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Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced

From: Pedro Lopez-Cabanillas
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2011 20:08:36 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.13.5 (Linux/; KDE/4.4.4; i686; ; )

On Wednesday 07 September 2011, Matt Giuca wrote:
> http://lwn.net/Articles/396535/
> In this situation, it was the Wesnoth team themselves that published
> the game in the App Store (for a fee as well). Apparently the core
> team were okay with it, but one of the contributors, Rusty Russell,
> disagreed and raised a stink.
> He has a point. What good is a license if some (but not all) of the
> team can decide to violate it later on?

The game was released under the GPL. I don't see a license violation committed 
by the release team.

> I will assume
> we're dealing with the more blurry issue of people who release the
> modifications' source code, but which end users technically can't make
> use of (because the only way to install the software is to get the
> unmodified version from Apple).

You are assuming too much here. We don't know under which license Rouet 
Production is going to release his product in October.

> In that case, I would still say it is a violation of the *spirit* of
> the LGPL because it violates this nice symmetry of the FS developers
> saying to the downstream developers (Slide Control, for example), "You
> can make modifications to this software however you like, but when you
> pass it on, you must extend the same freedom to your users."

And how do you know that they are modifying FS, and not respecting the license 

> I can't say whether it violates the letter of the LGPL (v2), since I'm
> not a lawyer. But my reading of it (as I went into detail on here
> http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/fluid-dev/2010-09/msg00028.html)

Maybe you know much more than I, then. Is Paul Brossier, the guy that posted 
that question, working for Rouet Production? Are them related somehow?

> , is
> that it's probably a violation of both Section 6 and 10. Section 6
> says that you must "Accompany the work with ... the complete
> machine-readable "work that uses the Library", as object code and/or
> source code, so that the user can modify the Library and then relink
> to produce a modified executable containing the modified Library" --
> aside from requiring relinking, this also has the problem that most
> users (those without an Apple developer license) will not have the
> ability to produce a modified executable, so you cannot satisfy this
> clause. 

You need a compiler and some other tools to produce an executable in any 
platform. To compile FluidSynth for  Linux you need to accept a license of the 
GCC compiler as well, which is also the official iOS and Mac OSX compiler, 
distributed by Apple under the GPL, of course. You can download the Xcode 
package from Apple (containing GCC and other tools) to build Mac and iOS 
applications, and it doesn't cost money. Note that "gratis" is not required by 
the GPL, anyway.

> Section 10 says that "You may not impose any further
> restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted
> herein," and the App Store does impose additional restrictions on the
> use of the software.

And _this_is_the_real_problem_ with Apple's App Store. By distributing a GPL 
program with additional restrictions, they are violating the GPL. Not the 
program authors, or the release team, but Apple. 

When the VLC developers (http://www.videolan.org) protested against Apple 
because the distribution of VLC in the App Store was imposing restrictions on 
top of the GPL, the reaction from Apple was to pull VLC from the store [1], 
because Apple don't want to respect the rights given by the GPL to their 
customers, and of course they don't want to face a copyright lawsuit either. 
The same happened with GNU Go [2].

So, my opinion is that if you publish a GPL program in the Apple Store, you may 
be losing your time because Apple will remove your product from the store as 
soon as anybody raises his voice. There are other distribution channels for Mac 
and iOS, anyway.

And of course any product including FluidSynth, released for iOS or any other 
platform, must respect the LGPL license of FluidSynth, choosing a compatible 
license [3].



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