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VLC For iOS Returns On July 19, Rewritten and Fully Open-Sourced

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the media-player-beats-media-platform dept.

Media 203

An anonymous reader writes "VideoLAN revealed some very exciting news today: VLC for iOS will be back in Apple's App Store by tomorrow (July 19). The company tells TNW the app will be available for free worldwide, requires iOS 5.1 or later, as well supports the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. As you can expect, VLC for iOS version 2.0 will be open-source. This time, however, its code will be available online (also by tomorrow), bi-licensed under both the Mozilla Public License Version 2 as well as the GNU General Public License Version 2 or later."

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3 2 1 Takedown (4, Interesting)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44321829)

I don't understand how they think this will work. LibVLC is LGPL, and unless they got consent from _every_ VLC contributor or the terms and conditions changed dramatically the last couple of months they can't distribute it on the iOS App Store. Sorry, but you picked the wrong license if that was something you wanted to do.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 9 months ago | (#44321845)

Huh, I was curious what the initial issue was. Was it licensing? Because I thought it was due to duplicate functionality in iOS.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

Joshua Shaffer (2895571) | about 9 months ago | (#44321907)

It was one of the VLC developers that complained about how the GPL and iOS TOS were incompatible and ordered it to be taken down.

Basically, sour grapes.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (3, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44321925)

Either that, or Apple could stop abusing its users.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#44322073)

It's not Apple doing the abusing. It's the GPL that is incompatible with the App Store. There's no Apple rule that stops GPL software appearing on the App Store.

The only reason users of the iPhone haven't had VLC for all this time is the GPL and the decision by it's developers to remove it. It's not as a result of anything Apple has done.

It's good to see an outbreak of common sense, and the use of a non-GPL license this time round.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (-1, Troll)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322109)

As a copyright holder you can only request that the app is removed if distributing it violates the license under which you contributed. Apple violated those terms by violating users. GPL is very clear on this, you either distribute under fair terms - or you don't distribute at all. If Apple had ben compliant, no one had been able to request that it was pulled.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322233)

Apple wasn't the "distributor" in this case, their AppStore was just being used as a Distribution Channel by the VLC Team. So VLC violated GPL by choosing an incompatible Distribution Channel, Apple had nothing to do with it. Stop spreading obvious lies.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0, Troll)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322267)

Sounds reasonable. The end result is still that the app store is unhealthy for software licensed under GPL, and that's because Apple insists on abusing its users. If they did not abuse their users and allowed software to be distributed under fair conditions, GPL would be just fine.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322305)

What you mean is "the end result is that the GPL is unhealthy for distributing software as it requires certain conditions, imposing walls on the garden in which it can operate."

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322363)

It's unhealthy if your goal is to dominate your users. It prioritizes computing freedom.

Yes it complicates distribution. But if the developers didn't wanted to sign up for that free software thing they should have picked a different licensed.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44322423)

What are you smoking? A developer ported VLC to iOS. Apple accepted the application. Later one of the original developers of the VLC objected to Apple distributing his code due to licensing concerns. So Apple removed the app. Your position is that Apple should know everything about every single application that is submitted to it? That's as asinine as saying craigslist should know that every item sold using their website is legal and not stolen.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (4, Informative)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322489)

What are you smoking? A developer ported VLC to iOS. Apple accepted the application. Later one of the original developers of the VLC objected to Apple distributing his code due to licensing concerns. So Apple removed the app. Your position is that Apple should know everything about every single application that is submitted to it? That's as asinine as saying craigslist should know that every item sold using their website is legal and not stolen.

The original developer objected because it violated the licensed he originally developed VLC under. That simple. You are not allowed to take VLC and do whatever you want with it. You should respect software freedom. If you don't, you don't get to distribute VLC. That's why he could request that the app was pulled, because it did not conform with the license he used.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44322533)

The original developer objected because it violated the licensed he originally developed VLC under. That simple. You are not allowed to take VLC and do whatever you want with it. You should respect software freedom. If you don't, you don't get to distribute VLC. That's why he could request that the app was pulled, because it did not conform with the license he used.

Then the person who developed the iOS app should be pilloried and burned alive in the town square. And how is this the fault of Apple again? They got a takedown notice; they complied. Oh, right, because it's Apple.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322611)

And how is this the fault of Apple again? They got a takedown notice; they complied. Oh, right, because it's Apple.

