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Media (Apple) Media Open Source Apple

Open Source VLC Media Player Coming To iPad 232

Stoobalou writes "The people behind VLC, quite probably the most useful media player available right now, have submitted an iPod version to the Apple software police. VLC — which is rightfully famous for having a go at playing just about any kind of audio or video file you care to throw at it — should appear some time next week, if it makes it through the often unfathomable approval process implemented by Apple. The Open Source Video Lan Client has been tweaked to run on the iPod by software developer Applidium."
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Open Source VLC Media Player Coming To iPad

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  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wumpus ( 9548 ) <IAmWumpusNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:04PM (#33525962)

    You can release the source code. You just can't distribute the binary, since you can't satisfy the conditions of the GPL and of the statically linked platform libraries.

    Although there is an exception in the GPL to allow linking to libraries that are part of the OS, or are normally distributed with it. Things like the standard C runtime library fall under that. Maybe this applies here.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:10PM (#33526034) Homepage Journal

    To add to what others have already mentioned, I'll point out that VLC is very specifically GPLv2, not GPLv3. Version 2 did not have the "anti TiVoization" stuff that version 3 has. The restrictions on what you can do really are different.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:13PM (#33526076)

    there's a divx/xvid player already on the store. it's shit, but it was approved

    http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/id384098375?mt=8 [apple.com]

  • You missed something (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:14PM (#33526088)

    The iPad is just a large iPhone that can't make calls. It is not a general purpose computer. It runs the same general kind of CPU architecture as the iPhone (ARM) and uses the same OS. So it is a cut down, embedded type of device. Apps have to come from the Apple Store and so on.

  • Re:Quicktime? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:19PM (#33526162) Homepage

    The answer to your offtopic question is that they include one browser from each vendor, and firefox is the offering they include form the Mozilla Foundation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:23PM (#33526234)


  • Re:Quicktime? (Score:3, Informative)

    by samkass ( 174571 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:23PM (#33526236) Homepage Journal

    Now that Apple publishes their app acceptance criteria, we can look this one up:

    9.1 Apps that do not use the MediaPlayer framework to access media in the Music Library will be rejected

    Oh well.

  • Re:Quicktime? (Score:2, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:28PM (#33526308) Journal

    But seamonkey is no longer part of Mozilla. They are a separate company called SeaMonkey Council, and should be allowed to submit their own product to the EU. ----- And if the argument is: "FF and SM use the same mozilla base," that is not valid either. There are two Webkit browsers on the EU ballot.

    Back to topic:

    I don't expect Apple to reject VLC. If they do it will make them look like hypocrites.


  • by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:29PM (#33526332) Homepage Journal

    For a start: user interface guidelines (which really can make the difference between app approval and rejection), and also OS infrastructure and frameworks (the iPad can support popups/overlays that the iPhone and iPod Touch can't -- Apple added those API calls to the iPad only, because the iPad display is large enough for that sort of thing to make sense).

    For another: the iPad can actually act as a USB host (though you need a physical adapter to do it, the circuitry is in there), letting you use stuff like USB keyboards (and a USB bar code scanner -- I've used one myself), and no other iOS device has the necessary hardware at this time.

    It's popular to say "it's just a big iPod Touch", and there are elements of truth to that, but it's not really completely accurate.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:37PM (#33526428)

    You are wrong. I heard that was true in the beginning, but not for a long time. There was a discussion about GPL on the iPhone here on slashdot before, search for "xpilot", and the consensus was that there are no problems with releasing a GPL app for it. Anyway xpilot is on the Appstore, is GPL and the source code is available.
    Applidium doesn't have to release the source before they distribute the app, so you can get worked up about the little details once that happens. I assume that there is going to be the usual round of complaints about minor things that always happens here when a GPL app is released on a controlled platform. See xpilot, iD games (with DosBox) on Steam, etc.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:38PM (#33526446)
    backwards? More like 100% wrong. Apple has no such requirements. If you own the source code, you can do whatever you want with it, including licensing it under multiple licenses. The individual who ported GNU Go to the iPhone did not own the source code and the FSF has an opinion on what exactly can (and can't) be done with their source code.
  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:39PM (#33526460) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure you've read the developer agreement closely enough. You're allowed to do open source, explicitly. Download the latest version of the agreement right now, and look at section 3.3.20. Right there it says essentially "using FOSS is completely okay, as long as you can follow all the rules in this document and all the rules in the applicable FOSS license at the same time".

