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

From: Matt Giuca
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 17:06:46 +1000

> A BSD license is not equivalent to a liberal interpretation of the LGPL, that
> is: allowing the distribution of FluidSynth and derived works by any channel,
> including the App Store, with the conditions (required by the LGPL, not by the
> BSD license) that 1) when the source code is modified, it must be available
> and 2) the FluidSynth library can be updated, modified, recompiled and used to
> rebuild the executable.

It is the "rebuild the executable" part that bothers me. It seems to
me that if Party A (e.g., FluidSynth) releases code under the LGPL,
then Party B (e.g., Rouet Productions) takes that code and releases
source + binary signed by Apple for the App Store, then Party C (e.g.,
ordinary iPhone user) receives a copy of the binary signed by Apple,
party C is unable to "rebuild the executable." Yes, Party C can use
the source to build themselves an AdHoc (limited to 100 copies)
executable. Yes, Party C can build an executable that works on Cydia
(jail-broken iPhones). But the argument I made in detail above is that
that is not the same thing as the freedom to rebuild the executable --
"the executable" in question being one that is signed by Apple and
able to be distributed to mass (more than 100) users on non-jailbroken
iPhones. The executables that Party C is able to build are provably
less usable than the executable originally distributed by Party B.
Therefore, Party B (or Apple, an accessory in the building of the
original executable) is not providing freedom 3 (or freedom 2 for that

> You clearly don't have the right to do anything you want with FluidSynth, but
> you avoid a discriminatory ban for a whole community, which is not the spirit
> of free software either. On the contrary: that is against freedom 0.

You keep citing freedom 0 which is "The freedom to run the program,
for any purpose." I don't see how this discussion has any bearing on
freedom 0. Nobody is stopping you from taking the FluidSynth source,
using the Apple developer tools to construct an "AdHoc" binary and
putting it onto your private iPhone or the iPhones within your
company, very much like nobody is stopping you from making private
modifications to FluidSynth which you don't release at all. So you
absolutely have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose. What
is in question here is whether it is legal for Apple to distribute
those signed binaries which nobody else in the world has a chance of
reproducing from the source. That is a question of whether Party B
and/or Apple are providing freedoms 2 and 3.

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