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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 Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.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 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 Shados (741919) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:12PM (#23091916)
    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).
  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @01:12PM (#23092848)
    Open source isn't about users being able to modify it and use it, its about being able to see the source. Im a strong believer that tivoisation is GOOD, if Tivo wrote anything useful then mythTV, etc can use that code, if somebody writes an amazing app for the iPhone, then ofc apple want some control over what runs on their hardware, but at the same time that code can go on to help a gPhone port.

    "For example, the GPLv2 in no way limits your use of the software. If you're a mad scientist, you can use GPLv2'd software for your evil plans to take over the world ("Sharks with lasers on their heads!!"), and the GPLv2 just says that you have to give source code back. And that's OK by me. I like sharks with lasers. I just want the mad scientists of the world to pay me back in kind. I made source code available to them, they have to make their changes to it available to me. After that, they can fry me with their shark-mounted lasers all they want."

    Chances are Apple will allow GPLv2 aps, if not You could easily use BSD to make a program with a shim of BSD code that you dont release to link to the API, thus being safe from NDAs.

    The reason were using Linux instead of Hurd, is because Linus is more worried about letting people try stuff out with the code and then if it works using that code, but Stalman is far too busy designing and restricted the use of his code. The reason we dont use BSD is simply that your not forced to help out the BSD guys, so the few that do have to make the whole thing themselves (this has some advantages too)

    BSD, code may/may not be released, credit must be given (something how tech works,friendly to business) [defiantly use able on iPhone]
    GPL2, code is released (something like how science works)[maybe/probably possible]
    GPL3, code is released but is limited in what it can do [not possible]
    MPL, dont know much about it [yeah right they're gunna let firefox complete with safari]
    *Other licenses are available
  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @02:27PM (#23093858) Journal
    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 never use v3), and even sold websites which used GPLv2 data to make sure that data was forever open to public use. I've released under the LGPL as well, when that suits my purposes... However, most of the s/w I release these days is under BSD - it's a pure, simple licence: "here's my stuff, do whatever you want with it, just credit me". *That* is freedom, though it's incompatible with the GPL. Tough. My software, my rules.

    Software "freedom" in my eyes is about letting the author do whatever (s)he wants with the software (s)he created, even if that doesn't meet my or anyone else's personal preference. Just like freedom of speech, it's easy to defend that right when the speech in question is something you agree with. The true test of the principle comes when what is being said is repellant to you. Under this spotlight, the GPL (especially v3 with its company-hostile approach) fails dismally; the politically-driven viral nature of the GPL is a serious hinderance to my freedom in this regard. BSD fails slightly (it imposes the accreditation and distribution clauses), but it's a whole lot more free than the GPL.

    [sigh] yes, I know I'm going to karma-hell on this one. Such is the price of stating a non-rabidly-pro-GPL opinion on slashdot... thank [insert the deity again] we have that freedom of speech thing, huh ?

    Simon.
  • Re:Gratis or libre? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @03:39PM (#23094662) Homepage Journal

    Actually you can have open source software without being GPL.
    So? The article suggests that even the names of the API functions from the iPhone SDK might be Apple's trade secret. If this is true, no open source software can be released for the iPhone.
  • by agendi (684385) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @06:48PM (#23096942)

    .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 reception - it is just no good. I performed several tests with my previous phone and the iPhone consistently failed to get ANY signal where the other phone got at least 1 (and sometimes 2) bars. This is not a sign of a good phone. When your sitting with a strong signal, I've no complaints with it but I'm getting tired of walking around my office and having the call drop out from no signal. As a cool gizmo and a "shape of things to come" it is excellent. As a phone it is mediocre, as a low end phone camera - mediocre, as an ipod it's fine, as an organizer it's fine if you use a Mac and mediocre if you use a PC and a headache if you use linux.

    This is just my personal experience with it, I have several other friends with them that have similar problems. I think the next version of the iPhone will solve these problems and will be something to behold, but the current one is not as shiny as the cool kids would have you believe

  • by DECS (891519) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:39PM (#23098298) Homepage Journal
    Because leaded gas would destroy the catalytic converter in newer cars.

    Old cars used lead in fuel to lubricate engine parts. Lead is toxic. In addition to removing lead, newer cars added catalytic converters to burn off tailpipe toxins. If you run leaded gas through them, it contaminates the catalysts.

    So to prevent people who didn't know better from thinking they could run "regular" gas through their newer cars without destroying a ~$300 part and dumping out more pollution, they make it difficult to do so with a smaller filler hose and port.

    That shares little in common with the idea of using GPL software in the iPhone. First of all, there's no damage: anyone can adapt FOSS libraries or develop new code under a free license and use this to deliver iPhone programs. Their open source code can be distributed for others to adapt; the only difference is that in order for someone to actually deploy an adapted version of that code, that new developer would need to be in the iPhone dev program so they could sign and distribute it.

    Apple uses both GPL and BSD licensed software on the iPhone, and makes their source available from its website. Why can't other software developers do the same?

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but even the GPL doesn't force developers to guarantee that their code will never be used on a secured platform that requires code signing. iPhone development offers no barriers to open source ideologies. It's only the official AppStore distribution of completed software that requires some approval from Apple. It seems pretty clear that there will always be some software that requires modifying the iPhone's firmware to distribute non-signed, unofficial software, so even that is hardly relevant.

    What's the controversy here? Seems to be much grasping at straws by the ignorant diggtard crowd that likes to bewail the "Apple monopoly." Of course, the problem is that Apple competes against lots of other products in the market. There are lots of MP3 players, media software, and smartphones; there are no commercial PC operating systems to choose from, and even the free volunteer options are hard to find available on a new PC that doesn't already include a Windows license. That's the difference between the Windows monopoly and the competition of iTunes, the iPod, and the iPhone.

    iPhone 2.0 SDK: How Signing Certificates Work [roughlydrafted.com]

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