Open Source Archive

No GPL Apps for Apple’s App Store

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.

FSFLA: Linux Kernel Is Torvalds’ ‘Bait and Switch’

Now this is interesting. We see what is at its core a very valid concern, in practice not a problem to anyone, and, thanks to the tone of the press release, close to trolling. The Free Software Foundation Latin America is complaining about something that has been known for a while - there is some non-Free code stuck in the Linux kernel (mostly firmware). A valid issue of concern from an idealogical viewpoint, but sadly, the tone of the press release turns this valid concern into something close to trolling.

10 Great FOSS Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux

InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp looks beyond OpenOffice.org to list 10 great free and open source desktop tools for word processing, page layout, graphics editing, illustration, task management, and more. Some of the featured tools provide a worthwhile alternative to expensive proprietary software, while others carve a niche all their own. All are available for Windows, and nearly all are available for Linux and Mac OS X as well. From AbiWord, to Inkscape, to Task Coach, each of the tools provides further proof that the roster of available free programs is growing remarkably -- in both the breadth and depth of functionality offered.

2010’s Best Open Source Software

The InfoWorld Test Center rounds up of the past year in open source, highlighting the best open source offerings in several software categories: "The word 'best' here can mean many things. It is sometimes equivalent to 'most promising', 'most surprising', 'most subversive', 'most unnerving', 'most opportune', 'most happening', or some weird, inchoate mixture of them all. The one thing it always means is 'most useful' - to developers, IT administrators, and users on a business network." From enterprise apps, to app dev tools, to platforms and middleware, to networking software, the list is expansive, including 39 hybrid license and community offerings.

Profiting From Open Source – Without Selling Out

InfoWorld's Peter Wayner discusses the difficulties of transforming an open source project into a profitable endeavor, offering 8 business models for balancing openness with revenue. 'The debate over permissiveness is woven throughout the discussions of open source business models. Some companies stay small on purpose, while others argue that there's nothing wrong with proprietary options if they encourage all users to share the costs of development,' Wayner writes. 'The challenge for businesses is to find viable mechanisms for aligning the interests of the users and the programmers -- a complex task of social engineering.' From selling support, to selling documentaiton, to selling FUD, each business model offers a unique opportunity to strike a balance between purity and profit.

FSF: Apple’s iTunes Store Terms of Service at Odds with GPL

"The Free Software Foundation is up in arms over Apple's iTunes Store Terms of Service, suggesting that these terms fundamentally conflict with the terms of the GNU Public License. The foundation has warned Apple that a version of GNU Go distributed by the App Store makes Apple liable to comply with GPL terms that allow free sharing of code, but warned that its 'Usage Rules' violate those terms. The fallout could potentially affect any app that uses GPLed code."

Open Source Innovations on the Cutting Edge

InfoWorld's Neil McAllister takes on the old saw that open source doesn't innovate, highlighting seven innovative new ideas in software that you may be able to buy from proprietary vendors some day, but that you can only get for free from the open source community today. "Proprietary software vendors would have you believe that the open source movement has produced nothing but knockoffs of existing products and cast-off code that couldn't cut it in the free market," McAllister writes, "The open source movement remains a font of innovation to this day, and not just in the commercial sector. Numerous projects founded by universities, loosely knit communities, and individuals are exploring areas yet to be taken on by mainstream, proprietary software products."

Patent Absurdity: How Software Patents Broke the System

The Free Software Foundation has released a medium length film which discusses the harms and the origins of software patents in the USA, using the ongoing Bilski case as a backdrop. There are interviews with Dan Bricklin, Timothy B. Lee, Eben Moglen, Richard Stallman, Dan Ravicher, and others. Now this is what the FSF ought to focus on. Great stuff. It explains how software patents came to be: a massive fail by the US justice system.

Open Letter to Google: Free VP8, Use it on YouTube

"With your purchase of On2, you now own both the world's largest video site (YouTube) and all the patents behind a new high performance video codec - VP8. Just think what you can achieve by releasing the VP8 codec under an irrevocable royalty-free license and pushing it out to users on YouTube? You can end the web's dependence on patent-encumbered video formats and proprietary software (Flash)."