    The FSF certainly says that the app store is incompatible with the GPL. They also say people should never use GPLv2, just GPLv3. The GPLv3 has an anti-TiVoization clause. Heck, read it in the FSF's own words right here:

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/rms-why-gplv3.html [gnu.org]

    Focus on the sixth paragraph. That makes the GPLv3 incompatible with the App Store (or with appliances like the TiVo) in ways that simply do not apply to the GPLv2.

    (I researched this a bunch while kicking around the idea of taking the last version of Emacs that was under GPLv2 instead of GPLv3 and porting that to the iPad. I ultimately decided against it, but not for reasons of license compatibility.)

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@@@worf...net> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:45PM (#33526540)

    OK. Maybe I've said this a little bit backwards. To put your app in the app store, you have to agree not to release your source code. That's not GPL violation, but iTunes Developer Agreement violation. As far as I know, Applidium haven't actually released the source code for this modification under GPL yet. Apple might be violating the GPL if they distributed it without providing the source code themselves, to. Apple rejected Gnu GO likely for this reason, and the FSF also say that Apple's app store is incompatible with the GPL, though I don't remember why.

    No, open-source apps have been in the App Store for a long while now. I think it was a yeaf after the App Store opened up that Apple relaxed the policies regarding licensing. Thus, open source apps are allowed, provided:

    1) You are allowed to distribute it
    2) You follow all the requirements of the original license
    3) You do not use it in any way that would force Apple's software to be open-sourced.

    Most of the open-source stuff I see is that there's a link in the app description to the web site of the developer, and there is the source code for the app. In a more ideal world, there would be a way for the tools to bundle in the source code into the IPA file, so downloading the app downloads the source code as well. (An IPA file is just a regular ZIP file). Knowing the format, iTunes can actually strip out the source code so you're not stuck transfering useless stuff to your device.

    GNU Go was a different problem. Someone ported it to iOS, but didn't release source. FSF alerted Apple to the license violation, and Apple removed the app for violating the license and developer agreement.

    The App Store is a tricky place. The FSF holds the position it's GPL incompatible because it's Apple that's distributing the software, not the developer. Apple is maintaining their position on the App Store is it's a marketplace, i.e., a store, and while it's facilitating transactions between customer and developer, and it's hosting the content on behalf of the developer. (The difference is subtle - say you provide a binary of a GPL program. You upload the binary onto your webhost. Is your webhost now distributing the binary (which means they need to do the distribution of source and 3 year requirement), or just hosting hte binary (and you the developer are responsible for pointing to the source).

  • Re:Quicktime? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:58PM (#33526696)

    VLC can *display* Flash videos, it can't *run* Flash videos. That's still handled by Adobe software, much in the same way that Media Player Classic (the original, anyhow) doesn't decode XviD videos; it extracts the video data from the file, passes it on to the codec, lets the codec decode it, and then displays the result.

  • Re:Quicktime? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:03PM (#33526752)

    iTunes allows you to copy arbitrary data to your iDevice for a specific application. I believe this is how some eBook readers get their content from PCs.

    Besides, this doesn't really matter anyhow; the primary reason to use VLC is to play media that the existing iPod software won't play. If the iPod software won't play it, then iTunes won't let you upload it to the iDevice in the first place.

    In other words, I couldn't put an MKV file in my media library even if Apple didn't have this restriction, for technical reasons.

    Anyhow, the MediaPlayer framework lets you pass in raw data; there's no particular reason why VLC couldn't pass an h.264 video stream extracted from an MKV file to the MediaPlayer framework. The only issue would be playing content that doesn't adhere to the standards supported by the hardware.