It's not Apple's fault that it was pulled, but it's partly Apple's fault that it could be pulled. Which is OK, they don't have to allow everything and is fully within their right to impose restrictions on distribution. Just be aware that this is why the GPL was developed, and why software licensed under it will have problems with it.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44322761)

It's not Apple's fault that it was pulled, but it's partly Apple's fault that it could be pulled. Which is OK, they don't have to allow everything and is fully within their right to impose restrictions on distribution. Just be aware that this is why the GPL was developed, and why software licensed under it will have problems with it.

Apple probably doesn't give a rat's ass whether or not it got pulled. They were trying to comply with a copyright holder's wishes.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#44322901)

It is not a problem for software having problems with anything non RMS approved and extreme in ideology? That is a funny sense of the term freedom.

What about my freedom to charge users? What about my freedom to let do what I like and not what the author of some header file or object I linked too?!

GPL is a plague and why the BSD license is supperior especially for tax payer funded software where corps can not play. If I develop some software that costs money to develop I need to charge for it or I go out of business.

The LGPL is perfect. You keep your freedoms and I can link to it and keep mine. Many ignorant develpers think RMS is nuts but have no idea they open businesses and users up to liability by making it GPL. I think it is morally wrong to tell others what to do with software they write. Apple to me is not the bad guy but rather the authors of the header files.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 9 months ago | (#44322709)

What you said that made sense needed just a few words: The licence was violated - plain and simple. VLC should no more have been submitted any more than GPLed code should be compiled in to Adobe Photoshop. Software freedom? Bullshit, take that trope and keep it in mind when you're outside Wallmart singing The Red Flag.

Thus isn't about software freedom; it's about licensing. In this context the only thing that should be respected is the licence. If its software freedom, plenty would argue that more permissive licenses are freer than the GPL. But i digress. That is a fucking endless debate, with good and bad arguments on both sides, but definitely not worth dragging in to this discussion. Focus on the matter at hand, brother kthreadd.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322413)

How are they abusing their users? Because they don't let them download the source for ALL apps with the apps themselves? What use would that be?

The AppStore's policies are all based on User Security (ie: protecting Users from Malware). ALL apps distributed in the AppStore are digitally signed by the developer (who must register with Apple) for accountability. The Apps are all given at least cursory security testing to ensure they don't violate AppStore policies. If anything these "abusive" policies you refer to were done to prevent the AppStore from becoming like Google's did early on (full of malware and junk apps). The DRM on the apps also makes it harder to pirate them. Before the AppStore the average price for a Mobile App was something like $30-50 (and even then they weren't very good quality). The prices were high because piracy was so rampant (though you could also argue that piracy was rampant due to insane pricing for crappy software). If a Developer wishes to release their source-code, they still can. It just can't be distributed with the app (since the user wouldn't have any way to access it through that method).

If you have a problem with the lack of OpenSource Apps for iOS, blame the Developers and not Apple. Apple has nothing to do with that.

Users have a CHOICE to not use Apple products if you disagree with any of their policies/practices/decisions/reasoning. Users have a CHOICE to not use non-GPL software. Therefore no users are being abused by anyone who produces and/or distributes non-GPL software.

So TPB is only a distribution channel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322763)

So TPB is only a distribution channel for Mac OSX rips, right?

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 9 months ago | (#44322915)

Apple wasn't the "distributor" in this case, their AppStore was just being used as a Distribution Channel by the VLC Team. So VLC violated GPL by choosing an incompatible Distribution Channel, Apple had nothing to do with it. Stop spreading obvious lies.

That's not correct. When an end user installs an app via the App Store, software written by, deployed by, and under the control of Apple makes a copy and distributes that copy to the end user. Apple needs the permission of the copyright owner in order to do these things. 17 USC 106.

Apple is relying on the assurance of the developer of the app that he is either the copyright holder, or has the permission of the copyright owner to grant Apple permission to do those things. If the developer did not have permission, than the developer has violated his agreement with Apple, and if Apple were to get sued and have to pay damages to the copyright owner, they'd almost certainly be able to recover those damages from the developer. However, that's between Apple and the developer. The copyright owner is not required to delve into the relationship between Apple and its developers and ascertain the ultimate party that caused his copyright to be violated and try to get them to stop. He can go after anyone who is making and distributing unauthorized copies, and that includes Apple.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44323095)

That permission is granted on submission by the Developer. The automated process is kicked off by the Developer, not Apple. You're splitting hairs just so you can blame Apple for the initial violation (the blame for which lays 100% on VideoLAN).

