[vlc-devel] FSF position on GPLv2 & current App Store terms
vlc07 at sfina.com
Wed Nov 3 13:22:40 CET 2010
hey guys (no one targeted particularly),
Why don't you all wait for Brett to catch up and give an answer here, instead
of bickering internally based on (mis)interpretation?
You all want the best for VLC, you are all good, you are just misunderstanding
each other at the moment. In the heat of the moment we tend to make
statements that we may regret later on.
I find good things in the arguments of every single one of you, but most of you
do a good job at hiding them under nasty statements. And I think it is too
early for many of these things.
Focus on the ball: a discussion with Brett of the FSF has been initiated.
It's Q&A time with regard to that. Stick to it until you reach a *common*
understanding of whether the App Store infringes on the VLC license.
After you are all on the same page regarding the potential infringement, start
talking solution. In talking solution, don't look back. Don't look at what
happened and who did what. Look forward. Set yourself the goal of re-
uniting, lay out the possible alternatives, discuss their merits without
accusing anybody of anything. Actually brain-storm alternatives, it is likely
that there are many more than you can imagine at the moment. Determine the
most desirable alternative and go with it.
I'm reading the posts to this subject that arrived overnight. I'm on the
East-Coast. I guess Brett is on the West-Coast, so he has another 2-3 hours
just to wake up and another 1-2 hours to get to his office.
This is not an overnight process. Brace for long discussions and an even
longer healing process. But it is worth it. At the end of the process VLC
will come out stronger and better, I am sure. And each and every one of you
Now a few personal opinions:
1. BSD/Public domain would be an ideal world. But the ideal world does not
exist. This is why I am happy that there is a healthy political tension
between proprietary and copyleft and I am thankful to the FSF for its
existence and its role in the software-political landscape. To imagine how
the world would be with only BSD/PD, think of that: much of what is under the
trunk of OSX or iOS is BSD-derived. Apple does give *some* things back, but
it does so in a way to retain strategic control. If you're printing on Linux,
you're likely using Apple BSD licensed software. Other companies go even
further and manage (or think to manage) to retain strategic control while
GPLing their software. The dual-licensing model, as they call it in business.
Dual-licensing can also be used for good - think of it when looking at
alternatives how to move forward in the future.
2. App Stores of all sorts and on all platforms are a nuisance for me. But
this is an inevitable development and let's face it: the repositories of
distributions such as Debian and Red Hat are the precursors of "app stores".
Now that business has found a way to monetize such stores, they won't go away.
The Free vs. Proprietary debate is just moving to another stage. VLC will
need a "stores strategy" (not only for Apple - Amazon is launching; many
mobile operators have plans; I predict that we'll see Wal*Mart, Carrfour,
McDonalds and Starbucks all going into the arena at some point or another).
3. Last but not least: VLC is what it is and got where it got because of its
great developers (thank you guys) and the underlying community contract -
legal and moral values that go beyond what can be described in a boring
licensing text. Think of this, and what you have in common, rather than on
what generates conflicts at the moment. Be inspired and you'll stay at the
Be patient. Let Brett get back to answer you, and keep the focus on answering
the question: does the App Store breach on the GPLv2?
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