GPL and the Mac App Store

Christopher Forsythe chris at growl.info
Tue Jan 11 22:59:24 UTC 2011


On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM, Evan Schoenberg, M.D. <evan at adium.im> 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.

Can any of the libraries be taken out of adium in order to reduce this
number? One would assume that adium will need to change anyhow to go
into the applestore.

I'm willing to give contacting them all a try if the appeal to apple
process doesn't work, but I'd need an exact list of which libraries
would be necessary going to the app store.

Chris

> 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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