[PD] GPL vs. iPhone Appstore WAS: pd on ipad with externals

Jonathan Wilkes jancsika at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 12 00:20:02 CEST 2010

--- On Tue, 8/10/10, Hans-Christoph Steiner <hans at at.or.at> wrote:

> From: Hans-Christoph Steiner <hans at at.or.at>
> Subject: GPL vs. iPhone Appstore WAS: pd on ipad with externals
> To: "Jonathan Wilkes" <jancsika at yahoo.com>
> Cc: pd-list at iem.at, "Frank Barknecht" <fbar at footils.org>
> Date: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 6:39 PM
> On Aug 10, 2010, at 12:25 PM, Jonathan Wilkes wrote:
> > 
> > --- On Tue, 8/10/10, Frank Barknecht <fbar at footils.org>
> wrote:
> > 
> >> From: Frank Barknecht <fbar at footils.org>
> >> Subject: Re: [PD] pd on ipad with externals
> >> To: pd-list at iem.at
> >> Date: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 12:53 PM
> >> Hi,
> >> 
> >> On Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 11:07:55AM +0100, João
> Pais
> >> wrote:
> >>> but to make patches run, they have to be
> programmed in
> >> vanilla,
> >>> right? and it's not possible to do reatime
> control
> >> like input
> >>> numbers, or anything more than the touchpad
> control?
> >>> 
> >>> or is it possible to use pd-ext in the iphone
> or ipod
> >> maxi?
> >> 
> >> As Cyrille wrote, it's mostly a political issue:
> AppStore
> >> apps are
> >> tied to the device and officially only available
> through
> >> the AppStore.
> >> This is some kind of DRM and many people don't
> consider it
> >> compatible
> >> with the GPL, at least not with the latest
> version.
> > 
> > More specifically, the FSF considers the GPL
> incompatible with the
> > ToS for the Itunes and App store:
> > 
> > http://www.fsf.org/news/blogs/licensing/more-about-the-app-store-gpl-enforcement
> > 
> >> 
> >> To play it safe, the Pd in RjDj only contains the
> BSD parts
> >> of Pd, no
> >> [expr] etc. Some GPL stuff is included, like the
> rj
> >> library, but that's
> >> all written by Reality Jockey.
> > 
> > What does authorship have to do with whether the
> Appstore ToS conflicts
> > with the GPL?
> The GPL is a license to use copyrighted material that you
> otherwise would not have any legal right to use.

That's not the greatest definition I've ever heard (think of fair use, 
for example).  But if you're trying to saying the GPL gives users 
freedoms, where historically licensing agreements were used to 
*restrict* distribution to a particular publisher, then yes.

> If
> the author of GPL software posts their software to the
> appstore, it could be read as a implied statement that the
> author is not going to enforce all aspects of the GPL. 
> An explicit statement to that effect would be better.

I don't know about the legal issues involved in this, but I would think 
if you're going to use the GPL and *not* enforce it, you'd do better 
to cover yourself by refraining from saying anything explicitly about 
what you will or will not enforce.

Morally, I'd be suspicious of using any software that holds this 
caveat because as far as I can see it diminishes the importance of at 
least one (if not all) of the four freedoms outlined in the GPL. 
(Because if *everyone* explicitly stated their intention not to enforce, 
GPL would carry little weight.)

If you don't want to enforce those four freedoms, use the three-clause 
BSD license.

> If you don't own the copyright, then that is not your
> decision to make.

That wasn't what my question was about.

My question was if [expr] is left out in order to "play it safe," then 
why is other GPL software included, and what is the relevance that 
Reality Jockey is the author of that GPL software? But from Frank's 
recent post it's obvious he did a lot of thinking about this and planned 
things carefully with regard to distributing the GPL stuff, so that 
answered my question.

However, if the GPL stuff is being distributed over the appstore as 
well, isn't there still the problem that the user is agreeing both to the
GPL terms AND Apple's ToS (which conflict according to the FSF)?  
It's a bit comical in this case, since Apple's "usage rules" are 
applying to patches that double as the source code, but maybe there are 
other issues at play.


> .hc
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Programs should be written for people to read, and only
> incidentally for machines to execute.
>  - from Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs


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