Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

VLC Developer Takes a Stand Against DRM Enforcement

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the fighting-the-good-fight dept.

GNU is Not Unix 717

jamie writes "The GPL gives Apple permission to distribute this software through the App Store. All they would have to do is follow the license's conditions to help keep the software free. Instead, Apple has decided that they prefer to impose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and proprietary legal terms on all programs in the App Store, and they'd rather kick out GPLed software than change their own rules."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Looks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079458)

Even if this looks like it all it'll do is deprive users of useful programs, it's still the good fight.

Re:Looks (5, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 4 years ago | (#34079554)

Exactly. It's not exactly hard to download VLC from its home site. I now use VLC exclusively on my MacBook for playing video media - much easier for those of us living in Australia, with DVDs obtained from the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Apple, of course, offers you a limited number of times you can change the region of your DVD device, but VLC just ignores the region setting altogether. As far as I'm concerned, I've paid for legitimate media, the artists involved get their royalties, so Apple has no business standing in the way of my using said media.

Re:Looks (3, Interesting)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 4 years ago | (#34079760)

I think this is more of an issue with iOS devices, not the Mac App Store.

Re:Looks (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079770)

Exactly. It's not exactly hard to download VLC from its home site.

But it's hard to install unless you know how to jailbreak your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad. I'd prefer that people buy a less locked-down device in the first place, but there isn't really an "Android pod touch" in the United States yet.

I'm shocked! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079464)

Apple exercising tight controls, I would have never thought of that.

On the other hand (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079510)

Developer of [the most common piece of software used to watch pirated videos] takes a stand against [copyringt enforcement tool]. Shock and awe.

Re:On the other hand (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079720)

AC wrote:

Developer of [the most common piece of software used to watch pirated videos]

The most common piece of software used to watch pirated videos is probably the Windows operating system. What makes VLC more specifically tied to the warez scene than any other video player?

Re:On the other hand (4, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | about 4 years ago | (#34079778)

What makes VLC more specifically tied to the warez scene than any other video player?

When obnoxious teenage 1337 w4r3z d00dz upload poorly encoded video or video encoded with some retarded codec that almost no one uses the standard reply to "why won't this play?" is "Use VLC, it plays fine there." because VLC plays almost anything (and for those things that don't play in VLC there's always Mplayer).

Basically, the reason VLC is popular with downloaded content is because it tends to play a lot of formats that other software doesn't understand.

Re:On the other hand (4, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 years ago | (#34079790)

It's also much less bloated than WMP or iTunes, and it still plays nearly anything out of the box, which is why I use it. Startup time is important, and definitely a draw when it's less than 1/10th of the time of the other leading players.

Re:On the other hand (0, Redundant)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | about 4 years ago | (#34079786)

Because its versatility allows it to be. I can watch pretty much any video with vlc, no matter the format, so it's useful for watching the videos I download, especially when I don't feel like converting them.

Re:On the other hand (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 4 years ago | (#34079802)

That's a bit like saying Mice are the most commonly used pointing devices used to download pirated/copyright software.

That's a bit like saying LCDs are the most commonly used displays to watch pirated content.

That's a bit like saying air is the most commonly inhaled gas when people watch pirated content.

VLC makes it no more easier to download and watch pirated content than FFDShow, Quicktime, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc.

Download now? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079470)

So I guess now's the time to install VLC on my iOS device before it gets the boot?

Re:Download now? (2, Informative)

KugelKurt (908765) | about 4 years ago | (#34079556)

VLC is under GPLv2. v2 is compatible with the terms of the Apple App Store and pretty much any other app store out there.
GPLv3 is incompatible because it requires the right that receivers of GPLv3'ed code can not only freely modify it but also run it (this clause was written after TiVo used the Linux kernel in its boxes but had some checksum authentication method to ensure that users don't install modified kernels -- Linus Torvalds, btw, dislikes GPLv3 for that very reason)

Re:Download now? (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | about 4 years ago | (#34079584)

Or rather, certain interpretations of GPLv2 say that it allows these restrictions. The wording is unclear and may be understood either way, and "spirit of the license" has no legal weight. GPLv3 merely fixes this ambiguity.

Re:Download now? (1)

KugelKurt (908765) | about 4 years ago | (#34079634)

Or rather, certain interpretations of GPLv2 say that it allows these restrictions.

Show me the exact paragraph why v2 shouldn't allow that. I can't find any line that says that code has to be executable on a specific device

Re:Download now? (1, Informative)

turbidostato (878842) | about 4 years ago | (#34079704)

"VLC is under GPLv2. v2 is compatible with the terms of the Apple App Store"

Does Apple's App Store offer the means to download the source code of the app? If not, Apple store is incompatible with the terms of GPLv2.

"and pretty much any other app store out there."

I know an app store *can* be compatible with GPLv2 terms. "Can" and "do" are different issues, anyway.

Re:Download now? (-1, Flamebait)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 4 years ago | (#34079772)

Apple is simply the distributor. They are NOT the developer. Unless you're talking about some provision in the GPLv2 that requires the distributor to release source code when they aren't even the ones who wrote the software, I'd say you're full of shit.

