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Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Apple App Store vs FSF

with 5 comments

There was a post a few days ago on the FSF site about the GNU Go app situation

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

Basically the GNU Go app is GPL, which is not compatible with the terms of service of Apple’s App Store. This is the wrap-up on the FSF post:

That’s the problem in a nutshell: Apple’s Terms of Service impose restrictive limits on use and distribution for any software distributed through the App Store, and the GPL doesn’t allow that. This specific case involves other issues, but this is the one that’s most unique and deserves explanation.

We would’ve liked to see Apple do the right thing and remove these limits, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. Apple has removed GNU Go from the App Store, continuing their longstanding habit of preventing users from doing anything that Apple doesn’t want them to do. As we said in our initial announcement, this is disappointing but unsurprising; Apple made this choice a long time ago. We just need to make sure everybody else gets the message: if you value your independence and creativity, you should be aware that Apple doesn’t. Take your computing elsewhere.

I am a firm believer in the FOSS, but this is nonsense from the FSF. This position is micro-focused and blinded to the larger picture. The App store provides both free (zero-cost) and paid downloads. App developers are able to provide open source or proprietary apps. Developers have the freedom to choose. What the FSF wants Apple to do is to remove the mechanisms in place that protect the distribution of proprietary apps. My guess is that the proprietary apps account for over 98% of all iPhone and iPad apps.The FSF wants Apple to abandon those developers (>98%) in favor of the developers who believe in the Free Software philosophy (<2%).

The FSF’s position is that, by rights, software is fundamentally free and that intellectual property is bad. The FSF doesn’t like the fact that people create proprietary software. They don’t even like shareware. They think anyone creating software should give it away for free and provide the source code too. The FSF values your creativity – they value it so much they think you don’t have the rights to own your creation.

Written by James

May 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Posted in Apple, licenses, open source