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Technology (Apple) Technology

iPhone SDK and Free Software Don't Match 304

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-now-wait-a-minute dept.
kookjr writes "Are you planning to develop software for the iPhone? If you want to develop Free Software, Linux.com (Shares corp overlord w/ Slashdot) has a good review of the conflicts between Apple's Registered iPhone Developer Agreement and licenses like the GPL. This is important for people who may not read all the agreements they click Agree to."
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iPhone SDK and Free Software Don't Match

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  • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:29AM (#23091198) Journal
    companies are issuing SDKs and don't tell you what license is actually compatible in a common sense, non-legalese way?

    It seems only logical that this should fall in the 'system requirements' type category of the install documentation...

    Sure, when you start your car there is no beeping alarm and a warning sign to use ONLY unleaded gas, but then they go to extra efforts to warn you at the gas fill spot, and make the neck of the gas fill tube so that only unleaded fuel and siphon hoses will fit.

    This license thing is like letting you believe you can pour diesel fuel right on in the tank, no worries.

    I like car analogies :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      My last car (a 1996 Eclipse) said right under the speedometer "UNLEADED FUEL ONLY." So did my first car (1988 Accord).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dog-Cow (21281)
      There are a handful of different popular vehicle fuels.

      There are thousands of different licenses.

      Fuel compatibility is based on verifiable engineering principles.

      License compatibility is based on legal opinion.
      • by mysqlrocks (783488) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:32PM (#23092272) Homepage Journal

        There are a handful of different popular vehicle fuels.

        Yes, but it met the Slashdot requirement of being a car analogy.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:29AM (#23091202) Homepage
    It seems Apple haters are coming out of the wood work just to attack poor defenseless Apple! Apple does things they way they do them because they work. And the proof of that is illustrated perfectly in how cool and popular Apple stuff is... and by extension, anyone who uses Apple stuff is also cool and popular. So why can't people stop reading all these legal issues and get back to fun and sunshine!
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:54AM (#23091684) Journal
      iScream! uScream! we all scream for iScream!

      Uh, 'scuse me while iRead this iSummons from Apple's iLawyer. Who isn't so iCool or iPopular. But nothing's as iCool as iScream!

      Did iMention that iGot an iOperation [slashdot.org] last week?

      iKid, iKid! ok iGo now.
    • I've seen a lot of tech demos. I've seen alot of prototypes. And yet, the iPhone for all of its closed terrible-ness is the most advanced piece of technology I've ever seen- and it gets better... I own one. Its in my hand. I use it every day. This isn't something we drool over and fantasize about owning some day, this is extremely attainable.

      The point is that while I am a FSF and EFF supporter, GPL still doesn't deliver with jaw-dropping results. Apple does. The open movement was created largely in respons

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by agendi (684385)

        .Instead look at changing GPL to accommodate a company that is (in its own way) delivering on the goals that FSF was created to accomplish.

        What? That would be a very, very sad day. I had to read that statement 3 times. Forgive me if I misunderstand you but I get the feeling that you are suggesting that the GPL bends to support the activities of Apple? Again, a very, very sad day.

        I have an iPhone, I have had one for a couple of months now and have been using it everyday. It's not bad. There are some very nice things about it and there are some very idiotic things about it. The one thing that I constantly complain about however is the rece

    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @04:26PM (#23095282) Homepage Journal
      Sunshine? WTF dude, this is slashdot. We're all supposed to be hiding in the basement!
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:30AM (#23091218) Homepage Journal
    I thought we already knew that the iPhone SDK license might be unfriendly to free software. It shouldn't really surprise anyone should it?

    People should really read what they agree to but of course they don't most of the time. Of course, the /. crowd as a whole probably does so far more than most demographics.
    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:33AM (#23091266)
      People should really read what they agree to but of course they don't most of the time. Of course, the /. crowd as a whole probably does so far more than most demographics.

      And if the ability of /.ers to RTFA (not just this one, but any FA) is any example to go on, then it's a completely hopeless situation...
      • Excellent point! However, speaking only for myself of course, I RTFA about half the time, and I read licenses/EULA's 100% of the time.
    • by EricR86 (1144023) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:44AM (#23091502)

      It might be considered a surprise considering you can release your software for free (as in beer). But you can't really release the source for free (as in speech) under a GPL.

      If want to release "free" software, it's hard to believe you have to do so restrictively.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser (49529)
        I guess I am just not surprised even a little. I love their products and own a few, but I am getting to like Apple the company less and less. I've *never* liked Jobs but I recognize his effectiveness over the years and respect him for it.
    • So far, anyway, (Score:4, Insightful)

      by StarKruzr (74642) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:27PM (#23092190) Journal
      we can still jailbreak, and there's no reason we can't continue to develop free software with the community toolchain.
      • Re:So far, anyway, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @02:37PM (#23093982)
        An this is what really matters. Will I go legit when the App store comes out? No. Because jailbreaking offers me the freedom that I have now come to expect.
        • by DECS (891519)
          Which you certainly can do, particularly if you have no profit motive.

          However, the majority of iPhone developers are going to be expending their efforts to get paid. Distributing jailbreak software will be as profitable as trying to sell Palm or WinCE software: 99% will be used without payment, and those who do pay will expect expensive support. Good luck with that kind of business plan.

          Developers who join up with the AppStore will be able to sell their work to large, paying audiences with little piracy los
  • A new low (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:33AM (#23091280) Homepage Journal
    "...If you want to develop Free Software, Linux.com (Shares corp overlord w/ Slsahdot )..."

    Wow, /. editors can't even spell their own name? Somebody should give them a pointy hat and make them go sit in the corner for a bit ;)
  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:35AM (#23091326) Homepage
    The Not FUD: The iPhone is incompatible with GPLv3.

    If you ask Apple, thats a feature.

    If you ask the Free Software Foundation, thats a feature.

    The Maby FUD: Is code which uses the iPhone APIs confidential information under the NDA? No answer yet.

    The Total FUD: It only affects SOME Free liscences. Even if the APIs are confidential, this does NOT stop BSD code, but only viral liscences like GPL.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Blaze74 (523522)
      If I had mod points, you would get them. GPLv2 software is perfectly fine on the iPhone, it's only GPLv3 software.
      • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:49AM (#23091592) Homepage
        Actually, GPLv2 MAY BE incompatible, if the answer is "code which uses the iPhone APIs contains confidential information". In that case, you could only distribute the code to other registered developers, not everyone, which means Berkeley liscence is fine but GPL is not.

        Also, apple's method of distribution MAY BE GPLv2 incompatible, because Apple might not want to also be responsible for distributing the source code and some GPLv2 authors may not like derivitive works where a different party distributes the source code compared to the binary (because the developer could always host the code if its not confidential), and the GPLv2 as written says it is the binary distributer's responsibility to distribute the source code.

        We don't know yet, but if the distribution is not GPLv2 friendly:
        If you ask the Free Software Foundation, that would be a feature.
        If you ask Apple, that would be a feature.
        • by cromar (1103585)

          If you ask the Free Software Foundation, that would be a feature.
          If you ask Apple, that would be a feature.
          Ah yes. At least it's only the users who lose.
        • by kithrup (778358) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:19PM (#23092022)

          The normal ADC NDA says the same thing, and that has never prevented anyone from distributing application source code. (One can argue that the third-party books which describe the API cover this -- but books always lag behind, and I've never seen anyone worried that they'll be sued by Apple for distributing their application source code before any third-party books describing the APIs they're using are out.)

          Of course, I'm neither a lawyer nor Apple (and certainly not an Apple lawyer), so I can't speak definitively... but common sense seems to say this is a red herring.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dekortage (697532)

            Mod parent up. If the iPhone SDK has the same clause as the ADC has had for awhile, this is very much a "red herring."

        • by Altus (1034)

          Apple doesn't have to distribute the source code for you though... couldn't you provide it on your own web site and just provide a link with the binary?

          Obviously the question of the API being confidential would be an issue for GPL v2 but I don't think the code distribution issue is a real one. Plenty of people seem to provide binaries with just a link to the source code if you want it.
        • by _fuzz_ (111591)

          the GPLv2 as written says it is the binary distributer's responsibility to distribute the source code.
          Not exactly. If the distributor does not modify the work, they just have to pass on the offer of the source code that they got. So Apple wouldn't have to actually distribute the source code, just tell you that you can get it from xyz.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:43AM (#23091484) Homepage
      From TFA, it may affect the publishing of source code under any license. The BSD license isn't going to get you very far if you could be violating the Apple NDA by publishing the source code. Furthermore, even if you did / could publish it legally, it won't do anyone else much good if they can't compile it for the iPhone because they haven't paid Apple $99 and gotten the magical seal of approval.
      • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:53AM (#23091666) Homepage
        You CAN distribute code under the BSD liscence, just you can only distribute to other registered developers.

        Since registering as a developer for the SDK is $0.00, and a registered devolper with a dev key is $100, AND is needed if you want to modify the code, Big Frakin Deal: you can only distribute the code to people who are able to use it, as the jailbreak dev-kits don't use the same APIs (and if they did, then you can distribute to your hearts content because its clearly no longer confidential information).
      • The BSD license isn't going to get you very far if you could be violating the Apple NDA by publishing the source code.

        Why? You don't need to publish the source code to be in compliance with the BSD license. All you need to do is credit the authors. Heck, Windows incorporates (or used to) a BSD licensed TCP/IP stack. The fact that you don't need to publish the code is the main difference between the GPL and BSD licenses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bazar (778572)

      The Total FUD: It only affects SOME Free liscences. Even if the APIs are confidential, this does NOT stop BSD code, but only viral liscences like GPL.
      There is free as in beer, and free as in speech.

      When they are talking about you can't alter it and then use it, their talking about how the software isn't free of restriction. They are not talking about its price.
    • by mr_death (106532)
      >The Not FUD: The iPhone is incompatible with GPLv3.

      Use GPLv2, and be happy. IMHO, the anti-tivo rantings and virtues of GPLv3 are wildly overplayed.

      Also, you should get your own legal advice concerning this topic. FSF's Smith may have an ax to grind.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mea37 (1201159)
      Keep in mind that while he doesn't say so explicitely, the author means "software that meets the FSF's definition of 'free'" when he says "free software" -- not merely "software released under a license that people associate with free software".

      You can see this when he talks about GLPv2 -- when talking about the code-signing requirement, he acknowledges that it wouldn't hinder GLPv2, but says that still the code wouldn't be "free software".

      My gut reaction is to agree that the NDA thing has a FUD feel to it,
    • by nguy (1207026) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @02:52PM (#23094146)
      The Total FUD: It only affects SOME Free liscences. Even if the APIs are confidential, this does NOT stop BSD code, but only viral liscences like GPL.

      The GPL quite clearly says that the OS can be under whatever license it wants to be. GPL'ed software runs on SunOS, Solaris, Windows, AIX, Symbian, and lots of other systems with weird licenses. GPL software does not infect software that isn't derived from it in some way.

      The problem here is that Apple is trying to be viral and infect software that they did not develop. The GPLv3 just says that it won't allow itself to be infected by viral corporate licenses.

      I've owned about a dozen Macs over the years. I'm so pissed of about Apple's recent bullshit that I'm not going to buy another Apple product until they change or hell freezes over.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)
      I'd make that "almost certainly FUD."

      Their reasoning is pretty paranoid, not to mention the way the article is written it's very misleading. The NDA says you can't release information that is not available elsewhere. The SDK documentation is available to non-$99 paying developers (like me) so the information is available without signing the NDA.

      Talking about the registered developer program and then switching gears to talk about the NDA is a nice little bit of circumstantial association.
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:37AM (#23091370)
    Enough said really, why should everything strive to be GPL compatible? I've often wondered this in the past when <Insert Random Project Here> has its license suddenly decreed to be 'GPL incompatible' to a great outcry here on Slashdot, when at the same time the GPL itself doesn't strive for great compatibility with others.
    • by sqlrob (173498)
      Projects in general, I agree. If some particular project is not GPL compatible, so what. You can deal with it, work around the issue.

      Hardware on the other hand, not so much. What's needed to develop on hardware should be license agnostic.
    • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:45AM (#23091512) Homepage

      when at the same time the GPL itself doesn't strive for great compatibility with others.

      A great amount of effort went into writing GPLv3 in such a way that it would be compatible with Apache License v2.0 and other Free licenses.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:47AM (#23091552) Journal
      Because there's a lot of GPL software out there, and people are going to want to run it on their devices. If a device cannot legally run GPL software, that's a really good reason not to get that device.

      You're right that the GPL doesn't strive for great compatibility with other license. It strives to be the most free. Sometimes that causes problems with proprietary systems. It's not the GPLs fault that it can't be compatible with licenses that remove your freedoms.
      • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:56AM (#23091712) Homepage Journal

        It strives to be the most free. Sometimes that causes problems with proprietary systems.
        I don't think it strives to be the most free. At least I don't see it that way. I think it strives to propagate freedom. And that's what sometimes conflicts with proprietary systems.
      • by daveewart (66895) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:58AM (#23091732)

        [The GPL] strives to be the most free.

        Not quite. It strives to stay free. Most people consider BSD-licensed code to be more free than GPL-licensed code, simply because there are fewer restrictions.

        I'm not commenting on whether "being more free" or "staying free" is "better" (whatever that might mean in this context), simply that there's a difference.

        • by Hatta (162192)
          The only restrictions on GPL code is that you can't impose restrictions on anyone else. Can you seriously argue that you're less free because you cannot remove the freedoms of others? That's like saying the 13th amendment makes you less free because it takes away your right to hold slaves.

          I think it's pretty clear that we are more free with the 13th amendment than without, and similarly that code is more free with the GPL than without.
          • by Your.Master (1088569) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @01:42PM (#23093242)
            Yes, I can seriously argue that. Especially because it isn't that you can't remove the freedoms of others, it's that you must grant a set of freedoms to others. The work that goes into a derived work does not have some platonic natural state of being free for all others to use, it is imposed by the source GPL work.

            The 13th amendment DOES make you less free in some aspects. You are not free to own slaves. Less freedom. That's the end of it. Now, it makes any potential slave much, MUCH more free in some other aspects (and I get that in this analogy, everybody is a slave -- but also in this analogy the slaves can have slaves, so it still holds), and it is overall a good thing, but "good" and "free" are not synonyms. Just because the 13th amendment is absolutely a good thing doesn't mean that it isn't a restriction of your freedoms.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Space cowboy (13680) *
              Thank [insert random deity] *someone* else gets it.

              Slavery is bad, no argument, but the removal of the possibility of owning slaves is indeed a restriction on your freedom. Conflating the freedom of the slave with the freedom of owning a slave, and mixing the abhorrent nature of slavery itself into the argument is all just to try and obscure the fact that the GPL *does* remove more rights than (say) the BSD licence.

              Now the GPL has high motives; I've released a fair amount of software under GPL (v2, I'd neve
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by daveewart (66895)

            The only restrictions on GPL code is that you can't impose restrictions on anyone else. Can you seriously argue that you're less free because you cannot remove the freedoms of others?

            I most certainly can argue that. As an example, BSD-licensed code has fewer restrictions than GPL: I could take some BSD-licensed code and use it in my own commercial application. I don't need to release my application under any particular license, I simply need to honour the terms of the BSD license, which (broadly) boils

      • by jinxidoru (743428)
        If not supporting the GPL hurts iPhone sales significantly, then Apple will adjust their license to permit GPL code. Honestly though, average Joe Shmoe probably ain't going to care very much that the iPhone can't run GPL'ed code. It's only going to bother the geeks, which probably isn't Apple's key demographic.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        It strives to be the most free.

        O Really? Don't get me wrong, because I prefer the GPL but I understand what the terms are.

