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Re: [GNUnet-developers] iOS/non-free platforms

From: Ed Baskerville
Subject: Re: [GNUnet-developers] iOS/non-free platforms
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 01:09:21 -0700

On 07/09/2015 01:40 AM, hellekin wrote:
> On 07/08/2015 08:26 PM, Ed Baskerville wrote:
>>> Now would be a good time to ask: GNUnet developers, would you ever be
>>> willing to have GNUnet on the iOS App Store, sacrificing a bit of GPL
>>> purity for the sake of wider deployment?
> *** It would be clearer to ask: GNUnet developers, would you like to
> compromise the privacy of your users by default when they connect to
> friends willing to run GNUnet on iOS?

To be clear, this is not an isomorphic rephrasing of the question I asked. 
Compromised privacy is not the reason that Christian's GNUnet code can't go on 
the App Store. Restricted redistribution of downloaded binaries is the reason, 
because that's a GPL violation.

If compromised privacy--via malicious tampering by Apple, governments, 
etc.--were the most important thing, GNUnet wouldn't be able to run on Windows 
or OS X either. But there's nothing in the GPL that stops you from producing 
and distributing freely distributable binaries for those (potentially 
backdoored) platforms--or from building GNUnet for iOS, putting it on your own 
device, and not distributing it. Furthermore, the GNUnet protocols can be 
reimplemented under a different license by someone else, and you're left with 
the same problem.

On Jul 9, 2015, at 2:25 AM, Christian Grothoff <address@hidden> wrote:

> Ed, this will not happen. We cannot let a company destroy the free
> software commons for some short-sighted short-term gain. My
> contributions to GNUnet are and will remain GPLv3+, you won't convince
> me otherwise, so the discussion can end here. If you care so much about
> iOS, you should discuss this with Apple, they'll be easier to convince ;-).

Good to know where we both stand. I don't like DRM'd binaries either, but, 
yeah, I am personally willing to compromise on that front if it speeds up 
progress on building a better infrastructure for networking, something I think 
is much more quickly doable than converting everyone to a fully free stack. 
That leaves uncertainty in the non-free parts of the system, but you have to 
assume those will be present even if only in the form of malicious peers. I 
don't think dual licensing some otherwise GPL'd software on the iOS App Store 
will determine the long game of whether the world converges to full 
hardware/software freedom. And if the GNUnet protocols become a popular network 
fabric anytime soon, somebody's going to implement them on iOS even if you 
won't. I like the GPL because it's a clever legal tool for promoting important 
values, but I don't consider it axiomatically correct in all situations and all 

But I do really admire this project, its driving values and goals, and what I 
understand of the technical approach--and I look forward to learning more. And 
even if I probably can't be of much help, I wish you all well in pushing it 


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