Re:Download now? (5, Informative)

rdebath (884132) | about 4 years ago | (#34079846)

NO.

All the provisions of the GPL apply to distributing exact and modified copies of the software.

If you make changes to GPL software but do not distribute it there is nothing that says you must provide your changes to anyone. ONLY if you distribute the software must you make provision for distributing the source of the version you distribute.

GPLv2 conflicts with Apple App store (4, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 4 years ago | (#34079744)

v2 is compatible with the terms of the Apple App Store and pretty much any other app store out there.

Not according to the FSF.
The Apple App Store conditions are inimical to terms in GPLv2, which states explicitly: "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein." The Apple App Store explicitly sets such a restriction: "The Usage Rules shall govern your rights with respect to the Products, in addition to any other terms or rules that may have been established between you and another party." and requires that you accept this as a condition of using the App Store. It also lists various GPLv2-violating restrictions in its Usage Rules, such as limiting use of a product to five Apple-authorized devices.
http://www.fsf.org/news/blogs/licensing/more-about-the-app-store-gpl-enforcement [fsf.org]

Re:Download now? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#34079576)

I don't think it has ever been on the App store?

It's there for jail-breached devices, just as everything else though.

Though someone who enjoys using their device the way they want to shouldn't buy Apple products in the first place.

Re:Download now? (1)

Corbets (169101) | about 4 years ago | (#34079582)

I don't think it has ever been on the App store?

Sure it's there. It was in the top free list this morning, and I downloaded it. Works fine.

VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079472)

to me it looks like the VLC developers had the app posted in the App Store so they could use this as a soapbox. The app on the iPad is a piece of crap and not really useable. I have since deleted it.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (0, Flamebait)

pnewhook (788591) | about 4 years ago | (#34079526)

Completely agree - this is nonsense. If the VLC authors truly considered their application as free then it would be distributed under BSD not GPL.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | about 4 years ago | (#34079566)

Stop right there. Really.

The old. tired BSD vs GPL argument is not needed here.

There are good reasons to use one over the other, but I'm sorry, freedom has different definitions. GPL grants freedoms to end users that BSD does not. BSD grants rights to developers and distributors that GPL does not. It is not magically "more free".

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#34079622)

The only "rights" BSD grants that GPL doesn't is the "right" to remove the rights of the end user.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (3, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | about 4 years ago | (#34079642)

No. Under GPL if I add something useful and extend the program, I have to also post those changes under GPL. I may not want to do that. BSD gives me the freedom to do as I wish. BSD is far more free than GPL.

Either something should be free or it should not. GPL simply pretends to be free while at the same time forcing you to adhere to a very specific philosophy.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079724)

Under GPL if I add something useful and extend the program, I have to also post those changes under GPL.

You don't have to post the changes at all; you can keep the "something useful" to yourself.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

masmullin (1479239) | about 4 years ago | (#34079726)

Either something should be free or it should not.

Only Sith deal in absolutes.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

Thiez (1281866) | about 4 years ago | (#34079848)

Which is why only a Sith would use that line.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (5, Informative)

icecoldkilla (1011085) | about 4 years ago | (#34079734)

No. Under GPL if I add something useful and extend the program, I have to also post those changes under GPL.

Only if you distribute the program the restriction kicks in. If you just use the program no one is going to force you to post the changes and modifications.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (3, Insightful)

Exitar (809068) | about 4 years ago | (#34079738)

GPL is not free as in beer and is not free as in speech. It's free as in RMS definition of freedom.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 4 years ago | (#34079750)

I may not want to do that.

But *I* would want you to do that, so that I could improve it further if need be. So with respect to your proposed modifications, it's more free for myself and the other 6,999,999,999 people on this planet who aren't you.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

Fri13 (963421) | about 4 years ago | (#34079788)

No. Under GPL if I add something useful and extend the program, I have to also post those changes under GPL. I may not want to do that. BSD gives me the freedom to do as I wish. BSD is far more free than GPL.

Either something should be free or it should not. GPL simply pretends to be free while at the same time forcing you to adhere to a very specific philosophy.

Your ancestors gave the civil rights for you, and now you want to rip them off from your next generations.
So of course you are maintaining civil rights and keeping the world free, right?

You are saying you are free citizen in your country, how you can be free if anyone can come and slave you and take your property? How anyone else can be free if you can slave them or take their wealth?

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

erktrek (473476) | about 4 years ago | (#34079814)

What's the definition of "free" we are using here?

Seems to me you really want your code in the "public domain" since BSD requires some sort of attribution and therefore is not really "free" either.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 4 years ago | (#34079676)

As a developer BSD me the right to incorporate the software into my own application under a different license, including GPL. while GPL does not tolerate licenses with more, less or different restrictions. So as a developer I have more rights with BSD, and the end user doesn't have any useful rights with GPL unless they are developer (what good is source code if you don't understand it, you can compile it but that sounds more like a chore than a right).

