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Media Open Source Apple

Apple Pulls VLC Media Player From AppStore 754

Posted by timothy
from the don't-want-your-kind-'round-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple has removed VLC media player from the App Store, putting an end to the controversy on the license (in)compatibilities. Indeed, the iTunes page for VLC media player stopped working. VLC developer Rémi Denis-Courmont notes that he is 'not going to pity the owners of iDevices, and not even the MobileVLC developers who doubtless wasted a lot of their time. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone.'"
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Apple Pulls VLC Media Player From AppStore

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  • heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:19PM (#34799440) Homepage Journal

    a glimpse of the future - when the only way to get "apps" on any computer have to come from the company store.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:21PM (#34799460)
    Still, good to know I was right to not bother with the iOS platform. Its fine for some people and I dont dismiss their choice, but I want better developer support in my mobile devices.
  • by Senes (928228) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:21PM (#34799462)
    I was a Mac user until recently, and an Apple II user before I started with Macs. But lately, I just absolutely refuse to use anything with their brand on it because of this precise behavior.

    All I ask is that the device I pay for allow me to use it as I please instead of requiring the company's permission for each little chunk of code that executes. Give me just that and I'll be happy to buy.
  • Re:heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:22PM (#34799478)
    It used to be like that until the union movement broke it up.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joo90ZWrUkU

    I just wonder what it will take to stop it next time. People tend to tolerate that sort of behavior for quite a while.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:24PM (#34799494)
    I agree with you, however that is not what many people want. There are enough people who want to only be able to run software that has been vetted by someone to support Apple, Microsoft and everyone else who chooses to follow this behavior. Just accept that the iOS platform is not for you and move on.
  • by Tancred (3904) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:25PM (#34799514)

    Google is starting to eat Apple's lunch on mobile phones and will do so on the desktop/laptop/tablet if they try to exert such tight control over what their users do on their larger devices. They got away with it on the mobile phones because their interface was so far ahead of anyone else when they got started.

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:30PM (#34799566) Journal

    The shame is that the companies seem to feel that it's an all or nothing choice. Flash up a big red warning that states "Unsupported software" if you must, but give me the option to use the hardware freely.

  • by Goaway (82658) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:31PM (#34799576) Homepage

    You know the creators of VLC were calling for it to be removed, yes?

  • by idobi (820896) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:33PM (#34799594) Homepage
    It's suddenly Apple's fault that the developers squabble over GNU license?
  • by SpacePunk (17960) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:34PM (#34799600) Homepage

    You talk as if you own the hardware or something.

  • Re:heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by devilspgd (652955) <slashdot@devilspgd.net> on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:34PM (#34799604) Homepage

    1984 adapted to the modern era where instead of the gov't being in control, corporations control the gov't and us.

  • Won't be missed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:35PM (#34799612) Homepage

    VLC is a nice player on the desktop but there are far more superior solutions for the iPhone/iPad like AirVideo that isn't swamped in petty GPL politics. Plus the VLC interface on the iPhone was pretty bad. I'd be concerned if it was the only game in town. Otherwise, it's a non-story. This is VLC's loss.

    It reminds me of Mozilla's backwards, dogmatic horseshit about supporting "open source" and not getting on the h.264 bandwagon with the rest of the grownups, all the while enabling the extremely user-hostile and proprietary Flash. Now their share is slowly being chipped away by Chrome which suffers from none of the political idiocy that comes with some FOSS projects.

    Moving on.

  • Not "the creators", but rather "one of the creators" (or possibly "some of".)

    The organization VideoLAN officially promoted its use and listing, in spite of one vocal member's protests.

  • LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThisIsNotMyHandel (1013943) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:42PM (#34799730)
    This has nothing to do with Apple, rather with VLC. Not sure why people are hating on Apple for this.
  • by furball (2853) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:53PM (#34799888) Journal

    What are the Android phone manufacturers' profits like? What is Apple's profits like?

  • by Goaway (82658) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:56PM (#34799924) Homepage

    What the hell do Apple think they are anyway?