        Public Domain is the most free. Absolutely no restriction on how or what you have to distribute and no restriction on price. The users are free to manipulate the source code as they see fit. Since it gives the developers the most freedom, it gives the users no "freedom" when it comes to derived works. The users can only get access to the original source and not necessarily from the aut

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:51AM (#23091634) Homepage Journal
      There is a big difference with an individual software package not being GPL compatible and an entire platform being so. Locking out free software may not have been Apple's actual intent but they have done so.
      • by samkass (174571)
        "but they have done so"

        They may have done so. They almost certainly aren't compatible with the much less popular GPLv3, but I don't think many people are losing sleep over that one. Most folks use GPLv2, which they could definitely stay compatible with.

        The thing isn't even being released for two months, so it's all just speculation at this point.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EricR86 (1144023)

      Why can't we license software we write anyway we choose?

      If I've written a software which, by default, I already own the copyright to, why can't I choose which license to release it under? You might be using other software under a different license to support your own. But having that 3rd party software restrict which license you can choose seems absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary. Please, someone enlighten me why this happens

    • It shoudln't GPL License is only a tool for developers who want to develop their software. One of the reasons why Linux is GPL was because there were so many people who helped with it that the GPL was only the available solution without having to make a new license agreement.

      But for most projects where developed by a small team the GPL is just a Polical Statement not anything useful. The GPL is a very strict licence for the developers, this is the reason why companies are not GPL friendly, not because they
      • Look at IBM and the once IBM PC. By being open with their standards and rather loose licensing with Microsft killed the IBM PC Dominate market.

        Well, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. IBM's opening up of the PC caused the PC market to expand overall, and IBM clearly benefited from the expansion of PCs. However, IBM made some big missteps along the way that caused its own offerings to gradually lose market share.

        1) IBM was beaten to the punch by Compaq on the 386. That's a big ouch. IBM PC A
    • I just want to always be able to run modified code on my device. GPL 3 compatibility would ensure that I could. Its not a mere technicality, where I could just choose to ignore one of the clauses and make it work anyways. There is no way for me to change the code that runs on my (hypothetical) iphone.
  • by DaveInAustin (549058) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:39AM (#23091422) Homepage
    This seems to conflict with GPL 3, but it's a stretch to say that it conflicts with v2. If I distribute code that uses an API, am I disclosing the API? IANAL so I guess someone could make that argument. I'm glad apple will be pushed to clarify this, but it's probably ok. Is Apple trying to make sure nobody ports an iphone app to the andriod [google.com]?
    • by logicnazi (169418)
      Yah, I suspect that apple is really trying to avoid the situation where someone takes the development kit and disassembles it in some manner to reveal internal secrets (e.g. how to unlock various features of the iphone). Including this language in their licence covers their ass so they can demand any company who discovers such information not distribute it.
  • Slsadot? (Score:2, Funny)

    by martin_henry (1032656)

    Slsahdot

    Would you like some chips with that?
  • Apple's developmental stuff is not compatible with the GPL... and thats a issue against making free software how?

    I thought the whole IDEA of the GPL was to not be as big of assholes as companies where with their licensing? No NOW we have people acting for the GPL EXACTLY like companies where with their licensing too and this false idea that if its not GPL its not free even though everyone knows thats a load of tin-foil hat bullshit...

    Sometimes people with good intentions can be their own worse enemy.

  • This is signing up for the SDK... I'd hope you'd know what you're getting into when you agree to DEVELOP an application for the platform.