Hire a developer (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079732)

the end user doesn't have any useful rights with GPL unless they are developer

The end user of a computer program distributed under the GNU GPL has the right to hire any developer to improve the program.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 4 years ago | (#34079660)

The old. tired BSD vs GPL argument is not needed here.

And neither is the old tired 'big bad corporation is infringing on my freedom! DRM is evil and is ruining everything!'. This is a soapbox post, nothing more.

Re:VLC developer using this as soapbox!!! (1)

Fri13 (963421) | about 4 years ago | (#34079758)

But I want freedom to slave you! My choice is a BSD!

Third-party company using VLC for kudos (4, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 4 years ago | (#34079616)

It didn't have to be the VLC developers - it could have been anyone who posted it to the app store, because the GPL permits you to redistribute the software. It looks like it was a French company "Applidium" that posted it.

Alas, the restrictions placed on app store content by Apple are not compatible with the GPL ; those receiving the app cannot redistribute it and do not receive sources or an offer of sources (from Apple, who are the distributor - Applidium link to the the videolan.org git repository, which isn't necessarily where they host their source - presumably they tweak the sources for iOS but there's no sign of them offering those tweaks, even if that would satisfy the license which it doesn't - the distributor has to offer the sources).

Applidium have almost certainly benefited from getting their app store category link in front of the eyes of a lot more people who wanted VLC for their device.

Applidium may well be adhering to the license - you only have to distribute the changes you make to people receiving the software, so they may have sent the source for their iOS specific tweaks to VLC to Apple along with the binaries. But Apple are most certainly not adhering to the license, and Applidium shouldn't be blameless as they were almost certainly aware that Apple would breach the license as a result of them submitting the app.

Come-on Lunix haxxors, prove you aren't dumb. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079476)

4Channers would've Rule 34'd the Appstore if they were asked to, but none as of yet.

What if they just install VLC without the plugins, and find a way for VLC to load the plugins from the flash drive or some other source?

VLC in A-OK with Digital Rights Management, just not the codecs it supports. Maybe they could be compliant by putting a poop-up window saying "By using Apple's VLC you agree to kiss the asscheeks of the Naggers from MAFIAA."

Why is it so hard to get some polymorphic code to hide in the Appstore that just randomly surfaces to re-enable embedded features of an Appstore program after it's installed?

Re:Come-on Lunix haxxors, prove you aren't dumb. (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 4 years ago | (#34079608)

GPL is worthless without a foundation of faith in humans... That is what makes the license go.

All of the actions you suggest would fail to cheapen the power of the GPL, but succeed in demeaning the community around it.

Re:Come-on Lunix haxxors, prove you aren't dumb. (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 4 years ago | (#34079674)

It's not about DRM on videos. It's about DRM on the app.

Developers may personally have a problem with DRM on content but the license does not - or it wouldn't be usable on projects like GPG.

The problem is that the terms of the GPL are not being met - the application cannot be redistributed by the recipients, and they are not receiving the sources for the application, or an offer to receive them from Apple. The distributor of software must meet these responsibilities - it's not sufficient to point to the original distributor of the sources and suggest that you get them from there (as the third party company who uploaded this app does).

Fire Sale! (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 4 years ago | (#34079484)

VLC, DRM, GNU, GPL, AGPL, FSF, iOS...
Did someone have a sale on acronyms?

Re:Fire Sale! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079538)

iOS isn't acronym.

Re:Fire Sale! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#34079594)

iOS isn't acronym.

Sure it is [wikipedia.org] Cisco's Internetwork Operating System. Trademark registrations are not case sensitive, so IOS == iOS, which is why Apple licensed the term IOS [appleinsider.com] from Cisco.

It's the same with Cisco licensing the name iPhone to Apple [appleinsider.com]

So yes, IOS or iOS is an acronym, licensed by Apple from Cisco.

Re:Fire Sale! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079718)

And everyone obviously knows we're talking about Apple's iOS when it's written like that.

iOS stands for Individual Operating System (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079754)

When the iMac came out, it was explained as "individual Macintosh" as opposed to the "Power Macintosh" professional products. So Apple iOS might be understood to stand for "Individual Operating System".

Re:Fire Sale! (1)

kestasjk (933987) | about 4 years ago | (#34079792)

There wouldn't be enough room in the summary if they expanded them all, also:
  • If you don't know those acronyms this probably isn't the right news portal for you, you should at least research them yourself
  • If you don't know those acronyms having them written in full probably wouldn't help you make any more sense of them.
    (I can't remember and don't really care exactly what "VLC" stands for, and the "Affero" in AGPL isn't especially enlightening as to the difference between the GPL and AGPL)

GPL requires no DRM? (1, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 4 years ago | (#34079494)

I confess I've not read the GPL with an eye towards that exact question but I have read it and don't recall anything like that in it. As I recall it requires me to make available the sources of anything I compile. But I don't see why a delivery channel that wraps something in DRM is against the GPL. I can have the sources available both via the app istelf and online. DOes the GPL prevent me from using SSH or HTTS from _sending_ and _installing_ any code. No. so why should apple's encrypted conduit matter. And as for app signing, well you have to do that to run apps on any OSX machine now without getting warning messages in the logs. SO could someone explain how apple's app store is interfering with the GPL?