    People who respect software licenses when the license holders request software be removed from their store?

  • by Graff (532189) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:58PM (#34799960)

    I was a Mac user until recently, and an Apple II user before I started with Macs. But lately, I just absolutely refuse to use anything with their brand on it because of this precise behavior.

    What behavior? Apple clearly stated their terms for the use of the service. The VLC media player developers use a license which is not compatible with those terms. In fact, it was those developers who took the first action [videolan.org]:

    Today, a formal notification of copyright infringement was sent to Apple Inc. regarding distribution of the VLC media player for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

    Apple simply complied with the notification and took down the app in question. If the developers want their software in Apple's App Store then they should release it under a compatible license. I'm sure they can (and perhaps they have) also try to convince Apple to change the terms of the app store.

    Every store has to have rules or it'd be complete anarchy. Sometimes these rules are going to get in the way of someone's idea of how it should all work. This is one of those times. Obviously Apple's rules work for a lot of cases since there are tons of apps, both good and bad, in the app store. There's nothing evil going on here, it's just two entities enforcing the terms of use for their properties.

  • by argmanah (616458) * <{moc.oohay} {ta} {hanamgra}> on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:59PM (#34799968)

    Google is starting to eat Apple's lunch on mobile phones and will do so on the desktop/laptop/tablet if they try to exert such tight control over what their users do on their larger devices. They got away with it on the mobile phones because their interface was so far ahead of anyone else when they got started.

    Different business models. Android is aiming for it to be installed on everything, so the Android device market is not designed to be a high margin businesses. Since there are no iOS makers except iPhone, they charge what they want and people are forced to pay. Their net profits has exceeded that of the Android market this past year despite a smaller market share. As long as what Apple disciples are willing to pay allows them to net more money than an open system, there's no incentive for them to change business models.

    If Apple's market share shrinks to the point that serious handheld app developers no longer feel to make an iPhone version of their apps at all, maybe at that point Apple would be forced to switch, but until then, they're raking in the bucks.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:09PM (#34800102)

    But lately, I just absolutely refuse to use anything with their brand on it because of this precise behavior.

    You refuse to use Apple because when someone issues a copyright challenge against an App Apple actually listens and removes it from the store?

  • Re:heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hsmith (818216) on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:13PM (#34800148)
    The nice thing is, no corporation can force me to be part of them.

    Government on the other hand, I have no choice to be controlled.
  • Re:Won't be missed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:20PM (#34800232)

    It reminds me of Mozilla's backwards, dogmatic horseshit about supporting "open source" and not getting on the h.264 bandwagon with the rest of the grownups, all the while enabling the extremely user-hostile and proprietary Flash. Now their share is slowly being chipped away by Chrome which suffers from none of the political idiocy that comes with some FOSS projects.

    I'm pretty sure it takes an addon for me to get Flash working in my Firefox browser. Mozilla doesn't enable it. The use of H.264, however, would be embedded within Mozilla's code and would require Mozilla to support / license accordingly. I understand that these things are probably difficult to understand as you're still having trouble with what a "grownup" is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:27PM (#34800288)

    where law gives it to them, and government creates niches where it delegates its power to them. For example, insurance corporations under the new "health care reform" will be happy to serve as the arm of the government that mandates that you should buy their services.

    The solution is simple: do not give more power to the government, no matter how "progressive" the goals may seem to be, and you will not have the corporations controlling you. Vote down "progressive" candidates who promise wonders if only their were given power to coerce and "redistribute".

    Recall that copyright monopoly grants, which became the primary tool for corporate control of information these days, had started with a grant of power to the government to promote "progress" of "useful arts" for the "public good". In reality it got the corporations as much control as they could technologically get.
         

  • Re:heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runefox (905204) on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:30PM (#34800316) Homepage

    This is pretty wrong. I know it's pretty trollish, but I feel compelled to respond.

    computers that can last longer and be cheaper

    Trend is actually to computers that are cheaper and more disposable. Once upon a time more companies were trying to release more reliable machines, but the costs were high - Enter Dell, eMachines, Acer and Gateway (the latter three now one and the same), and their business models of inexpensive PC's that aren't necessarily solid broke the market entirely. Computers are becoming disposable, much in the same way mobile phones are.

