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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RE: That isn't quite right
by tetek on Sat 8th Jan 2011 21:28 UTC in reply to "That isn't quite right"
tetek
Member since:
2010-10-04

Yeah, I hope they are happy. GPL lawyers/prosecutors are.

So situation looks like this:
- few of open source advocates says "it's all apple fault cause they didn't change the TOS"
- apple won't change TOS just for few apps
- common people can't use VLC on iDevices

I think that the main lost is for "The People" - average Joe.
It should not work like this. I'm pretty sure that creator(s) of GPL hadn't this in mind when they wanted to create a free software for everyone.

In this case a company ported for free a free software. No one had any $ from it. You could download a source code. No one was being hurt... Everybody benefit from it.

I thought that Open Source was about freedom of software and that open source software was FOR people. Not the other way. GPL shoudn't be used as muzzle.
Above the law there is always common good. It should be. Especially that the case was just to put the foot down.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: That isn't quite right
by vivainio on Sat 8th Jan 2011 21:44 in reply to "RE: That isn't quite right"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26


I think that the main lost is for "The People" - average Joe.


Nah, the people losing are the ones buying Apple products (as they have less software at their disposal). And, by proxy, Apple.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[3]: That isn't quite right
by tetek on Sat 8th Jan 2011 21:48 in reply to "RE[2]: That isn't quite right"
tetek Member since:
2010-10-04

And they are second category people by your standards?

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: That isn't quite right
by Neolander on Sat 8th Jan 2011 21:52 in reply to "RE: That isn't quite right"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I thought that Open Source was about freedom of software and that open source software was FOR people. Not the other way. GPL shoudn't be used as muzzle.
Above the law there is always common good. It should be. Especially that the case was just to put the foot down.

Sorry, but the goal of GPL is in my opinion not to defend "people" as a whole. The closest thing to that would be public domain, AFAIK, and GPL is very far away from public domain.

The GPL's primary goal, the way I see it, is to promote collaboration in software development and distribution. You use or redistribute my software, alright, but then you contribute back by sharing your modifications with the rest of the world and letting users share my software the way they want. This way, we and the rest of the community of software developers as a whole benefit from our effort, as the amount of publicly accessible open-source work grows.

On the other side of the coin, the App Store's TOS are the exact opposite of the GPL. Among them, you can find that...
-Software developers are forbidden from distributing their software (source included) outside of the App Store. So every software on the App Store which is not closed source is illegal and it's Apple's right to remove it whenever they want.
-Software users cannot freely share the product they have bought. So when the App Store will close its doors, all work which was published on it will be definitely lost. It's generally-speaking a very bad idea to depend on a single mode of distribution.

No way both ideologies might ever agree.

Reply Parent Score: 15

RE[3]: That isn't quite right
by tetek on Sat 8th Jan 2011 22:00 in reply to "RE[2]: That isn't quite right"
tetek Member since:
2010-10-04

-Software developers are forbidden from distributing their software (source included) outside of the App Store. So every software on the App Store which is not closed source is illegal and it's Apple's right to remove it whenever they want.


Only the second statement is correct. Quoted above is not. I just checked developer agreement and there isn't anything about code. There is only notice about distributing application - you can't distribute it i.e. in cydia.

Reply Parent Score: 2

matto1990 Member since:
2009-04-18

The code was contributed back. The developers of the iOS app was also open source. The only problem is the DRM that apple ships with the market apps. That's all. I don't see why it has to be pulled for such a small technicality.

Reply Parent Score: 1

mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Software developers are forbidden from distributing their software (source included) outside of the App Store


Why do you people continue to perpetuate this lie? From the Apple developer site - under the "Distribute your App" section: (https://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/distribute.html)

Ad Hoc Distribution
Share your application with up to 100 other iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch users with Ad Hoc distribution. Share your application through email, or by posting it to a web site or server.

Yes, there is a LIMIT on it, but it is NOT "forbidden". And as far as source code is concerned I can share whatever I like - there are tutorial and code snippet sites that do precisely that. Do you see them being shut down?

This GPL thing was predictable, and shows the absolute moronic attitude of some people who are part of the FOSS movement. Apple did the only thing they could, because changing their TOS would allow all sorts of other things they don't want, and they're not about to do that. So the f'tards at VLC got what they deserved, and now they lose out. I just feel for the dev who spent his time only to have VLC screw him over - they were the ones who whinged when the essence of GPL was not being inhibited.

I liked having VLC on my iPhone, but it's not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, and wouldn't be for the vast majority of normal users either. In fact for me it goes the other way, my feeling is if they want to be that stupid and f@({ people over they can shove their product where the sun don't shine. I've yet to find a video that I can't play on the Mac with something else anyway...