Re:GPL requires no DRM? (2, Informative)

archatheist (316491) | about 4 years ago | (#34079540)

FTFA:
http://www.fsf.org/news/blogs/licensing/more-about-the-app-store-gpl-enforcement [fsf.org]

Basically:

Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.

In short, I think there are problems beyond DRM with GPL software being distributed through the app store.

Re:GPL requires no DRM? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079636)

It seems to me that that would operate in parallel to the GPL though?

Apple does not grant you the right to modify / distribute the VLC binary. Is that a problem in gplv2?

However, nothing is stopping (AFAIK) vlc from providing the exact iOS vlc source code and distributing that--in fact it should be required? Anybody can modify that source code, and distribute that source code. Anybody can NOT compile it and run it on their iPhone. That requires either jailbreak or $100/year. Is that a GPLv2 problem? I didn't think it was, but I'm definitely not sure.

Re:GPL requires no DRM? (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#34079542)

As I recall it requires me to make available the sources of anything I compile

No, that is not what the GPL has ever required. It has required that you make the source code of GPL software available to anyone you distribute that software to, and that you distribute it under the same license, including any changes you make to the software that you distribute (assuming it is not your original work).

why a delivery channel that wraps something in DRM is against the GPL.

The GPLv3 includes an anti-Tivoization clause, which basically requires that if GPL software is going to be locked down by a restriction system (DRM), the user has to be able to bypass/disable that restriction system so that they can enjoy the other benefits of the GPL, like the ability to modify the software. Since the iOS restriction system does not allow users to enjoy the benefits of the GPL (cannot modify code without paying Apple, cannot redistribute, etc.), it is incompatible with GPLv3.

How does that matter? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 4 years ago | (#34079628)

How does that answer the Grand parent post? you have the sources. go ahead and modify them. nothing is stopping you.

  You can even install and run it on an iphone via xcode apple freely provides. You can run it on any mac via the emulator apple freely provides. YOu can redistribute them at will.

Apple just won't sell it in their store for you.

Read the rest of my post (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#34079706)

you have the sources. go ahead and modify them. nothing is stopping you.

Unless, of course, you obtained the software through the App Store...which is what this is all about. The App Store policies, the mandatory DRM, are the problem here.

You can even install and run it on an iphone via xcode apple freely provides

When last I checked, you had to pay Apple for this privilege; that seems to run afoul of the GPL in and of itself, at least in spirit. Again, though, the point here is about the App Store which has policies that are inherently incompatible with the GPL.

Re:Read the rest of my post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079836)

you have the sources. go ahead and modify them. nothing is stopping you.

Unless, of course, you obtained the software through the App Store...which is what this is all about. The App Store policies, the mandatory DRM, are the problem here.

I don't see how that stops anything if you have the sources.

You can even install and run it on an iphone via xcode apple freely provides

When last I checked, you had to pay Apple for this privilege; that seems to run afoul of the GPL in and of itself, at least in spirit. Again, though, the point here is about the App Store which has policies that are inherently incompatible with the GPL.

For any GPL software you have to pay for the privilege of owning a computer to compile is on.

Re:How does that matter? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079806)

You can even install and run it on an iphone via xcode apple freely provides.

As I understand, you can run it on the emulator for free with the purchase of any Mac, but you need to buy the certificate to run it on your device.

Re:GPL requires no DRM? (2, Insightful)

sateh (467083) | about 4 years ago | (#34079776)

You forget to mention that VLC is distributed under the GPLv2 license. So there is no anti-Tivoization clause.

Re:GPL requires no DRM? (1)

KugelKurt (908765) | about 4 years ago | (#34079612)

GPLv2 (the version VLC is under) doesn't forbid DRM. GPLv3 (which GNU Go is under) does that.

VLC in the AppStore does not violate anything as long as its users can obtain the source code.

The blog post was written by either a clueless person or someone who purposefully mixes GPLv2 terms with GPLv3 terms to generate backlash against Apple.
Either way, in its current form VLC in AppStore in not illegal.

It's funny... I remember reading a post by some VLC programmer that they don't switch VLC from GPLv2 to v3 because they think v3 is too draconian. The so-called "Anti-TiVo clause" is the only aspect of v3 that's fundamentally different from v2. The rest of v3 is just adjusted wording to be compatible with international copyright laws.

GPL forbids you to DRM the GPL but not content (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 4 years ago | (#34079740)

GPLv2 (the version VLC is under) doesn't forbid DRM. GPLv3 (which GNU Go is under) does that.

It forbids DRM on the application (or TiVo-ization) - measures that prevent modified versions of the code from running. These measures remove the freedom to modify the software to suit your needs, which is what the GPL intends to preserve.

It does NOT [gnu.org] prevent you from implementing DRM systems using the code.

As the FAQ points out, DRM systems in GPL code are a little silly, because you must give the sources to application recipients, which means that cracked versions will emerge pretty quickly (and legally), but you can still do it, just like you can use GPL code to create baby-killing robot monsters or benevolent AIs that rule the planet with a fair and even hand.

