VLC for iOS may be pulled from iTunes over open-source issue

“Rémi Denis-Courmont, one of the primary developers of the VLC Media Player has sent a formal notification of copyright infringement to Apple regarding distribution of the VLC media player for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch,” Jesse David Hollington reports for iLounge.. “Denis-Courmont indicates that VLC media player is free software licensed solely under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and Apple is violating the terms of the GPL through its App Store usage rules which restrict free and open distribution of applications by applying Digital Rights Management (DRM) that prevents users from freely sharing the application.”

Hollington reports, “The GNU General Public License requires that works licensed under it must be free to be used for any purpose, freely shared with others, and open to modification by individual users to suit their needs and share those changes with others. The iOS and App Store distribution model precludes most of these uses through Digital Rights Management of the application as well as the inability for end users to create their own modifications to the source code without being a member of Apple’s iOS Developer Program.”

Red more in the full article here.

40 Comments

  1. Have I missed something. All apps that are developed on a person’s Mac, I have assumed could be tested on that persons iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Is it stuck in simulation mode only? How else do they test the hardware features that don’t exist in the Mac?

  2. Have I missed something. All apps that are developed on a person’s Mac, I have assumed could be tested on that persons iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Is it stuck in simulation mode only? How else do they test the hardware features that don’t exist in the Mac?

  3. I don’t think it’s the guy that’s being a douche, I think it’s the GNU GPL that’s out-of-whack. The app is free and can is distributed freely, it just becomes locked down once it’s on the device.
    I have 0 knowledge of this stuff works and may be sounding like an idiot, but it seems like one of those terms/conditions that could (maybe not easily or quickly) be changed to reflect more modern circumstances that may not have originally been considered when they were created.

  4. I don’t think it’s the guy that’s being a douche, I think it’s the GNU GPL that’s out-of-whack. The app is free and can is distributed freely, it just becomes locked down once it’s on the device.
    I have 0 knowledge of this stuff works and may be sounding like an idiot, but it seems like one of those terms/conditions that could (maybe not easily or quickly) be changed to reflect more modern circumstances that may not have originally been considered when they were created.

  5. Courmant is an idiot. His own buddies at VLC have coded and submitted the VLC app. He should have told those numbnuts to stop. Instead, he’s grandstanding for some publicity by letting his buddies submit the app, knowing full well that Apple applies DRM to apps, and then filing a complaint. This is no different than those GreenTerrorists. It’s a sham, a setup, a strawman.

  6. Courmant is an idiot. His own buddies at VLC have coded and submitted the VLC app. He should have told those numbnuts to stop. Instead, he’s grandstanding for some publicity by letting his buddies submit the app, knowing full well that Apple applies DRM to apps, and then filing a complaint. This is no different than those GreenTerrorists. It’s a sham, a setup, a strawman.

  7. “The GNU General Public License requires that works licensed under it must be free to be used for any purpose, freely shared with others, and open to modification by individual users to suit their needs and share those changes with others.”

    That is NOT what the GNU GPL states.

    Derivative works layered upon a standard set of proprietary code are possilbe and can the executables *can* be locked down. The distributor (in this case, Apple) just has to make the original source available (Apple can point them back to the developer for distribution) and not modify the code itself.

    This is all 100% allowed under the GNU GPL.

    With Darwin, Free BSD and such, clearly Apple’s legal team knows more about Open Source Software than this idiot.

    As other’s have said, he’s just trying to get his name out there by making stupid claims tied to Apple.

  8. “The GNU General Public License requires that works licensed under it must be free to be used for any purpose, freely shared with others, and open to modification by individual users to suit their needs and share those changes with others.”

    That is NOT what the GNU GPL states.

    Derivative works layered upon a standard set of proprietary code are possilbe and can the executables *can* be locked down. The distributor (in this case, Apple) just has to make the original source available (Apple can point them back to the developer for distribution) and not modify the code itself.

    This is all 100% allowed under the GNU GPL.

    With Darwin, Free BSD and such, clearly Apple’s legal team knows more about Open Source Software than this idiot.

    As other’s have said, he’s just trying to get his name out there by making stupid claims tied to Apple.

  9. The DRM in the case of a free program, such as VLC helps to insure that the program has not been altered by a 3rd party in any way (such as the inclusion of identity theft functions) – this is the “digital signing” that everyone gets so hot and bothered about. Yes, you must pay $99 a year to be a member of the iOS Developer community – which gives you the ability to test your code on hardware, rather than in the simulator. And it gives you the ability to sell your application on the App Store. If you want to play with iOS code for free, you are stuck w/ the simulator (you only need an Intel Mac w/ Snow Leopard for that).

    I have the VLC app, but between Goodreader and the bundled Video app, I’ve never had any use for it.

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