  • Re:Quicktime? (Score:3, Informative)

    by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:53PM (#33527320) Homepage

    The rejected version had a BASIC interpreter. You could type in code and run it in-app. That's what Apple didn't like.

  • Re:More Bias Please (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:30PM (#33527724)

    It's not the exact same thing because an Android device isn't locked down the way an iWhatever is. Your options with an Android device aren't limited solely to jailbreak or official app store.

    People do bitch about Google spying on them, so it's not like the company gets a free pass.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:5, Informative)

    by coolsnowmen ( 695297 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:33PM (#33527772)

    I have a problem, I answer rhetorical questions even though I know they are.
    My abacus is can represent 13 decimal digits. The binary number required to do that is 44 bits. So my abacus is can store about 5 1/2 bytes.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:54PM (#33529544)

    Here you go [apple.com] the way to code, run whatever you want on your iDevice. A lot of companies are doing just that, rolling their own applications and distributing it to their devices. Give the groupthink a rest and lay off the propaganda. You may not like this product, and that's ok, but it's no reason to regurgitate falsehoods.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:2, Informative)

    by WNight ( 23683 ) on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:11PM (#33537430) Homepage

    You're just being deliberately confrontational here. When you go in with the attitude, "hey, fuck you, I'll do whatever the hell I want", you're not starting off with a very cooperative attitude is all I'm saying. It's Apple's store, if you're asking them to sell your product, walking in with your middle finger in the air isn't the most rational way of getting things off the ground.

    No, you're just assuming that anyone not doing exactly what Apple wants is confrontational - not perhaps that they were doing their own thing and now Apple is trying to force THEM to change.

    Open source, by definition, is about the user having the source, and excepting the Apple/Tivo bastardization, about the user about able to build that source to do whatever they want.

    If the manufacturer is trying to tell you how the open source must be configured they clearly don't understand the open part of open source.

    GPL != open source, it's just one license. Apple is very open source compatible. The core of their OS is open source. WebKit, and literally dozens of other things are open source at Apple.

    Yeah, Apple is VERY open source. They'll use whatever is out there, but they'll tivoize your device to make sure you can't. Very open of them.

    And Apple's main concession to allowing open source is not rejecting projects whose source is open. They don't have to do anything to support the BSDL, for example, so it's a gimmie. The only ones they'd have to be compatible with are the GPL, for example, and there they are only through a loophole. They certainly aren't GPLv3 compatible.

    The GPL, for all its benefits, is notoriously non-compatible. It's not even compatible with other open source licenses. You can't say that Apple isn't compatible with open source just because it's not compatible with the GPL (an unclear statement itself, but let's go ahead and assume it for the moment). BSD isn't compatible with the GPL. In fact, very few open source licenses are compatible with the GPL.

    OMG, it's the license's fault. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize. We'll just go get a license that doesn't try to guarantee user freedom then. Sorry for all the fuss, Guv.

    BSD isn't compatible with the GPL.

    Let's come back to that for a sec though... the new (non-attribution) BSDL is actually totally compatible with the GPL. One of the many fine things you can do with BSDL code is re-license it under the shiny new AGPLv3.

    I don't know what you're talking about here. Appidium is discussing it right now. But going in with a "fuck you, I'll do what I want" attitude, while your right, isn't starting things off on the right foot.

    No, it's fake cooperation, because in a real cooperative process you don't need permission to build open source software.

    And I'm not sure how you're hearing "I'm going to do the UI like this" as "FUCK YOU MOM! FUCK YOU DAD! I'M TAKING THE CAR!". It's not like you're mandating they adopt a new UI or anything.

    It's simply that it's open source. In any sane world the decision is yours. Waiting for Apple to authorize your choices in the software you build for yourself and to distribute to friends is servile. If they were your employer you'd do this. Why otherwise?

    Why can't they cooperate without air quotes?

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson