Obligations vs. Restrictions: The GPL, VLC, and Apple

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has followed up on the news that VLC may be pulled from Apple’s App Store. The title of his article is misleading and should be noted. It says:

GPLv2 blocks VLC from Apple’s App Store

but it should read something like:

Apple blocks VLC from their App Store

The blame here could be misconstrued by readers and thus, misplaced. There is nothing in the GPL that restricts software from being distributed through Apple’s (or anyone’s) app store. If Apple doesn’t want to accept the obligations of the GPL, then they’re the one’s responsible. Apple isn’t just blocking VLC, they’re blocking copyleft altogether.

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3 Responses to “Obligations vs. Restrictions: The GPL, VLC, and Apple”

  1. Tom Hoffman Says:

    On the other hand, Debian doesn’t put Apple’s commercially licensed software in their repositories either.

  2. petrock Says:

    Putting aside technical limitations, if I run Debian I’m free to put anything I want on it. If I run iOS on an iPhone…

    Obligation versus restriction.

    (Note to readers: Tom means “proprietary” when he says “commercial”)

  3. Klaus Says:

    Not only are the users free to put what they want on Debian but distributors too. You can open your own store and accept/distribute all the commercial software you want with Debian.

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