[sword-devel] iPhone Frontend

Ian Wagner iwagn973 at students.bju.edu
Tue Nov 18 13:41:53 MST 2008

On Nov 18, 2008, at 3:16 PM, Greg Hellings wrote:

>>> My communications with the Apple Developer Connection people about  
>>> the
>>> status of GPL software on the iPhone lead to them simply telling  
>>> me to
>>> ask my legal counsel.  Unfortunately, I don't have the money  
>>> available
>>> to me to pay legal counsel to answer that question.  If I were you,
>>> I'd scour Linux.com or put in a question to the GNU people about it,
>>> since those were the groups initially responsible for the articles
>>> about GPL's incompatibility with the iPhone developer program.
>>> However, my understanding of Apple's announcement a few weeks back  
>>> was
>>> that they wanted to have GPL software available through the iTunes
>>> Store, so I think you're safe to proceed.  At the least, for now,
>>> those of us who are also ADC members are legally allowed to see the
>>> code.  You may just have to make that a requirement for access to  
>>> the
>>> code until you can sort out the question firmly.
>>> --Greg
>> I wish I had money for a lawyer too on this one. I have been looking
>> around, reading the NDA and GPL and lots of websites, but I'm getting
>> lots of conflicting information. The GPLv3 I THINK is out, but that
>> shouldn't matter since SWORD is GPLv2. Obviously wordpress has
>> released a GPL'd app and it was approved by Apple and Apple doesn't
>> seem to be making any hubbub, but the FSF people might. The NDA seems
>> to be ok with distributing code for released software, but my  
>> question
>> is if the GPL will mess things up by requiring that the iPhone
>> libraries that we link against be GPL licensed. That would obviously
>> be a problem.
> I'm fairly certain this is not the case, otherwise no open source
> software could be written for Windows or Mac OS X, either.  The GPL on
> SWORD requires that software linking against SWORD (i.e. your iPhone
> front-end) be open source.  It cannot make a requirement about what it
> links against, though, without eliminating building the system on any
> closed-source operating systems.  You are correct that GPLv3 is not
> allowed on iPhone because of the code signing issue - but that's fine,
> since SWORD's GPLv2 is not compatible with GPLv3.  As for the FSF
> people coming after you, that would only happen if the owners of
> libraries you link with (SWORD, cURL?, Lucene?) went to the FSF and
> convinced the FSF that you were violating their GPL-licensed code.
> However, so long as you release your code under the GPL, then you're
> not violating that.  Your real concern is with Apple getting on your
> case for breaking the NDA.  But that requirement was supposed to have
> been dropped from the latest update to the SDA.
> --Greg

Thank you Greg and Peter for your advice. Very good points about KDE  
and the non-OSS operating systems. I am now confident this is clear on  
the legal side with GPL (even though the FSF people claim the iPhone  
is evil). The new NDA does not apply to released software, but still  
applies to unreleased software, so I guess that means I can't share  
code publicly until it makes it onto the app store.

There's no place like

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