    Also this isn't about free software, it's about GPLv3 software. There are many license agreements for open source... there's BSD, there's GPLv2, there's GPLv3, there's the Apple's agreement... they all have different views of what things mean. GPLv3 is the most "preachy" in that it's as much religion and Stallman dogma as it is an agreement, and not everyone who is in bu
  • Code Signing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by diamondsw (685967) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:58AM (#23091728)
    Simply put, there are three problems:

    1. Code signing - this conflicts with GPLv3's "anti-Tivoization" clause. As others posted, both sides will see this as a feature, not a bug.
    2. It's not "free". This is true; much as you cannot download the Tivo source code and have it compile and work on your Tivo, you cannot just download available source code and run it on your iPhone. This goes back to the signing issues above.
    3. NDA provisions. I'm willing to bet this is purely during the beta period. All of Apple's other tools, documentation, etc are freely available, and I expect this will continue once it is released. After all, signing up for this program gives access to beta software (the iPhone firmware 2.0), and Apple similarly restricts access to OS X and other beta software. Once it's final, these restrictions are lifted.
    Ultimately, this all boils down to code signing and what you think of it. The problems presented by this are fairly specific to GPLv3; anyone is free to distribute their code under (for example) the MIT/BSD license, or even GPLv2.

    As for GPLv3 it's far from widespread, and with prominent projects such as the Linux kernel avoiding it, I'm not sure how much traction it will gain over GPLv2. Much like Windows Vista has to compete with XP, GPLv3 has to compete with GPLv2.

  • by SimHacker (180785) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:03PM (#23091796) Homepage Journal

    I keep getting asked if I'll port SimCity (Micropolis) [google.com] to the iPhone.

    Now I know the answer: NO! Because it's licensed under GPL 3 [google.com].

    It's a lot easier to port software to the Windows CE on the PocketPC, anyway. And then I can give it away for free, instead of charging for it and forking over money to Apple.

    -Don

  • by w3woody (44457) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:04PM (#23091816) Homepage
    There are three points of contention:

    (1) You must have your application signed before it will run on any cell phone,
    (2) Your application must be delivered via the Apple iTunes store, and
    (3) Your usage of the beta version of Apple's development kit subjects you to an NDA.

    Well, the NDA part of the beta program struck me as a little odd, as it takes about no effort for any idiot to sign up and download the SDK for free--however, this seems to be a standard tactic by Apple for all its beta SDKs. The NDA will be gone, however, by the time the SDK is out of beta--so the whole "you must sign an NDA and that is incompatible with the GPL" thing will be gone by summer.

    So what is left is the fact that you have to sign your application before it will run on the iPhone.

    As someone who has written cell phone software before, I can tell you that Symbian and Windows Mobile also require application signing before allowing your programs to run on their platforms. It's very common in the cell phone industry to use certificate signing--and at $99/year, Apple is the cheapest to obtain a signing key. Further, from the sounds of it, by the time the SDK goes out of beta, anyone with $99 can get a signing key and sign as many apps as he wishes. (By contrast, for Windows Mobile you pay VeriSign $350 for 10 signing events [verisign.com], meaning you can only sign 10 applications or different versions of the same application. (Actually a signing event means you sign one executable.) Symbian is even more of a pain in the neck. [verisign.com] And let's not talk about Android until real Android-based phones start showing up on the market and we learn what sort of package signing requirements the cell phone manufacturers impose on Android applications.

    While I appreciate the need for authors to fill column space in order to get paid, it seems to be a little early to start complaining about GPL incompatibility and pointing the fingers solely at Apple because you're too lazy to compare and contrast with the other mobile operating systems out there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919)
      Though with Windows Mobile, your application can run just peachy on a Pocket PC with the exact same code without being signed at all. Can iPhone apps run unsigned on an Ipod Touch? (actual, honest question).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Microlith (54737)
      To be sure, Apple is the only one that requires signing before the application can even be loaded and run. Both Symbian and Windows Mobile will run unsigned applications, but their access to phone capabilities will be restricted to some degree.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EvilNTUser (573674)
      You can sign your own programs for Symbian. You don't have to authenticate with a certificate authority unless you have a specific reason to do so. You also don't have to use some vendor approved web store, as a simple USB connection is enough. I don't see how the situations are comparable at all.
    • by Dionysus (12737) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:45PM (#23092464) Homepage

      As someone who has written cell phone software before, I can tell you that Symbian and Windows Mobile also require application signing before allowing your programs to run on their platforms

      Oh, please. You hear this excuse from Apple apologists every time this issue comes up. Of all the programs on my Nokia N70, only the stuff from Nokia, Opera and Adobe is signed. Gmail app is not signed. None of the games are signed. They all installed and run fine.
  • There is an easy fix, don't write software for Apple's Marketing 'technology'.