VLC is GPL version 2 (3, Insightful)

ad454 (325846) | about 4 years ago | (#34079504)

The latest VLC version 1.1.3 has the GPL version 2 licence. Although the GPLv3 has anti-DRM and anti-Tivo-ization measures, correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the GPLv2 licence allow Apple to distribute the software in the App Store with DRM, as long as the also provide a copy of the source code?

Re:VLC is GPL version 2 (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 4 years ago | (#34079640)

I believe the argument is that Apple violates this part of paragraph 6 of the GPL:

You may not impose any further
restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.

Does the DRM or the Apple Store license impose additional restrictions? If so, then they have no right to distribute VLC.

Perhaps they also modify the program to install DRM; in that case, they'd need to distribute the DRM source code under the GPL as well, under paragraph 2 of the GPL.

actually makes sense (1)

v1 (525388) | about 4 years ago | (#34079516)

You can't expect a company to make major changes to their online sales system to support 0.2% of the people that want to use it, even if you're IN that small minority. Be reasonable.

Besides that, a very large part of why the app store exists is to make money. (of course some is to add feature value to their hardware) They won't make money off this. So why should they do it if it's only going to cost them money? And the availability of free software on the store would devaluate the paid software on the store, losing Apple and the other devs money, to add what most people will not appreciate as a valuable addition. It's not good tradeoff in Apple's eyes.

It benefits the consumer, and the people such as those that run the VLC project, but it doesn't benefit Apple, and costs the other devs on the store money. And since it's Apple's decision, this is perfectly reasonable to expect.

Re:actually makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079600)

why not? They already did by adding DRM to their products. Or are you claiming that the number of people who own Apple's products and actually WANT DRM in their devices exceeds 0.2%? I would be willing to bet real money that if Apple removed DRM from all of their products today, they would have less thant 0.2% of their actual customers worried about it. They might even get a few new customers.

Re:actually makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079604)

this argument, in so many different contexts is very tiring. freedom with software is very much akin to human freedoms. they have to be protected, regardless of majority or popular vote!

In the U.S., the right to practice the religion of my choosing is protected, EVEN if 99.9% of the country is atheist. There is a very bold line between freedoms and privileges. And let it be clear, what people are trying to protect here are freedoms. It should not be up for popular vote, questions of "profitability", whats good for the consumer, the best "user experience" or anything else.

The RIAA has been writing their own laws for far too long under the premise of what is profitable for their industry and how "hard" it is to make money in the music industry. Let us not make the same mistake with a new industry in its infancy being built and contributed to by millions around the world. This view is not "unreasonable". People who try to protect consumer freedoms are not anti-captialist, or extremists, and we should no let anyone brand us as so.

Obstinance? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 years ago | (#34079522)

Their [Apple's] obstinance prevents you from having this great software on Apple devices—not the GPL or the people enforcing it.

I have karma to burn, so I'm just going to say it: how is Apple expecting software distributed via their App Store to comply with App Store terms and conditions any more obstinate than expecting software distributed under the GPL to be distributed according to GPL conditions? Apple are under no obligation to carry software with what they consider inappropriate licensing on their store, any more than we are under any obligation to buy Apple hardware and apps from their store if we value the provisions of the GPL.

Re:Obstinance? (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#34079830)

how is Apple expecting software distributed via their App Store to comply with App Store terms and conditions any more obstinate than expecting software distributed under the GPL to be distributed according to GPL conditions?

What is more obstinate is that there is no other legitimate way to distribute software for the device apart from Apple's terms. With GNU/Linux or other platforms incorporating GPL code, on the other hand, one can set up something like CNR to add paid non-free software.

GPL requires ability to run any user program (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#34079544)

The answer is right there in the Preamble of the GPL:

Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users' freedom to change the software. The systematic pattern of such abuse occurs in the area of products for individuals to use, which is precisely where it is most unacceptable. Therefore, we have designed this version of the GPL to prohibit the practice for those products.

Merely distributing the source isn't enough; Apple would have to allow anyone to run anything on the iPhone, which has security implications beyond simply increasing user freedom. If you refrain from oversimplifying things, you'll see that there are reasons beyond simply wanting to restrict users just for the hell of it. Apple isn't forcing anyone to agree with their model; participation is entirely voluntary, involving purchase of an Apple device.

Re:GPL requires ability to run any user program (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#34079580)

Apple would have to allow anyone to run anything on the iPhone, which has security implications

Only under the definition of security that means, "The customer is the adversary, and the goal of the security system is to protect cash flow." This is admittedly a commonly used definition, intended to mislead people into thinking that these restriction systems are a good thing for them.

participation is entirely voluntary, involving purchase of an Apple device.

Voluntary until schools start handing out iPads and mandating that students use them. I doubt that there will be an exception to the restrictions for students who are required to use iPads.

Re:GPL requires ability to run any user program (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079766)

Voluntary until schools start handing out iPads and mandating that students use them. I doubt that there will be an exception to the restrictions for students who are required to use iPads.