On YouTube, is YouTube the one who is violating a license if a user uploads a video with someone else's copyrighted work? By your definition they would be the distributor and the one's to blame when a video is taken down via DMCA Notice.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44322247)

You can distribute GPL or other open-souce software on the App Store, because it's easy to also distribute source somewhere else.

As a copyright holder you can only request that the app is removed if distributing it violates the license under which you contributed.

False, as the copyright holder you can stop someone from distributing your copyrighted work for any reason. That's the reason GPL even works, because it is based on copyright. They had every right to stop VLC from being distributed on iOS - it's just that it also broke the implicit promise they made by letting people use the code under an open-source license. As long as you could get code for the application itself (which you can) then it does not violate the GPL license under which it's being used.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322287)

You can't take it back once you have given someone code licensed under GPL. They are entitled to distributing it. You can't go to for example Debian and say that they are no longer allowed to distribute your GPL software. You can only say that if they violated the terms in the license.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44322379)

You can't take it back once you have given someone code licensed under GPL. They are entitled to distributing it.

That is not true. As the copyright holder you in the end have full control over what anyone can do with the source. The GPL is just a promise of what you will NOT do - even though you could.

Otherwise the code would be public domain, which is exactly the opposite of what the GPL does. The GPL leaves all copyrights firmly in the hands of the original owner.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322507)

I'm not trying to be an asshole but you're just plain 100% wrong. Once you release code as GPL, you can't go back and tell people not to redistribute it. Everyone that got a copy has no legal obligations to you other than those in the GPL (disregarding patent and trademark laws). That means that they are free to distribute it under the terms of the GPL.

The reason why VLC is not in the app store is because the terms that users agree to when they use the App Store are incompatible with the requirements for redistribution in the GPL.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44323127)

Once you release code as GPL, you can't go back and tell people not to redistribute it.

Yes, you can, you are the copyright holder.

They can argue that because of the GPL, they do not have to. But that does not mean the original copyright holder has no leg to stand on.

Everyone that got a copy has no legal obligations to you other than those in the GPL

The GPL means nothing without copyright under it, therefore copyright is still with the original owner.

The reason why VLC is not in the app store is because the terms that users agree to when they use the App Store are incompatible with the requirements for redistribution in the GPL.M

False, we know that's false because there are many GPL based apps in the App Store today. VLC was removed ONLY because one of the original copyright holders, a developer on VLC, complained to Apple.

You are a complete cretin (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322741)

The whole idea of open-source is that once the code is 'open', it is out there for anyone to use FOREVER so long as the license is respected. Frankly, you need an IQ of around 5 to understand this concept, which is why you clearly don't.

Public Domain means "no longer controlled by copyright". Open-source means "released under a permissive license that allows re-use and redistribution by anyone that follows the license".

A license is a contract, and CANNOT in law simply be retroactively adjusted by one party in any way that effects the other party. Open-source makes EVERYONE the other party if they agree to the license.

If you were not such a clueless (and big mouthed) cretin, SuperKendall (and I hope to god no-one employs you in any capacity in the IT business), you would have noticed how the world's biggest and least pleasant IT companies have had to sit back and watch as open-source properties they have acquired are forked by others, without ANYTHING they can do to prevent this. Where, you cretin, do you think Libre-Office came from?

This situation is actually the exactly reverse of what you dribble. The 'owners' of the copyright of open-source projects have the trickiest of legal situations if they desire to create a 'closed-source' fork in the future. Why? Because they have to show either:
1) the closed source fork consists ONLY of code they OWN, and that they have compensated anyone who previously did free quality control of this code when it was open-source (for instance, people who reported bugs).
2) the closed source fork consists ONLY of code that ALL the contributors have agreed may be part of a closed-source fork

Given the above, most closed-source forks are clearly illegal (lack of compensation), but few people bother to take action against the original copyright holders - tolerating this abuse for the benefits open-source releases bring in the first place.

You are ignoring what I said (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44322879)

Why are you so ashamed of your thinking that you post AC? You actually had a pretty good post there.

Your understanding of the GPL is roughly correct. Your understanding of what I said is utterly wrong.

Yes the GPL is a contract, but like any contract the actual enforcement is up to the courts. It does not mean the original copyright holder cannot sue someone for using source code that was distributed under the GPL, or make complaints to others that as the copyright holder (for instance) they wish to have something removed from the app store. That's exactly what happened. Apple complied because the person who complained was the copyright holder - end of story.