    Instead write your code for an OSS phone or/and port it to Windows Mobile, there are far more Windows Mobile phones than iPhones, so you even get a bigger market.

    In addition to more features, without restrictions, as you can write ANYTHING for the other platforms with no Big Brother approval from Nokia, Microsoft, etc.

    Other cellphone companies and Microsoft made ONE mistake with their Mobile OSes, they didn't market the media feat
    • by MosesJones (55544)
      Instead write your code for an OSS phone or/and port it to Windows Mobile, there are far more Windows Mobile phones than iPhones, so you even get a bigger market.

      4th Quarter 2007 and the iPhone was in 3rd place in the US market behind Nokia and RIM. So yes you are right that its currently a larger market, but you'd be better off writing for Symbian or RIM to get an even bigger market and writing in Java to get the biggest market of all.

      Other cellphone companies and Microsoft made ONE mistake with their Mobi
  • by logicnazi (169418) <logicnazi@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:17PM (#23091990) Homepage
    I have great respect for the FSF and the goals they are trying to accomplish but when I see claims like, "But the result still would not qualify as free software, since no one could alter your source code and run the modified result on their phone," it irks me.

    More accurately it would not meet the FSF's definition of free software. I would call freely released source code that I could load into the iphone simulator (or with $99 an iphone itself) free software. But whether or not you agree with my usage of the term isn't the point. 'Free software' is a term like 'free country.' It's part of the language and no one entity can dictate it's meaning just because it thinks that is what the term should mean.

    To be clear I have no dispute with the FSF. Just as various activist groups might offer their own definitions of free countries that differ so too is it reasonable for the FSF to offer their own definition of free software and to try to convince us it is the correct one. However, journalistic pieces like the one at linux.com shouldn't assume that the FSF can define by fiat what words in our language mean. Instead they should tell us that this would not qualify as free software under the FSF definition.
  • There's an alternative to the iPod Touch, anyway: the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet [nokiausa.com]. It's about the same size as the Touch but has a slide-out mini keyboard. It runs a pared-down Linux called Maemo. I just got one of these instead of a Touch because I wanted the keyboard, and I wanted a truly open platform (and I didn't want it to be a phone; it isn't).

    Capsule review: the hardware design is brilliant. The software, though, is still rather rough. I'd love it if some of these people who are so eager to wr

  • to see if the iPhone or the SDK actually depend upon any GPL software here...

    time for some good hackers to start searching for giveaway strings in the code...

  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:26PM (#23092168)
    FSF Licensing Compliance Officer Brett Smith syas:

    The FSF's Smith says the fact that the author of the program (i.e., you) and the distributor of the binary (i.e., Apple) are unrelated entities makes no difference. "If a program is meant to be installed on a particular User Product, GPLv3 imposes the same requirements about providing Installation Information whether the software is directly installed on the device or conveyed separately."


    The Actual GPLv3 License says:

    If you convey an object code work under this section in, or with, or specifically for use in, a User Product, and the conveying occurs as part of a transaction in which the right of possession and use of the User Product is transferred to the recipient in perpetuity or for a fixed term (regardless of how the transaction is characterized), the Corresponding Source conveyed under this section must be accompanied by the Installation Information.


    IANAL, but it looks to me like the only person who would be restricted from distributing GPLv3 code for the iPhone would be Apple, and even they could do so safely as long as they don't bundle it into the same transaction in which you buy the iPhone itself. You or I ought to be able to just provide a link to the source code in our app, or otherwise embed the source code in a readable fashion, and be safe from that clause while still distributing our app through iTunes.

    So where's the problem Mr Smith?
  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by torstenvl (769732) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @01:30PM (#23093084)
    Summary of the article: "Only GPLv3 is Free Software. Anything without an anti-TiVoization clause is unfree. Also, dual licensing does not exist."

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!

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