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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lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

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:
http://www.bricsys.com/common/news.jsp?ksearch=Linux

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.

Reply Parent Score: 5

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

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

This is likely going to end a flamewar, I wouldn't have responded to this guy if I were you... he didn't even give a reason; classic example of flamebait.

It's clear he just has blind hatred toward the GPL and likes sitting in Apple's wallet, doing everything *their* way...

Or maybe he's a proprietary software developer, getting paid to herd his users like sheep, withholding the source from them and forcing paid upgrades at his own will. Either way, I think the guy's purpose for saying that was to fire everyone up.

Don't fall for it. All I can say to the guy is: Who cares? Bend over for Apple and other proprietary companies all you want. I won't.

Edited 2011-01-09 10:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Lots of developers aren't sure what they can and can't do with GPL code.

Read here

http://blog.verysofisticated.com/2011/01/GPL-rebuilding-what-was-lo...

the important parts are

The GPL is a vague license, and the vague nature of the United States copyright law compounds the issue. Does a Dynamically Linked Library constitute a derivative work? To some, it doesn't, but to the Free Software Foundation, it does.


and here ...

The harm is in the idea that one is not sure if linking to a GPL library could land a liberal-license developer, like me, in court for violating some vague part of the license.


That is the confusion that many developers face and the same reason why many companies (such as my own) have a no GPL policy.

Edited 2011-01-09 10:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Either way, I think the guy's purpose for saying that was to fire everyone up.


Possibly so. As you note, the poster didn't give any reason at all as to exactly why in his or her opinion one should avoid the GPL.

The very best way to point this out to casual readers, without calling anyone a liar or astroturfer, is to simply ask for that unstated reason.

If the original poster cannot come up with a reason, most readers are savvy enough to work out for themselves that the emporer had no clothes, and that it is absolutely fine to use GPL software.

IMO. Caveat: flamewars have started up before where I thought I had taken a sane approach. Not everyone follows civil rules of discourse.

Edited 2011-01-09 12:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Or maybe he's a proprietary software developer, getting paid to herd his users like sheep, withholding the source from them and forcing paid upgrades at his own will. Either way, I think the guy's purpose for saying that was to fire everyone up.

I wanted to react to this because I'm seriously considering starting a small development studio (even maybe with just myself) in a year or less. I don't see how I can sustain my studio by making open source (and thus free) software. If you have an answer, I'd be more than willing to know.

According to what I quoted above, you seem to think that all proprietary software is wrong... Is developing software your activity? or you're just of those people who consume software without wondering how it's been done? If all software is open source, how do I live? Or do you think I should remain an employee all my life and spend all of my evenings and week-ends working on free software that others will enjoy while living a fuller life?


It's clear he just has blind hatred toward the GPL and likes sitting in Apple's wallet, doing everything *their* way...

Reading that when the guy wrote "Oh well, doesn't affect me--I will never own one of their stupid iGadgets." also felt weird and makes me wonder where the hate really is.

Reply Parent Score: 2

sean Member since:
2005-06-29

"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:
http://www.bricsys.com/common/news.jsp?ksearch=Linux

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.

Reply Parent Score: 3

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

They say they will work on an OS; they do not say an OS is compatible with them.

Are you sure?

Windows Vista Compatibility Center:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-vista/

Windows 7 Compatibility Center:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/defa...

As for the specs included with individual software, obviously no one is going to waste their time listing hundreds of 100% irrelevant operating systems. It would be a waste of their time and leave the user wondering, "well what the f*** is this POS compatible with, then?" without even bothering to read all that garbage.

Basically, that's a poor comparison; there are obvious reasons why you don't list operating systems that are *not* compatible, starting with the fact that it would be a completely useless piece of information to go by (and seemingly never-ending with all the different choices out there).

There's a reason why proprietary Linux software doesn't list 125-150 of the 300+ distributions out there, and instead choose to mention general specifications such as "Linux 2.6 kernel, glibc x.x.x and up; OpenGL hardware acceleration; OSS or Alsa, etc.," or even something more general like "Most major Linux distributions from around 2007" or whatever.

It sounds like you're complaining about nothing more than language--and in this case I honestly see nothing to complain about to begin with. I don't see any negativity; just facts, on the page you referred to.

Edited 2011-01-10 04:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

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.

See:
http://www.osnews.com/permalink?456652

Edited 2011-01-10 06:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

vtolkov Member since:
2006-07-26

Absolutely agree. I like the "SRM" analogy. Exactly!

Another thing, that BSD license only require you to respect the author. And you can do whatever you want with this code, but you have to respect the author by mentioning his name. Like if you cite someone in your publication, you need to give a reference. But GPL is opposite, it values code as the only value, not its authors, there are no names, there is only code and when this code touches another code it also becomes GPLed. Kind of "bite of GPL". I also avoid GPL as a developer, because I consider this non-ethical and antihuman.

Reply Parent Score: 0

VZsolt Member since:
2008-10-31

It was not meant to be a flamebait, but my opinion.

Yes, I'm a proprietary software developer, herding my users as shee...
Wait what? How are these related? You should enlighten me about that.

I don't use GPL'ed software because I find the GPL license and the associated fanatic movement repulsive. It's a personal issue. I like BSD and other, simple licenses more, not so I could steal software under them, but because I feel better. (I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one on this side.) Though using them in proprietary projects don't hurt either. At least I can do so.

Sidenote: Not to mention that I'm not always comfortable with the quality of "fix it yourself" applications or libraries. (But I know others who won't touch anything open sourced at all for the same reason. I'm more liberal than that, I'd look it up and test it first).

In this very case with VLC, it was inferior to OPlayer (HD). Thus for me, nothing of value was lost. I don't mind paying its price to the developer, and most certainly I won't make a fuss over its source code.

I'm not buying a religion or a philosophy, I'm not supporting a brand or an evil tyranny and the brainwashing of the mass, and I don't want to buy myself homework. I'm just buying a device and an app that lets me watch videos easily. What's so wrong with that?

Edited 2011-01-10 13:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23


I'm not buying a religion or a philosophy

Yes you are (buying a philosophy). You are just not buying free software philosophy but from your post I can see you are buying a philosophy.
I don't use GPL'ed software because I find the GPL license and the associated fanatic movement repulsive.

You are totally buying a religion/philosophy: the one that says the viral license is evil.
In this very case with VLC, it was inferior to OPlayer (HD). Thus for me, nothing of value was lost. I don't mind paying its price to the developer, and most certainly I won't make a fuss over its source code.
Free/open source/proprietary software is not about price. If you don't mind and can afford it you should donate to the free software projects you use that accept donations. This is your best interest to do so.

What you are saying is wrong. You said you are not buying a philosophy but that you hate free software but that non-free open source and proprietary software are ok, without context and that is a philosophy.

If you really don't want to go into philosophy or politics your should just use software based on what you need and are allowed to use depending on the license and not based on your own philosophy/politics.

Reply Parent Score: 4