As you say actual compliance with the GPL is spotty but it doesn't matter as long as no-one takes action. The VLC app would have stayed on the app store until the end of time if one of the copyright holders did not complain.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 9 months ago | (#44323001)

nope all previously licensed copies and their derivatives retain their license your changes do not apply retro actively only to new copies that you ditribute.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322535)

You can only say that if they violated the terms in the license.

That's what the VLC developer claimed; that the iOS app store terms were incompatible with the license he'd contributed his code under, and therefore the license was invalid in the distribution violated the terms and his rights as copyright holder.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#44322941)

Wrong.

The GPL forbids you to link to it or develop any software that includes any bits of code in it under any other license.

Basically if I wrote a silly .dll or header file that is only 1k in length that you include for your 100 meg program I in essence take ownership of the rest of it as the GPL forbids linking it unless the master program is also under GPL.

The LGPL ( I wish more developers would know and use this) makes linking fine as long as you do not contribute back to me in a non GPL license.

The GPL restricts freedom of the developer. It is an anti-EULA. EULA means the user gives up rights to the owner. GPL means the owner gives up rights to the user. So it is one extreme or the other and LGPL stays neutral in this.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

fnj (64210) | about 9 months ago | (#44323185)

Basically if I wrote a silly .dll or header file that is only 1k in length that you include for your 100 meg program I in essence take ownership of the rest of it as the GPL forbids linking it unless the master program is also under GPL.

Incorrect. You don't "take ownership" of somebody else's work by default. Copyright rules, legally. Each party owns his own work by copyright. What you have, IF the other guy's work is not GPL, is a case for that guy violating the GPL.

Gratuitous license are revocable (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 9 months ago | (#44322399)

> As a copyright holder you can only request that the app is removed if distributing it violates the license under which you contributed.

Or if you contributed it under a gratuitous license rather than a contracted-for license, since gratuitous licenses are revocable at will.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (5, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about 9 months ago | (#44322169)

> It's not Apple doing the abusing. It's the GPL that is incompatible with the App Store.

The GPL predates the App Store by about 20 years. If Apple decided to create terms for it's store that are incompatible with a 20 year old license then that is on Apple.

It's their decision to be jackasses.

The rest of us should not bow and scrape and grovel just because Apple has decided it can abuse the rest of us at will.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322289)

How is Apple abusing anyone? Just because they believe that App Developers are hard-working people who deserve to be rewarded for their efforts? In this instance they did not violate the GPL, VLC did when it distributed their App over a channel that wasn't "GPL-Friendly".

GPL Advocates need to stop acting like thugs and maybe they'll start seeing more adoption of OSS in general.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322323)

App developers deserve to distribute their software under their own terms. Apple limits this and the way users are allowed to use the software. This breaks the fundamental principles of free software, which says that you the user should not be dominated by someone else in order to do your computing. Apple does not allow developers to distribute their software under fair conditions.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (3, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44322471)

App developers deserve to distribute their software under their own terms. . Apple limits this and the way users are allowed to use the software. This breaks the fundamental principles of free software, which says that you the user should not be dominated by someone else in order to do your computing.

Yes they do but where does it developers have a right to use Apple's store to distribute their software as they wish. Nowhere. You want to write an app and post your source code for the world to see, that's your choice. If you want to use someone's distribution channel you have to abide by their rules.

Apple does not allow developers to distribute their software under fair conditions.

Apple does not allow developers to distribute software under your conditions. What you consider fair is not what everyone considers fair. Some developers do not want anyone to see their source code under any circumstances.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

dfghjk (711126) | about 9 months ago | (#44323171)

"App developers deserve to distribute their software under their own terms."

But they don't deserve to distribute other people's software in violation of their terms and Apple doesn't have to solve that problem for them.

"This breaks the fundamental principles of free software..."

Apple isn't obligated to support your notion of the "fundamental principles of free software".

"...which says that you the user should not be dominated by someone else in order to do your computing."

Unless, of course, that "someone else" is RMS and then it's for the greater good.

"Apple does not allow developers to distribute their software under fair conditions."

Of course it does. You just don't understand what's "fair".