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[2]: That isn't quite right
by bassbeast on Sun 9th Jan 2011 03:09 in reply to "RE: That isn't quite right"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

I'm pretty sure that creator(s) of GPL hadn't this in mind when they wanted to create a free software for everyone

Actually that is EXACTLY what they had in mind! The WHOLE POINT of the GPL is that you get the same freedom the developer has and Apple doesn't allow that. If Apple was allowed to skirt the GPL simply because they are popular then you might as well just toss the GPL for BSD and let any corp just make the apps proprietary.

As much as I don't agree with RMS on...well pretty much anything, since I am a Windows guy who sees nothing wrong with proprietary software, I do have to respect the license if I want to use the developer's hard work. If I want a piece of GPL code I have to share, if not then I don't use it, PERIOD. Being allowed to just "skip" the GPL because they are Apple would be NO different that just taking someone's app that I had NO rights to and selling it.

If I don't have the license then I'm infringing PERIOD and Apple was infringing by not allowing the GPL license to be upheld. It is academic. This also give an advantage to those that DO follow the GPL or allow it like Android, as they now have access to all those GPL apps that Apple does not. Now we know in the end it won't make a difference, because an iFanboy would buy a brick in a box if it came from Steve, but this at least sets a precedent on what to expect from Apple. I can't wait to see how well the Mac users react when Steve locks them into their own "app store" walled garden.

Reply Parent Score: 13

RE[3]: That isn't quite right
by vtolkov on Sun 9th Jan 2011 04:23 in reply to "RE[2]: That isn't quite right"
vtolkov Member since:
2006-07-26

No, actually. You do not have freedom to relicense, but author has. Author could resolve the issue, but crowd can not, because they are bound by the license. Author of GPL wanted exactly that: bound people by his license, so they do not have alternative to joining his party.

Reply Parent Score: -1

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

If I want a piece of GPL code I have to share, if not then I don't use it, PERIOD.


Just a correction.
You don't have to share your code if you don't distribute derivative works based on GPLd code.
Even in if you infringe(by not complying with GPL), you would just have to remove the source of infringement (remove all of GPL code that is not under your copyright).

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: That isn't quite right
by lemur2 on Sun 9th Jan 2011 06:51 in reply to "RE[2]: That isn't quite right"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If I want a piece of GPL code I have to share, if not then I don't use it, PERIOD.


The GPL code is available for you to USE (as in run, or execute) without restriction. Fill your boots. Enjoy!

The GPL code is not however, your code, so you do not have any intrinsic right to share it, or to refuse to share it. The copyright belongs to the original authors, not to you, and they have said that you may USE their code however you please, but that you may not re-distribute their code without sharing it with everybody.

Since it isn't your code anyway, because you didn't write it, if you do want to re-distribute it how on earth does it hurt you to share that source code?

And for that matter, getting back on topic, since Apple didn't write VLC, how on earth would it hurt Apple to have allowed redistibution of VLC for iOS source code (in compliance with the code's GPL license) via Apple's App store?

Edited 2011-01-09 06:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: That isn't quite right
by JAlexoid on Sun 9th Jan 2011 06:12 in reply to "RE: That isn't quite right"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I'm pretty sure that creator(s) of GPL hadn't this in mind when they wanted to create a free software for everyone.


Really? Richard Stallman is, thankfully, still alive and well, so we can ask him... We don't need to resort to anything paranormal...

And based on his comments, presentations and articles that is this is exactly what he wanted.

PS: The FSF, where the GPL was created and where RMS is The Big Kahuna, have already made a statement on the issue. And it ain't pro-Apple.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: That isn't quite right
by ubunho on Sun 9th Jan 2011 10:58 in reply to "RE: That isn't quite right"
ubunho Member since:
2011-01-09

I'm pretty sure that creator(s) of GPL hadn't this in mind when they wanted to create a free software for everyone.


I'm pretty sure that the GPL was specifically written by Stallman and friends for exactly this kind of situation. If you're happy to give up a couple of freedoms just so you can have an easy life; you deserve all the trouble you're going to get.

How is the GPL being used as a muzzle here? Go to the VLC homepage, notice that there's a link to the iOS version of VLC? Guess what, you can download iOS VLC from that page to as many idevices as you want without having to create multiple accounts.

Here's the link:

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-ios.html

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: That isn't quite right
by shmerl on Mon 10th Jan 2011 08:13 in reply to "RE: That isn't quite right"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Why not? Don't install VLC from appstore. Install it directly. That's it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: That isn't quite right
by vodoomoth on Mon 10th Jan 2011 12:19 in reply to "RE[2]: That isn't quite right"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Is it possible to install an app on an iPhone without going through the app store? I thought that was the whole point of jailbreaking...

Reply Parent Score: 3