GPL and the Mac App Store

Colin Barrett colin at springsandstruts.com
Tue Jan 11 22:50:05 UTC 2011


On the one hand, this is awful news. However, it's somewhat encouraging that we are not alone in this boat, in terms of GPL-ness.

If you could pass on my thanks (and I assume the thanks of everyone on this list) to Karen, that would be much appreciated.

-Colin

On Jan 11, 2011, at 2:43 PM, Evan Schoenberg, M.D. wrote:

> I just got off the phone with Karen Sandler, our legal representative at SoftwareFreedom.org, the not-for-profit firm which provides lawyery goodness to the IMF and therefore us.
> 
> In the current agreement for the App Store - on all platforms - there are several provisions which restrict distribution.  These are incompatible with the GPL.  If we were to submit Adium to the App Store, any contributor - which includes contributors to underlying libraries like libpurple, libglib, or libintl - could (1) sue us directly and (2) activate the deauthorization provision in the GPL to remove our right to use the code, both because we would have knowingly violated the GPL.
> 
> The only ways around this would be:
> 1) Every contributor agrees to allow Adium to be submitted. This would require all libraries' contributors.  It's completely infeasible to contact the 1000+ people that would include... not to mention that one or more would almost certainly object on free software principles.
> 
> OR
> 
> 2) Have Apple modify the license to allow for the GPL.
> 
> Apple, according to Karen, generally dislikes the GPL, and (2) is therefore unlikely.  However, she has a contact within Apple's legal team and is going to make a few inquiries... although the VLC takedown was quite public, it's unknown if a request for such a modification has really been attempted, either through usual App Store channels or through a direct appeal to Jobs himself.
> 
> -Evan




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