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

From: Peter Hanappe
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 20:22:34 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110831 Lightning/1.0b2 Thunderbird/3.1.13

Hello FluidSynth mailing list

It's been a very long time I've posted here (in fact I was no longer
registered to the mailing list)! It's nice to see that the FluidSynth
community is still alive and well and I'm sorry that I haven't been as
active in this community as I would have liked (work, family, ...).

(For those who see my name for the first time, I initiated the
FluidSynth project, and, despite all the code changes over the years,
I believe I'm still one of the main code contributors.)

Here is my opinion on the licensing of FluidSynth and creating
FluidSynth-based applications for "distribution-challenged platforms".

In summary:

1) The LGPL is fine.

2) The battle for the tight control of software distribution channels
is not fine.

3) Developers that use FluidSynth for iOS Apps is fine for me, as long
as they respect their end of the LGPL. They must carry the risk that
Apple removes the App from its online store.

I do not have any objection to developers who make an iOS App that uses
FluidSynth and who respect the LGPL: they release modified code and the
linkable object files of their iOS App.

I will not complain to Apple about the fact their App uses
LGPL'ed code. Why would I? These developers are doing the right thing.
Besides, FluidSynth can only gain by being in the App store.

It is true that recompiling the App for Apple's iOS is complicated,
which makes the "freedom to help your neighbour" very small indeed.
Blame Apple, not the LGPL, and buy another device.

But, because it is hard to recompile/redistribute Apps, should we
therefore not allow FluidSynth-based Apps in the store? That seems to
me like artificially limiting choice. Not my cake. I'll leave that to

If Apple rejects (L)GPL based software, too bad for them
and for their customers. The unfortunate side is that App developers
using FluidSynth risk wasting their time if Apple turns on them. That
is not my problem, however.

Does that mean that we should opt for a less "restrictive" license?
Personally, I support Free Software and I started FluidSynth in the
Free Software spirit. I would therefore regret to see the license of
the project change. I see no reason why we should bend to Apple's terms
simply because they are popular these days.

My suggestion:

We keep the LGPL and we clearly state in the FAQ that:
1) Modified code must be made available (LGPL),
2) For statically-linked, closed applications, linkable object files
have to be provided, so that people can rebuild the application (LGPL),
3) I won't complain to Apple,
4) Apple's wrath is their problem,
5) They should not make seem as if they wrote FluidSynth...

This is a debate with many subtleties and I may have missed a few.
I'll continue to follow this discussion.


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