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

thoth (7907) | about 9 months ago | (#44322943)

That may be true, but then Apple, as a private corporation, gets to set the terms for using their App Store infrastructure.
I don't see a problem with how this went down. VLC wanted to distribute an iOS version via the App Store; they modified their code to be acceptable.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

dfghjk (711126) | about 9 months ago | (#44323135)

"The GPL predates the App Store by about 20 years. If Apple decided to create terms for it's store that are incompatible with a 20 year old license then that is on Apple."

No it's not. Apple is under no obligation to accommodate arbitrary licensing terms, even old ones. No one is obligated to support the GPL, it's a choice.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 9 months ago | (#44321979)

Basically, sour grapes.

Yeah, some people just get all uppity about what you do with the things they created :(

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322107)

Yeees, specially when they work for a competing cellphone company in real life.
Butthurt long haired Linux hippies. Jesus Christ.
"Uh they are only allowed to download the program for free 5 times. After that they have to create another free account."

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44322215)

Is it reasonable to be upset when you open your code to let someone else use it and then they do?

The developer canceling the original VLC is just exhibiting petty Apple-hatred, not helping open source (or the people who use it) in any way.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Joshua Shaffer (2895571) | about 9 months ago | (#44322253)

I was always under the impression the GPL was meant to protect user rights, not creator rights, hence copy"left".

But if they wanted to shoot their own project in the foot by prohibiting an iOS distribution, I suppose they do have that right. I just retain my right to call it sour grapes.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44323219)

The dev who complained worked for Nokia, does that explain why it happened ?

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322331)

Yeh, that bastard recording industry, getting all upity when people listen to the stuff they've created without paying for it. Wait...

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322031)

Yeah, lets be clear about this apparently...

The Dev in question happens to work for a competing phone manufacturer

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322237)

Yeah, lets be clear about this apparently...

The Dev in question happens to work for a competing phone manufacturer

That has absolutely nothing to do with wether or not the app was distributed in conjunction with the license. The license did not allow distribution under unfair conditions. Distributing the app in the app store implied unfair conditions. That's why he could request that the app was pulled. Just because you're a copyright holder doesn't mean that you can do that, it has do actually be distributed against your license.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (4, Informative)

rsborg (111459) | about 9 months ago | (#44322905)

Yeah, lets be clear about this apparently...

The Dev in question happens to work for a competing phone manufacturer

The developer's name is Rémi Denis-Courmont [1], and while he's the lead developer for the VLC app, also worked for Nokia at the time, and thus the conflict of interest in his revocation of VLC iOS app.

[1] http://www.tuaw.com/2011/01/08/vlc-app-removed-from-app-store/ [tuaw.com]

Yeah, how dare they! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322503)

I mean, if it makes it available on the Apple Store, then you MUST ignore the license someone puts on their work!

Just like ignoring the licenses so it can get on TPB!

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322285)

One of the developers acted like a dick, and declared "zomg, that benefits a large corporation therefore it's evil, you're in violation of my copyright, take it all down".

Because you know, that's totally the spirit of open source.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322381)

Because you know, that's totally the spirit of open source.

This is the difference between open source and free software. VLC is free software. It has nothing to do with open source.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

fnj (64210) | about 9 months ago | (#44323291)

One of the developers acted like a dick, and declared "zomg, that benefits a large corporation therefore it's evil, you're in violation of my copyright, take it all down".

Don't be a clown, you anonymous shill, and especially don't be an ignorant blowhard. The terms of the App Store were in violation of the program's license, not the copyright, except insofar as the copyright is what puts the teeth in enforcing the license terms. It had nothing to do with benefiting a large company. On the contrary, many large corporations benefit from the GPL. Why should you publish license terms (GPL) if you do not intend to have them honored?

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about 9 months ago | (#44322745)

If I remember well, it is these two facts: - (a smaller one) that the source code is not available through the app store. In my opinion, having the source available on the homepage of the app is good enough. - (the big one): the app store, by the way it works, uses DRM for all apps, even the free ones. 2 persons who want to use VLC on their i device need to download it separately from the app store. You can't simply copy the app from idevice A to idevice B. Does this really matter? It seems that the developer had a problem with it. So Apple took it off the site. However I think it is an overreaction from the developer, in practice the app is easily available for everyone with an idevice. Personally, I am a satisfied user of the app store concept. It works well, smooth updates, no hassle. I think it is more a loss for the VLC team to miss out on the millions of users. So I used other video players - which, I would not be surprised to learn, may well have "borrowed" some decoding routines from the VLC project source... I do hope one improvement: as much as possible decoding through the hardware decoder of the i device, NOT through the processor as it originally did before being pulled. That would make a huge battery life difference.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 9 months ago | (#44321879)

