linux at thehobsons
Apr 18, 2012, 12:01 PM
Post #72 of 96
Craig Treleaven wrote:
Re: OT Apple vs GPL (Was: THIS IS A NON-COMMERCIAL MAILING LIST)
[In reply to]
>What "cripplware"? Apps are digitally signed for security in the
>Mac App Store.
Yes, that's what they tell you it's for - but frankly that's only the
official line Apple use to make people "want" to be handcuffed. The
real reason is simple - if they don't make it a closed system, they
can't control it fully. Not having full control means they can't
exclude competition* and make as much money**. Sorry if I sound like
Richard Stallman, but his description of "Digital Handcuffs" is very
* Certain areas are forbidden - advertising not using the Apple
supplied processes (for which Apple get a cut of the advertising
take) is just one of them. Others include the ability to download and
run anything (eg software to run under a games console emulator), or
the ability to take money other than going through Apple.
** In-app purchases are forbidden, as is the use of purchases made
elsewhere (eg the vendors web site), as is even mentioning in-app
that alternative purchasing methods are available - and finally,
anything you do sell, you cannot charge less elsewhere (which I
thought was illegal in the UK, but hey, this is Apple after all).
This isn't just about the money - it's also about separating end
users from the vendors. So take for example the case of a newspaper
using advertising to subsidise the content. When the end user
subscribes to their service in-app, it now goes through Apple who
know about the customer (and can now target the advertising at them,
as well as having taken their cut), but the paper no longer even
knows who the customer is (meaning that while they can still
advertise, they cannot target it and so the advertising is less
valuable). Whatever you think about such techniques, it's hard to see
this as anything but bad for both the end user and the vendor.
Personally it affects me as certain programs I'd like to use are
barred from Apple's official store - so I've had to jailbreak the
device to get it to do what I want to do with it. Network diagnostics
tools for work if you really want to know.
So yes, I think crippleware is a valid description of something which
is not optional and is designed primarily to prevent end users making
free choices as to how they use their purchased equipment.
>IANAL so I won't try to decipher whether Apples Terms of Service
>conflict with GPL.
It does, fundamentally. If you distribute a binary of a GPLed work,
you are *required* to also make available the source that can be used
to make that binary. Since Apple add an extra layer to the binary
(the encryption/signing) which cannot be replicated without the
algorithm and private key(s) used by Apple, then that cannot be
complied with while also complying with Apple's policies.
Also, you are expressly forbidden from imposing any restrictions on
what the recipient may do with the program/whatever other than those
limitations imposed by the GPL (the bits to prevent someone taking
your program and claiming it as theirs, or trying to restrict what
someone may do with it). Since anything coming from Apple's App store
comes with restrictive licences imposed by Apple (notably, even for
free Apps, you cannot copy them and give away further copies), then
that too is incompatible with the GPL.
This cannot change unless Apple restrict their policies (they would
need to allow unsigned application on the iDevices - and I cannot see
that happening in the forseeable future.
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