end users legally coerce a company to distribute their modifications to the code as required by the license? Or is the company legally sheltered from fulfilling it's open source obligations because the copyright holders are gone?

Edited 2011-05-10 18:50 UTC

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