This is probably where the "rewritten" part comes in. I would assume they either got consent or rewrote the parts that they didn't have consent for.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44321903)

The UI layer is MPL, but the actual guts of the app is libVLC which is not rewritten and licensed under LGPL. So, unless they rewrote that and I missed it I don't see how they can be in the clear.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#44322069)

The UI layer is MPL, but the actual guts of the app is libVLC which is not rewritten and licensed under LGPL. So, unless they rewrote that and I missed it I don't see how they can be in the clear.

They are in the clear as long as none of the copyright holders complains to Apple and demands that the app is removed. And once one of the copyright holders complains, it doesn't matter whether the app store is compatible with GPL or not, because Apple will remove it when asked to do so.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322857)

The UI layer is MPL, but the actual guts of the app is libVLC which is not rewritten and licensed under LGPL. So, unless they rewrote that and I missed it I don't see how they can be in the clear.

No one has claimed that LGPL is incompatible with Apple's TOS. FSF and others believe GPL and AGPL are incompatible.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#44321933)

Well yes the iOS front-end perhaps, but unless they also rewrote the whole decoding backend that they have to link to that part will still be under the LGPL.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#44322119)

Perhaps they did the sensible thing, and link to the built in video framework for things that it supports. That way they only have to provide for those video formats that are unsupported by Core Video.

how long before HBO asks apple to take it down? (5, Funny)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#44321911)

how long before HBO asks apple to take it down?

Re:how long before HBO asks apple to take it down? (4, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 9 months ago | (#44322227)

how long before HBO asks apple to take it down?

The irony is that VLC was pulled from the iTunes store last time not by evil Sith lord apprentices at Apple, not at the behest of a evil DRM purveyor, nor was it pulled due to threats by the RIAA or MPAA, it was removed at the insistence of a VLC developer because he felt that the GNU general public license conflicted with the iTunes App Store license. Apple was apparently not bothered by this until this guy raised a stink about perceived GPL violations, so just this once the evil corporate weasels seem to be blameless. Perhaps this sorry saga also explains the license changes?

Re:how long before HBO asks apple to take it down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322329)

Worst, most player apps out there (many of which are not even free, they cost a buck or two) are most likely based on the original VLC code and/or the VLC/ffmpeg code base, just look at the feature sets of those apps to see it.
So all VLC did was handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bunch of scrupulous-less devs that posted copycat apps and that who knows if they ever contributed back a fraction of what they made by using VLC/ffmpeg's code.

Re:how long before HBO asks apple to take it down? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44322499)

Apple was apparently not bothered by this until this guy raised a stink about perceived GPL violations.

I think another way to look at it that Apple doesn't check on the licensing of any code that is submitted. It assumes that all code submitted falls under a permissible license. When someone objected, they removed the app.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44321939)

Got it before it was canned, still works, who cares?

It's gonna get canned again.

GPL will do that

Exciting news? (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#44321955)

Yeah, this doesnt seem like exciting news to me at all. Dual-licensing it to get it in the app store is a failure, not a victory. If the app store isnt compatible with GPL software, then the app store shouldnt be getting access to GPL software. Dual-licensing to work around Apples error seems actively counterproductive to me.

Re:Exciting news? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 9 months ago | (#44322017)

To play devil's advocate for a second:

Yeah, it's way better to screw your users over something that you have a smaller chance of affecting than you have of seeing some pigs aloft over a week-old snowball in hell.

Re:Exciting news? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#44323271)

The users here are screwed no matter what, and it's Apple doing the screwing either way. Encouraging them to continue going back to Apple for more abuse is a worse screwing than removing your video player though, by orders of magnitude.

Re:Exciting news? (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#44322103)

Yeah, this doesnt seem like exciting news to me at all. Dual-licensing it to get it in the app store is a failure, not a victory. If the app store isnt compatible with GPL software, then the app store shouldnt be getting access to GPL software. Dual-licensing to work around Apples error seems actively counterproductive to me.

The question is not whether the app store is compatible with GPL software. The question is whether a copyright holder asks Apple to remove the software. It's a DMCA notice, and when Apple gets a DMCA notice, they take it down. The strange thing is that on Slashdot a DMCA takedown notice is considered a dick move - unless it is about GPL licensed software taken down from the app store.

