GPL and the Mac App Store

Juan Manuel Palacios jmpp at macports.org
Thu Jan 13 16:15:43 UTC 2011


On Jan 13, 2011, at 2:54 AM, Colin Barrett wrote:

> I don't think Apple would approve such an app.
> 
> -Colin


	It most definitely wouldn't. I can't name the provision that restricts such behavior off the top of my head, because there are plenty of them ;) but I can easily tell you that actions like downloading extra executable code is one of the first and biggest no-no's of Apple's App Stores (iOS and Mac OS X). Same reason why it it's been pretty hard for 3rd party browsers to make it into the iPhone (other than duplicating Safari's "built-in functionality, they'd have to download & execute JavaScript code -- which can only, legally, be done by 3rd party apps through Apple's frameworks, i.e. WebKit's built-in JS engine), same reason why MacPorts will never make it into the Mac OS App Store (even more ironic, its development having been bootstrapped by Apple itself) and I'm sure we could spend the entire day here reminiscing many other similar examples.

	So I'd say such an approach is even worse than dead-on-arrival, just my 2 cents. Regards,


- jmpp



> 
> On Jan 12, 2011, at 7:24 PM, Alan Humpherys wrote:
> 
>> Evan,
>> 
>> 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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