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.
Thread beginning with comment 456641
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
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

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.
"

The important thing is what actualy copyright law says, and not the stated opinion of the FSF.

Copyright law says a work is a derived work if it CONTAINS significant elements of an earlier copyrighted work.

If you dynamically link to a library, then your work simply does not contain the library. Period. This is easy to show by trying to run your work on a system where the library is not installed.

OK, the FSF might argue that your work, in dynamically linking the library, includes the functionlity of the library, but that is a very weak case. First of all, the GPL under which the library is licensed explicitly states that anyone may run the code at any time for any purpose. That should mean that you may run the code, via your application which links to it, on the system of another party as the end user, and likewise the end user may run the code. You are NOT re-distributing the GPL library, so the copyleft restrictions of the GPL simply should not apply to your code.

Secondly, it is also very relevant to note that most FOSS libraries are licensed LGPL, specifically for the purpose of clarifying that it is OK to dynamically or even statically link to the library. The LGPL has a linking exception.

Finally, proprietary applications such as this one:
http://www.bricsys.com/common/news.jsp?ksearch=Linux
call the Linux kernel and a raft of libraries extensively. No-one is threatening them in court, there is not even a hint of it, even coming from the FSF. The ONLY court cases involving GPL compliance issues have occurred when someone HAS included GPL code directly within in a product (not mere linked it, but directly cut and paste the GPL code into their product), and then re-distributed that product as closed source.

Those are the ONLY cases where there has been an issue.

VLC for iOS is certainly another such a case. VLC for iOS does unquestionably include GPL source code (from the VLC project), and Apple's App store does unquestionably redistribute that very code. Therefore, in order to be compliant with the license for VLC code, and compliant with copyright law, as a clear coase of being a derived work, VLC for iOS must comply with the license conditions for VLC, and the license in question is GPL.

It is pretty crystal clear really.

I think anyone who professes to be confused about this is simply trying one on, frankly.

Edited 2011-01-09 13:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Personally, I don't face confusion: I avoid GPL because I understand that using a GPL-licensed work would force me to make my code GPL instead of commercial or BSD. That's enough to make me avoid it. The idea of not having the right to decide the license by myself is the line to me.
Maybe that I'm wrong and I haven't understood it correctly (most probably so as @lemur2 gave an example of commercial product built "on top of" GPL work) but when I get to start my own company, I'll research it thoroughly.

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