Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 20, 2013
Pencil, Pencil, and Pencil
Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Now, there might be workarounds to not waste Poole's work, but if Apple has restrictions incompatible with the GPL, it's Apple's problem.
I think that if they change the Wesnoth's license (or add an exception) it would be a very sad day for Free Software, bowing to the might of the anti-free kings
Wesnoth struggles with App Store's GPL incompatibilities
Posted Jul 21, 2010 18:03 UTC (Wed) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
Is there anything stopping an Android device manufacturer from creating a EULA constrained walled garden inside a larger/fractured Android ecosystem to run on locked down devices? I'm not aware of anything that would prevent this in the future. I think Google gives device manufactures a lot of leeway in the extent of lockdown. If an Android device maker/ISP wants to control available content I think it might be possible for them to do.
Posted Jul 21, 2010 18:17 UTC (Wed) by pj (subscriber, #4506)
Posted Jul 21, 2010 18:37 UTC (Wed) by corbet (editor, #1)
Posted Jul 21, 2010 18:43 UTC (Wed) by JoeBuck (subscriber, #2330)
Posted Jul 21, 2010 19:29 UTC (Wed) by yokem_55 (subscriber, #10498)
Posted Jul 21, 2010 18:38 UTC (Wed) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
You missed my point to some degree. What we are seeing with Apple's iOS is potentially a systemic problem with all mobile devices. Unlike traditional PCs..which have a historic cultural of being able to run any operating system available..essentially being unlocked. Mobile devices have historically not be as open to repurposing or installing alternative operating systems. We are seeing Android phones that are not unlockable from device manufacturers. That's just another symptom of the larger problem.
What I'm saying is there is a deeper problem lurking..a cultural problem between mobile device manufactures and participants in a maker culture (FLOSS advocates are just a subset of a larger maker culture where reporposing hardware to do what you want it to do not what the manufacturer says you are allowed to do is the key issue. Software freedom is just a subset of that more fundamental statement about hardware consumer freedom).
Android devices right now maybe open enough for 3rd party application distribution..but there's no reason to expect them to be in the future. If anything there is pressure to lock mobile device down into ISP specific application channels from a revenue consideration. A locked down Android phone that you can't put another operating system on could easily be locked down further to prevent you from installing additional applications out of band via your sdcard or from a url. Its just a matter of time before an ISP feels the market pressure to do that and drive people through their own ISP branded store. Nothing is stopping that sort of lock down from happening other than consumer interest. Google isn't prohibiting that level of lockdown as far as I know.
And its not just android phones. Other types of devices.. like the nook and kindle ereaders are under pressure to _not_ be general purpose devices..even though they could be repurposed for that easily.
Its a looming cultural problem. As devices become less and less general purpose by design..there's more and more incentive for OEMs/ISPs to contain the consumer in a confined application space as a revenue generator...especially when the devices themselves are offered at loss-leader pricing and there is an expectation that revenue will be generated via other means.
Posted Jul 21, 2010 22:11 UTC (Wed) by martinfick (subscriber, #4455)
All phones completely locked down -> some phones partially open -> some phones very open.
This is major progress in my book. Naturally, it does not mean that your concerns are invalid, but simply that I perceive the phone ecosystem as a whole as becoming more open, not less.
That being the case, I don't wee why GPL developers (and anyone else wanting to control distribution of their apps) would not pressure Apple to remove that silly inherent copy restriction, since it has nothing to do with their software that they (Apple) wrote, and it hardly seems vital to their business model. There are very good reasons for other non GPL devs to not like this policy and they should make apple aware of their concerns before simply assuming that Apple will never change. After all, I would not assume that Apple is not very scared of the real android threat to their current bread and butter (they would be stupid not to be, and they are not stupid). If lifting this simple restriction means that apple can appease a lot more users and devs, and fight off android a bit longer, why wouldn't they?
On a final note, it seems ironic that a game might actually be free software's killer app (the one over which this battle is fought) for the iphone! :)
Posted Jul 21, 2010 22:18 UTC (Wed) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183)
If Wesnoth does stay in the AppStore, it will be interesting to see what the medium-term effects are, both for the AppStore and for FLOSS. Material coming up for another LWN analysis?
Posted Jul 21, 2010 23:19 UTC (Wed) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953)
All we do by allowing GPL software to have an exception for the app store is to validate the Apple model, after all some future company can create an app store with even more draconian restrictions and they can be sure GPL software will get an "exception" right?
It's a very big mistake to allow this IMO. The future is an Open Android platform that has the same true user freedoms we've come to value in the PC space. Sure the carriers can try to lock down the phones, even using Android but we shouldn't give the weight of the FOSS advantage to anyone that restricts FOSS and specifically writes their EULA to exclude FOSS (it's no question in my mind that Apple wrote their developer agreement to exclude FOSS). All we do is validate the broken software model and restrictive usage agreements by giving exceptions.
There is an all out war on FOSS ideals being waged by companies that themselves use FOSS and we can't be giving ground or exceptions to the GPL or we risk destroying our own community. Maybe that's alarmist but I just don't think validating these restrictions is in the long term interest of the community.
Posted Jul 21, 2010 18:07 UTC (Wed) by foom (subscriber, #14868)
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds