06.16.10

Harald Welte Supports Apple in Enforcement Against Apple and Freedom-Hostile Apple Sympathisers Withdraw From GNOME

Posted in Apple, FSF, GNOME, GNU/Linux, GPL, Law at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Harald Welte
Credit: Harald Welte, photo by Quinn Norton

Summary: Harald Welte remarks on GPL violations at Apple; ACCESS leaves the GNOME Advisory Board

SINCE the end of May we have been posting about half a dozen items about Apple’s hostility towards the GPL, which it excluded/removed rather than comply with. One of the well-regarded figures that publicly supported the FSF’s action against Apple was Harald Welte, whose second post on the subject ought to explain why Apple took a disappointing route that demonstrates its general approach.

So yes, by removing the software that was distributed in violation of the GPL terms, Apple has done legally the right thing: Reduce the danger/risk of committing further (knowing) infringement.

The FSF (and probably the Free Software community in general) of course want something else: For Apple to alter their app store terms in a way that would enable software authors to have Apple distribute their GPL licensed software in it. While this might be possible very easily with small modifications to their legal terms and to the implementation of the app store, it is probably not quite easy to make a legal claim and try to force this upon Apple.

Anyone always has the choice to either distribute GPL licensed software compliant with its license terms – or not distribute it at all. If Apple prefers the latter, this is very unfortunate (and you might call it anti-social or even anti-competitive) but something that they can very well do.

In better news, an Apple proponent/former employee and Internet bully/troll lost impact in the GNOME Foundation after he had repeatedly smeared the FSF and also took Apple’s side (not that the two events are related). Here is a compilation of messages of interest.

Xavier Bestel had made a comment to a gnome member regarding their choice of OS and E-mail client. The person promptly fired back with an anti software freedom tirade and blurted out insider info from ACCESS as to why they pulled out on funding. This is the same person identified by RMS as “a troll like enemy of the free software movement”. Normally I avoid mentioning this individual but the information is far too important. It’s public information that anyone can access.

Let me be very frank with you, Xav: this sort of behavior was definitely a contributing factor to ACCESS’ leaving the Advisory Board this past January, and for our lack of sponsorship for GUADEC this year and last. It was a directly contributing factor to my rescinding my offer to provide media training for potential GNOME spokespeople at GUADEC this summer.

This is good news for GNOME and for software freedom in general. ACCESS was like a rogue lobbyist. Combined with the latest news about Mono, Free software is on the right track.

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