Re:Exciting news? (1)

fnj (64210) | about 9 months ago | (#44323451)

The question is not whether the app store is compatible with GPL software. The question is whether a copyright holder asks Apple to remove the software. It's a DMCA notice, and when Apple gets a DMCA notice, they take it down.

Dear god, how did the world survive before DMCA? Oh wait, copyrights were enforced via due process rather than draconian excess. How will the world survive after DMCA is blown away and sent back to hell where it came from? I'm confident the answer is "very nicely; a lot better than now in fact". The DMCA is a red herring to this situation. A copyright holder can defend against violation of the terms of the license he has chosen without the DMCA.

The strange thing is that on Slashdot a DMCA takedown notice is considered a dick move - unless it is about GPL licensed software taken down from the app store.

I don't think there is a single voice here, except that the DMCA is the wrong way to enforce copyrights, prosecutes violations the wrong way (criminally), prescribes the wrong penalties, and glosses over due process. Some of us don't think there is such a thing as intellectual property; others think that copyright is proper but that software patents are bad policy; others that all patents are bad policy. Some of us (to grossly oversimplify) prefer GPL; others prefer BSD or something else; others think there is a benefit to mixing licenses for different components.

Re:Exciting news? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#44322125)

Yeah, this doesnt seem like exciting news to me at all. Dual-licensing it to get it in the app store is a failure, not a victory. If the app store isnt compatible with GPL software, then the app store shouldnt be getting access to GPL software. Dual-licensing to work around Apples error seems actively counterproductive to me.

Problem is you've got it backwards. The problem wasn't from the point of view of Apple's license... it was from the GPL end. It was a VLC developer that requested it be removed.

There is lots of GPL licensed software on the iOS App Store - Apple doesn't care at all.

Now if you believe the GPL is incompatible with Apple's licenses AND if you think somehow that is Apple's problem... well, then, Ballmer had a point when he referred to the GPL as a "cancer".

Re:Exciting news? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322665)

Apple doesn't care, but anyone who have contributed to them that cares can request that they are pulled since they are distributed against the conditions stipulated in the GPL.

That's not why (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44322791)

anyone who have contributed to them that cares can request that they are pulled since they are distributed against the conditions stipulated in the GPL.

The reason Apple listens is not complaints about the GPL, but because they are partly the copyright holder. Apple doesn't care about the GPL; they do care about copyrighted work being distributed without permission.

Re:That's not why (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 9 months ago | (#44322975)

You have permission as long as you follow the terms stipulated in the GPL. But it's true that Apple doesn't have to care about that, they can kick your app out for any other reason if they want to.

Re:That's not why (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44323021)

You have permission as long as you follow the terms stipulated in the GPL.

Technically according to the contract, yes you do.

However all Apple sees is an original copyright holder issuing a complaint. It's not Apple's job to interpret a contract, it's Apple's job to take down something if a valid copyright holder asks them to.

Re:That's not why (1)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#44323259)

"Technically according to the contract, yes you do."

There is no contract. It's a license, a one-sided grant, not a two-party agreement.

Re:Exciting news? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#44323251)

"It was a VLC developer that requested it be removed."

Correct. Because it was being distributed in violation of copyright law. Best I can tell, that is still the case.

"There is lots of GPL licensed software on the iOS App Store - Apple doesn't care at all."

Of course they don't, they have never cared about copyright (as long as it's someone elses copyright.) And the availability of GPL software in the App Store is to their advantage - it adds value to their product without costing them anything. I am sure they would love to have more of it.

But they are not entitled to it. The GPL is clear - you can distribute GPL software, or impose the kind of terms that the Apple store imposes, but you cannot do both. Apple has made their choice and it is not compatible with free software at all, so they should not be able to reap the benefits they are not entitled to here.

"Ballmer had a point when he referred to the GPL as a "cancer"."

He was projecting. It's a common psychological coping mechanism. The GPL is actually an anti-cancer. It cant kill cancer (unfortunately) but it reveals it and hinders it by refusing to mix with it, by design. Naturally the cancer doesnt like this.

Re:Exciting news? (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#44322145)

Dual licensing to get around the shortcomings of the GPL on the other hand is eminently sensible.

GPLs loss is everyone else's gain.

Re:Exciting news? (2)

dfghjk (711126) | about 9 months ago | (#44323093)

If it's dual-licensed it's not GPL software, the owners of the copyright can do as they wish. What do GPL advocates say? Oh yeah...if you don't like it, write your own.