Yes, and that's STILL voluntary because nobody is forcing the schools to use iPads, nor forcing students to go to those schools that do, nor forcing students to only use iPads.

If one day schools are mandated to use iPads and students are forced to buy them, yeah, I would fight that, but I don't see that happening. Then again I guess some schools already mandate that you own a Windows laptop... (or at least, have mandated this in the past) ~shrug~

Re:GPL requires ability to run any user program (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079662)

But that preamble is from GPLv3, and vlc is under GPLv2. I don't think there's a similar statement in GPLv2.

http://www.videolan.org/support/faq.html [videolan.org]

Another VLC Developer's Take (5, Interesting)

TraumaHound (30184) | about 4 years ago | (#34079548)

He thinks there's no real issue here.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1850340 [ycombinator.com]

As a major VLC developer, I have to say that the FSF is pushing bad faith and FUD.

Why shouldn't Apple remove apps by owner request? (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 years ago | (#34079552)

So Apple *may* remove the VLC iPad app, because the people that own VLC tell Apple there's a license violation - knowing that in the past this means Apple will pull the app.

Isn't the definition of insanity repeating the same action and expecting different results?

If you want to end DRM, you need to support Apple since they are the only large company who has worked to end DRM and had some success. You need to keep things like VLC alive in the app store, so that users will be more tempted to use non-DRM downloads and consume them on modern computing devices.

But instead, the FSF is playing into the hands of the media companies by keeping things like VLC player out of the mainstream and attacking the only company with the same goals of ending DRM. Nice work FSF, this is seriously making me re-think my yearly donation...

Re:Why shouldn't Apple remove apps by owner reques (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#34079648)

Isn't the definition of insanity repeating the same action and expecting different results?

So I take it you're not going to vote any more ...

And you won't date because some time in the past you got dumped ...

And you won't post on slashdot because it doesn't change anything ...

Okay, seriously, the reason we try things over and over is because we HOPE that at some point, things will change. Other people will notice, take a stand, and progress is made - or at least we've met some new and interesting people :-)

FSF isn't keeping VLC out of the mainstream - Apple makes a point of not being "main-stream." Many of the people who buy Apple would shrivel up in horror if they ever thought their i{$WHATEVER} was mainstream.

-- Barbie

Re:Why shouldn't Apple remove apps by owner reques (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079688)

FSF isn't keeping VLC out of the mainstream - Apple makes a point of not being "main-stream." Many of the people who buy Apple would shrivel up in horror if they ever thought their i{$WHATEVER} was mainstream.

You really think so?

You must not have been to an Apple store or college campus lately...

Re:Why shouldn't Apple remove apps by owner reques (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079838)

So I take it you're not going to vote any more ...

I vote because I get some personal enjoyment out of it, but really, when has an individual vote ever mattered? Almost never. You could vote your entire life or never vote your entire life and chances are, nothing would be the slightest bit different.

A friend once cited a study or some such to me that showed you were more likely to be hit by a car on the way to your polling place than to have your vote make a difference.

Re:Why shouldn't Apple remove apps by owner reques (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079752)

If you want to end DRM, you need to support Apple since they are the only large company who has worked to end DRM and had some success.

But they force all app store content to be DRMed, which is the root for FSF current trouble.

If Apple was anti-DRM indeed, they would allow distribution of non-DRMed application through the appstore.

Only People who will suffer is the users. (1)

OS24Ever (245667) | about 4 years ago | (#34079562)

This serves no purpose than to shove more OSS software out of the public's eye.

Maybe a few hippies can pat themselves on their back, but that's about it. It won't teach the consumer public anything.

Re:Only People who will suffer is the users. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#34079598)

This serves no purpose than to shove more OSS software out of the public's eye.

Yes, because the goal of the free software movement is to gain users at any expense, even if it means that those users do not actually enjoy any of the benefits of free licensing. It is easy to forget that, in fact, just having more people use this software is not the ultimate goal; the goal is for people to have the freedoms that are granted with free licenses like the GPL. Look at TiVo if you want to see how lots of people can use free software without being able to enjoy any of the benefits and freedoms that come with it.

What's the problem here? (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 4 years ago | (#34079564)

So, the non-article pretty much says "we complained about another GPL app in the store and rather than Apple change its entire licensing structure, it chose to remove the app in question and stop distributing it" - which is *exactly what the FSF were complaining about*.

* App is distributed on app store
* FSF sees it is GPL
* complains to Apple that it is not compatible with their licenses
* Apple takes it down (or it is suggested that Apple will go this route - there hasn't been a decision on VLC yet, this article is just speculating on what Apple will do and condemning them for a decision they have not yet made)

Really, what is the argument here? There is no justification for righteous indignation when Apple does exactly what it is asked to do. You seriously expect them to change their licensing to be compatible with GPL software? What world are they living in? The App Store is a well known closed ecosystem. This article is nothing but a petulant rant that attempts to apportion blame about "denying great software" to people on iOS devices because of "Apple's restrictions" - when it is just as clear that the restrictions go both ways. The FSF likes to point out that the GPL is incompatible with the App Store (and there's a nice little non-sequitur paragraph at the end with wild speculation that the new app store in 10.7 will be enormously locked down).