    Used computer market is now becoming HUGE....because no one can afford to retail prices.

    Retail prices on PC's have been plummeting for a long time now, and the used computer market is inflating due to the above point: Computers are becoming disposable, and there are even cases where people will toss a computer because of something like a spyware or virus infection.

    iPAD subscriptions have taken a complete nose dive of late as people realize how useless and costly the things are

    While I never understood the point behind the iPad, its impact on the market in general is undeniable, with Android tablets mimicking its design appearing left and right. Many emerging and future hybrid designs are coming out as iPad-style tablets proper, with a fully-equipped base station featuring a keyboard, mouse, ethernet/display ports, and so on. I know that our provincial government has become very interested in developments by Toshiba in this regard, and may be procuring them to replace laptops in the future.

    I want to address the most glaring part last:

    too late once open source is OUT into peoples hands its too late.
    YOU can't then take it away.

    Yeah you can. If, say, Apple decided they wanted to lock down their devices, they could first-off modify their EFI implementation to disable the loading of unsigned (by Apple) software as an operating system. That in itself would disable flavours of Linux from loading, and they could go further still by modifying their operating system to support installation of applications only via their App Store. The beautiful thing is that newer Apple products, both hardware and software, can use a different encryption key for their EFI-OS lockout. Or, they could utilize technology like this:

    There exists a real-world potential for such a thing to exist - Microsoft has for a long time been on-again off-again working on something formerly called Palladium, now called Next-Generation Secure Computing Base [wikipedia.org], which is an implementation of the concept of trusted computing. At the time when this was announced, many thought of this as perhaps being the death of Linux - One major use for this kind of technology is for DRM purposes, wherein only an approved application can access certain data, which could feasibly include the entire system. The hardware required for this kind of thing has been around for a while, and many machines since the AM2/LGA-775 sockets have Trusted Platform Module chips included. One of the more famous applications for this is with Bitlocker.

  • by Entropy2016 (751922) <entropy2016@yahoo . c om> on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:42PM (#34800412)

    You realize that VLC has a license and Apple was violating that license?
    Apple could have modified the agreement on the iStore, but instead, they chose to remove VLC.

    Apple is being dumb in order to retain control of a dying market. Apple is becoming like IBM was in the late '80s.

    I'm sorry, but it wasn't Apple who violated anything. It was Applidium who ported VLC code to an iPhone app.

    And Apple can't fix anything by modifying an agreement, as it's not their license that's in question, it's the GPL. They'd actually have to restructure how their content distribution system works.

  • by halowolf (692775) on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:43PM (#34800420)
    You mean a group of handset manufacturers outsold a single manufacturer of handsets.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:49PM (#34800460)

    The proper title should be "Nokia developer pulls VLC from AppStore".

    Rémi alone is to blame for this mess.

  • Re:Won't be missed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:58PM (#34800536)
    h.264 is going to blow up in everyone's face... you just wait. It's like a dormant cancer that will come alive once it's killed off the other codecs... then the patent holders will reach for YOUR wallet to pay for the "privilege" of using their "IP."

    I prefer a dodgy GPL'ed version than a proprietary bunch of nonsense that restricts my freedom to do what I want with what I paid for (my computer...) You can keep your "idiocy free" non-FOSS... I side with the "idiots" who are interested in freedom and choice.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday January 07, 2011 @10:07PM (#34800616) Journal
    Why not use Windows 7 and give them an account with limited rights. Rather hard to break it that way.
  • by Timmmm (636430) on Friday January 07, 2011 @10:24PM (#34800728)

    Yes but the reason for the licensing issues is that apple don't allow installing software that isn't from the app store.

