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FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

Posted Jun 10, 2010 11:08 UTC (Thu) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167)
Parent article: FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

"certainly technical restrictions of the iPhone platform would prevent users from exercising freedom to modify and redistribute GNU Go for the iPhone even if they had the source code in hand. Would they nevertheless learn to appreciate software freedom more?"

As far as I understand it, all iPhone users may install arbitrary software if they: pay an annual tax to Apple to be a "developer" and install suitable software (which appears to be $0 for OS X) or get someone else to do so on their behalf.

Having done this you can use GPL'd software on your iPhone, you can modify it and install the modified versions, and you can redistribute the source code to other people in a similar situation.


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FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

Posted Jun 10, 2010 18:55 UTC (Thu) by johnsu01 (subscriber, #34757) [Link]

As far as I understand it, all iPhone users may install arbitrary software if they: pay an annual tax to Apple to be a "developer" and install suitable software (which appears to be $0 for OS X) or get someone else to do so on their behalf.

Unfortunately, no -- you are referring to the ad hoc distribution program, but this is intended exclusively for testing future App Store applications, and so has a number of limits. Among many other things, you have to give Apple the device ID for each device that your developer certificate-signed software will be installed on, and you are not allowed to give redistribution rights.

FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

Posted Jun 17, 2010 20:45 UTC (Thu) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167) [Link]

"you are not allowed to give redistribution rights"

redistribution rights for what?

I don't see how any of this prevents an arbitrarily large group of users (having paid Apple's "developer" tax) from all working on a GPL'd program and simply compiling it locally. They all pay the tax, they all give just their own device ID to Apple, and then they compile and install new versions from source as they please, like a mid-1990s Linux system.

If the idea is that Apple's rules forbid you from giving someone else the rights to any software you developed to run on an iPhone then they have a big problem - that's a huge business for lots of their developers (big company hires agile iPhone dev shop to make an app, the big company keeps the rights), I'd guess probably the majority, so they're threatening to kill their golden goose if they enforce such a rule.


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