This cuts both ways.

The GPL is a marvellous thing, but there are some places it just cannot go, by nature of its restrictions; restrictions put in place to provide more freedom, ironically. This article is nothing more than an attempt to force Apple to deny its own freedom to choose what licenses to use for the App Store - if they happen to be incompatible with the GPL, then tough beans. They have as much right to choose as anyone using the GPL does.

If the lack of wholly GPL software on iOS bothers enough customers, there are other smartphone platforms that are known for not having such a tightly controlled app ecosystem.

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

babyrat (314371) | about 4 years ago | (#34079716)

If the lack of wholly GPL software on iOS bothers enough customers, there are other smartphone platforms that are known for not having such a tightly controlled app ecosystem.

That is EXACTLY what the article is about!

Unfortunately it won't make a lick of difference because the only people using VLC are geeks who already know the score with regards to Apple's app store policies. Now if Angry Birds was a GPL app and you took it away from everyone's i Phone/Pad/Touch...well I don't even want to think what would happen.

Who owns the store? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 years ago | (#34079568)

Apple. Their house, their rules. Don't like it, go play at a friends house ( like android, or blackberry or cydia )

Re:Who owns the store? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079620)

Which doesn't make them free from criticism.

Re:Who owns the store? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 4 years ago | (#34079722)

VLC. Their stuff. Their rules. They don't like apple taking their stuff without following their rules. Stop that.

Unclear on details? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079574)

Today, a formal notification of copyright infringement
was sent to Apple Inc. regarding distribution of the VLC media player for
iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. VLC media player is free software licensed
solely under the terms of the open source GNU General Public License
(a.k.a. GPL). Those terms are contradicted by the products usage rules of
the AppStore through which Apple delivers applications to users of its
mobile devices.

What exactly is the problem, ie, how exactly is Apple infringing?

I read both the VLC article and the linked to post about GNU Go and I'm unclear how exactly this works. I believe the complaint being made is that Apple does not guarantee that any/all software will be made available (FSF: http://www.fsf.org/news/2010-05-app-store-compliance [fsf.org] ) on the App store.

I'm by no means a GPL expert, but I thought that the "distribution" terms (at least in v2) were about the source code, and I don't believe this is contradicted by App store terms? Can't the VLC developers post the source code to their iOS app, thus satisfying the distribution requirement? Does the dist requirement apply to binaries (and the ability of other non-developer / non-jailbreak users to actually RUN the binaries)? Anybody with more gpl knowledge care to chime in?

Anyway, given that developers have to know and agree to the App store terms before submitting apps, wouldn't it be the developers who caused the infringement (FSF seems to say this)? Though I guess copyright is strict liability...

We need better summaries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079602)

The summary is just a paragraph copied from the article and surrounded by quote marks. We're all smart people around here; we can do better than this.

Future submitters: You're supposed to use your summary to catch our attention. At the minimum, you need to tell us what happened and hint at why it might be interesting to read.

Editors: A well-written summary carries more credibility than a copy-and-paste job. If you must approve a story that regurgitates whatever it links to, then why not preface it with something like "so-and-so quotes a provoking article from blah blah blah..." instead of "so-and-so writes..."?

Re:We need better summaries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079808)

Why bother rewriting a summary then the article pretty much sums it up in the first place? Also the moderators do edit stories and change the text to show it is an excerpt, although that doesn't seem to be the case here.

Try submitting some stories instead of whining like a loser.

Why is this about DRM? (4, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | about 4 years ago | (#34079614)

The original announcement says nothing about DRM. Nor do I recall reading anywhere else about Apple requiring DRM be included in products sold via the App Store. To me this looks like the FSF is hijacking the issue of GPL vs. Apple license.

Re:Why is this about DRM? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#34079644)

Nor do I recall reading anywhere else about Apple requiring DRM be included in products sold via the App Store

All the software distributed through the Apple App Store is subject to iOS DRM; the devices are built to prevent any code that Apple has not approved from running. That is the DRM we are talking about here.

Re:Why is this about DRM? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 4 years ago | (#34079656)

When you download the application via the App Store I think the files become locked to your device using DRM. Such that you can't then send the file to someone else for them to run.

Re:Why is this about DRM? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#34079708)

Something like that. You can buy an App and use it on multiple of YOUR devices (ie, iPod, iPhone, and iPad -- not sure the number, but they have to be "authorized" to your account), however since Apple doesn't allow binary distribution except through the app store, you cannot distribute it to anybody else.

It's just like how in iTunes Apple used to limit your aac files to being used on 3 computers, then on 5 computers, then any number.

I would like to believe a similar trajectory would happen here, but I'm not betting on it. Hopefully DRM free is at least an option one day...