"Actively counterproductive" implies that you know what the definition of "productive" is in the authors' minds. Clearly you don't.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322015)

I don't understand how they think this will work. LibVLC is LGPL, and unless they got consent from _every_ VLC contributor or the terms and conditions changed dramatically the last couple of months they can't distribute it on the iOS App Store. Sorry, but you picked the wrong license if that was something you wanted to do.

Wow. It wasn't easy to find the legal facts here, but there's no problem with LGPL and Apple App Store. The problem is with GPL and AGPL [fsf.org]. It's the stuff that was GPL that had to be relicensed to Mozilla, not the LGPL stuff.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322131)

Ehm, that link says absolutely no facts about LGPL.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 9 months ago | (#44322195)

The only thing that the LGPL allows that the GPL doesn't is the whole dynamic linking thing. That is not a relevant distinction here. So whatever Apple is doing that could p*ss off a Free Software developer applies equally to the GPL or LGPL.

The main difference between the two are how derivative works are defined.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322393)

You can't use dynamic linking on iOS, apart from system libraries. So this is status que.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44322903)

That is not an issue in this case, as it merely means they have to provide the source for the VLC app (which they are). The system dynamically loads the application and does not statically link to it, so the actual iOS system being closed does not matter.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

naasking (94116) | about 9 months ago | (#44322317)

No, LGPL libraries can be distributed in commercial software, and only changes to the library itself, if any, need be open sourced under the LGPL. They don't need permission from anyone to distribute it.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322451)

Only as long as you link _dynamically_. You can't statlink it and then violate the LGPL.

Re:3 2 1 Takedown (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322869)

This is a valid point, since Apple's build tools aren't setup to let you build a dynamic library for iOS.

Re:LGPL is compatible (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#44322815)

GNu is not. Hence why Bill Gates called it viral and started a flamewar on slashdot. I am not a troll here but someone correct me if I am wrong?

If I make a C++ header file it means you can use include in your mozilla or proprietary product if I make it available under the LGPL. L = linking. You acknowledge you do not own my header file and likewise I do not own your program. You own the program even if I provide the header file, dll, or .so you wish to use to make it functional.

Now if I make it under the GPL I can sue you for copyright violations as the GPL dictates if one part of the program is GPL then all of it is. RMS did this because he hates non free software and this now puts you in a sticky situation.

This is why FSF put a linking exception in the GPL license for IcedTea. Java developers can not use a gnu library in a non-gnu program.

DMCA (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 9 months ago | (#44321847)

Sony will come after them for copyright infringement.

Re:DMCA (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 months ago | (#44322097)

Sony will come after them for copyright infringement.

I presume they didn't link LibDeCSS in this build.... ...but what about the patent infringements? Or are those waived since Apple already licenses the appropriate patents and this is distributed by Apple?

GPL incompatible with the app store!?! (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 9 months ago | (#44322157)

This was news to me, and every news article just vaguely mentions it without providing details. For those unfamiliar, here is an article by the Free Software Foundation explaining the incompatibility. [fsf.org] and here is another article which represents a more nuanced position [tuaw.com].

Re:GPL incompatible with the app store!?! (1)

kqs (1038910) | about 9 months ago | (#44322375)

Huh; I had heard about the "incompatibility" but I didn't know exactly what it was. Thanks for the link.

It's ironic that a group of people who often hate copyrights and patents will simultaneously cling to a particularly strict interpretation of a App Store/GPL license interaction. I'm not saying the interpretation is wrong, but it;s unclear enough that neither side would want the court battle needed to settle it.

This definitely sounds like a "cut off the nose to spite the face" situation to me.

support for remote streaming? (3, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 9 months ago | (#44322389)

Don't particularly care about the licensing issues.

My question is whether it will allow me to stream from my home system, or will I have to upload every video file or use Dropbox or some other kludge.

Re:support for remote streaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44322871)

If you want to stream from your own video library, get Plex.

Re:support for remote streaming? (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 9 months ago | (#44323235)

Plex is a media server, not a client, right?

He's asking if VLC for iOS will play back DLNA-served media. As another iPhone/iPad owner with a DLNA server that holds all my media, I'd like to know too. Every TV in my house handles media streamed from the Linux box I have in my basement just great... it would be spiffy if I could also watch shows on my tablet so I can sit outside on my deck.

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