GPL and the Mac App Store

Alan Humpherys alangh at
Thu Jan 13 03:24:27 UTC 2011


Thanks for taking the time to check this out.  I suspected that they would come to this conclusion.

It's sadly ironic that the GPL is getting in the way of distributing software for free.

I sincerely hope that some sort of accommodation can be made so that more GPL Open Source software can be freely distributed through these channels (iTunes/App Store).  Unfortunately, I don't see Apple changing their process... Since a given software title in their store can switch from free to paid on a daily basis,  they need to track free software the same way that they track paid software.....

My proposed solution
We put a free "Adium" app into the Mac App Store which is licensed using the BSD (or similar license) which merely does the following

- Downloads a copy of the "real" adium from CacheFly
- Makes it so subsequent launches of the AppStore provided Application launch the downloaded Adium binaries

This gives us the visibility of being available on the App store - and builds our customer base - yet preserves the spirit of the GPL distribution rules.  The filesystem restrictions on iOS wouldn't allow this for an iPhone version, but such a thing is definitely possible on MacOS.

- Alan

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