Re:Why is this about DRM? (1)

sateh (467083) | about 4 years ago | (#34079834)

This is true. But consider this: VLC for the iPhone is a free application. So you are not able to give me a copy directly, but I can download a free copy from Apple without any problems. I know it is not ideal but at least there is a very simple mechanism in place to distribute free software very easily.

Re:Why is this about DRM? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 4 years ago | (#34079692)

Bingo.

It's also a handy platform to take another shot at the upcoming App Store in 10.7, which has nothing to do with this issue, but nevertheless the last paragraph is there for some baseless speculation.

This whole issue just smacks of "rar rah! your licence isn;t compatible with ours! rah!" and Apple saying "ok, we'll just stop distributing your app". "But wait! That's not the outcome we were looking for!"

Re:Why is this about DRM? (1)

babyrat (314371) | about 4 years ago | (#34079728)

Can you take the binary you downloaded onto you iPhone and put it on another iPhone? (without Jailbreaking or other hacks)

Why not?

DRM

If you want everyone on your side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079646)

Then stop writing everything in legalese. If the average consumer cannot read the gpl and understand it, then they will never understand why it's important to have free software. Only supreme eggheads and lawyers will get it, and shocking as it may be, you are in the minority. The majority just doesn't give a shit. So re write the gpl for normal people.

Open sores strikes again (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079666)

Its intresting that Linux market share is around the same as the amount of people with Aspergers syndrome. Aspergers zealots should not be allowed to use a computer ever again.

What a crock! (1)

cshotton (46965) | about 4 years ago | (#34079746)

The developer is at fault, not Apple. Apple is not party to the GPL terms just because a developer with a political agenda chooses to upload an application to the App Store. The developer is at fault for choosing a distribution medium for his software that is incompatible with GPL terms. It's not any more complicated than that.

Who is really to blame here? (5, Insightful)

sateh (467083) | about 4 years ago | (#34079756)

There are a bunch of things wrong with this slashdot article and also with how the original VLC developers are handling this. It is easy to blame Apple for everything, but consider this:

* There are three parties here: The VLC Team that wrote the VLC code. The commercial iPhone developer Applidium, who turned VLC into an iPhone App. Apple, who is making the application available.

* Applidium submitted the application to the App Store. Apple approved the app. The VLC Team is sending a copyright infringement to Apple.

* VLC is licensed under the GPL2. If the GPL2 license is incompatible with the App Store then why have the developers of VLC for the iPhone (Applidium) submitted the app? They should never have done that in the first place. They are the ones to blame for uploading software that cannot exist on the App Store under its current terms.

* The application is currently on the store, which means Apple has approved it. So obviously from Apple's perspective there is no problem here.

* Apple has actually changed the rules to accomodate for GPL2 licensed software after the GNU Go debacle: if a proper license is already attached to the application then Apple does not enforce its own default EULA for apps. This change was made in June. A month after the GNU Go thing happened.

* Apple kicked out GNU Go because the FSF requested them to do that. People keep screaming that Apple removes all GPL software, but this is simply because people are telling Apple to do that. What else do you expect them to do?

* It is probably fair to assume that Apple will remove the software after the copyright infringement claims made by the VLC team. But this really has NOTHING to do with the GPL. This is simply how Apple reacts to these kind of allegations. They remove the software and let both parties know so that the parties (in this case VLC Team vs Applidium) can work out a deal or whatever.

Diplomacy has never been a strong point of the VLC team and because of this in the end will lose:

* End users will not be able to use VLC on their iPhones and iPads.
* Applidium just wasted a huge amount of time on this project.
* The VLC team will not have an opportunity to start a dialog with Apple to maybe relax the rules.
* Apple will lose an interesting app on their store.

Yay for GNU GPL zealots.

DRM is not the (only) issue as far as I can see (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 4 years ago | (#34079796)

DRM is not the (only) issue as far as I can see. IIRC VLC is under GPLv2 which does not have the explicit anti-DRM (tivoisation) clause that v3 of the GPL has. While it can be said that GPLv2 *did* have such an intention, there is no explicit wording in there strong enough to stand up to legal attack.

The problem I see (and AINAL, nor have I read the GPL in any detail for some years, so research this before taking my thoughts as meaningful) is that the GPL forbids removing rights granted by the GPL. This means that once someone agrees to distribute stuff under the terms of the GPL they can not be blocked from doing so in future - the problem here is Apple's kill switch. To comply with the GPL AppStore would have to make an exception to their own rules such that GPL licensed code is never subject to the kill switch, and as Apple are unlikely to make any such exception AppStore is, and is likely to remain, incompatible with software distributed only under the terms of the GPL. Multi-licensed code for which the GPL is one of the available options should be fine though, if at least one of the available licenses is not incompatible with AppStore's rules.

Extremely counterproductive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34079842)

Why did these guys upload VLC to the app store, knowing the conditions for doing so, only to complain when Apple put the same restrictions on it that they do with every other app?

As much as I hate Apple's controlfreak nature.. I like my iPhone. I would like to be able to run VLC on it. This is.. counterproductive, because all Apple will do is remove the software from the store if it can't be distributed on their terms. Apple doesn't care about it's developers or customers in this regard.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?