  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Friday January 07, 2011 @11:02PM (#34800978)
    Do you realize the insanity of what you're saying -- in THIS context? You're whining that Apple has terms of service for its store, when the software in question was pulled by VLC's developers because publishing it didn't comply with THEIR terms (the GPL). So the people who caused this action -- that you're supporting -- are enforcing THEIR rules. Get it? The GPL lovers are hypocrites. They don't want to give people freedom. They simply want everyone else to be forced to make the same choices that THEY do.
  • by dave562 (969951) on Friday January 07, 2011 @11:07PM (#34801012) Journal

    He means that given the choice, the market decided that they preferred something other than Apple more than they preferred Apple.

  • Re:heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:09AM (#34801388)

    So, the summary conveniently "forgets" that the app was pulled *at the request of one of the VLC developers themselves* due to a licence compatibility issue.

    It's up to the *distributor* (ie Apple) to make sure that their license terms don't break the GPL. That's the price for the privilege of distributing the software. Just because they're a big company doesn't absolve them from following the rules.

  • Re:heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @01:05AM (#34801708)
    Next thing, they will collect our data and sell it, and they will also drive by our houses and take photos, videos, and even record wifi network data! We must stop Apple before they get that far!!!
  • Re:heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @01:16AM (#34801748)

    Free software is compatible with the AppStore. Heck, the App Store is even compatible with Open Source. This is all just the result of one whiny developer that decided he hated iOS and decided to make it his personal project to toss a low punch at both, iOS owners and MobileVLC developers by arguing over terms of use.

    Rémi Denis-Courmont says he has no sympathy for no one affected by this. But what can you expect from a Nokia software engineer. [remlab.net] Objectivity is the last thing I would expect from someone in such a position. I would like to know what is the opinion of the rest of the VLC development team.

  • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @01:21AM (#34801768)

    What are the Android phone manufacturers' profits like? What is Apple's profits like?

    Or to rephrase it.. How much easier is it to part an iFanboy from their money at an abnormally high markup?

  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @01:35AM (#34801834) Homepage

    If you have a lower margin per phone but sell a lot more you will overwhelm the market with your product so the profit is in money counted maybe even lower but when it comes to market share you can kick out the other player into being a fringe player.

    And when consumers discovers that there are devices that can do more than what their iPhone does - and maybe even better - then they will move. People changes phones almost at the same rate as they change their underwear.

  • Re:heh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @02:49AM (#34802086) Homepage

    Nope.
    1984 was just another piece of the Think Different campaign of posters staring left-wing ideologues to ingratiate Apple to teachers unions, artists, college-town hipsters, and trustafarians.

    Mod me down, but you know I am right.

    It was a brilliant marketing move that is still paying off today.

  • by EMN13 (11493) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @07:05AM (#34802932) Homepage

    Apple, not (merely) Applidium violated the license. They're distributing the software, after all. Even with the most positive spin possible you could merely argue they're just a bulk-distributor and not liable as long as they honor take-downs, but even that argument is dubious: after all, they manually approve apps, so it's hard to argue they don't control what "users" (such as Applidium) post.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @07:40AM (#34803072)

    The GPL is to blame. It's fundamentally incompatible with the app store's terms of service. The app store terms forbid you from sharing apps you downloaded from it, even if they are free. The GPL does not recognize pointing people to a free download on the app store as the re-distribution that it wants to enforce to be possible.

    No, the GPL isn't to blame at all. What is to blame is a developer who has apparently developed a hatred against Apple (which may be related to his employer being Nokia), making legal threats, and claiming that his copyright is infringed.

    Apple makes very, very clear that any GPL software in the app store is distributed under the GPL license, and that any legal relationship is between the developers submitting the software and the end user receiving the software. Apple just provides a service to allow users to download software. That service has limitations. And it isn't easy for the end user to distribute further, but it is possible, and Apple doesn't disallow it.

    However, the spirit of the GPL software is that anybody should be able to get the source code, adapt it, and use the modified software. Here we have a developer who actively prevents people from doing just that. You can argue all you want about app store rules and walled gardens and so on, but this guy clearly does not want people to have the freedom to modify software that he participated in developing and to make it work on the device that they want it to work on.

    Imagine Stallman had bought an iPhone.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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