Now here’s something we’d sorta been pondering ourselves might be worth doing; this fellow’s taken the GPL’d crossplatform game Tux Racer and ported it to the iPhone …
… for $3.99. Whilst providing a desktop build for free, and source downloads at the bottom of the product page which apparently this fellow feels meet the terms of the GPLv2 sufficiently.
We say “apparently”, because there is a body of opinion out there that since the casual consumer cannot edit the source code to an App Store-bought application and run the edited program directly on their phone, it is impossible to comply with the terms of the GPL with an application distributed through the App Store. We don’t subscribe to that personally, mind you; first off, nowhere in GPLv2 does it explicitly state that you must be able to run it on the distributed device — so being able to run your modified code in the simulator, which requires nothing but the freely downloadable Xcode toolchain, arguably satisfies the license adequately. And even if you do insist that the terms implicitly require that you run the modified version on the distributed device, then we don’t think that the $99/year developer program fee to Apple to be able to run whatever source you like on your phone is a condition that amounts to a GPL violation, any more than needing to buy a commercial compiler to do something useful with any desktop GPL’d source would violate it. But as the Free Software community is disproportionately populated with Apple-haters, mere logic is not always sufficient to appease them; and as this (to our knowledge) is the first GPL-licensed iPhone program that anyone has attempted to charge money for, if there is anyone out there willing to test their anti-iPhone interpretation of the GPL in court, well, this is whom they’d probably pick for a test case.
So we’ll be watching to see if any of the huffers and puffers get all indignant about this fellow’s entrepreneurial bent; and if not, we’ll probably look for some GPL’d game to port ourselves, as we would rather like to have an open source iPhone project to direct those who would like to see some demonstration of our coding practices to, and hey if it might make a buck or two that’s always great as well! In the meantime, if you’re a desktop Tux Racer fan, and not a programmer yourself — buy it to encourage more GPL’d source ports!
Colophon:Well, today was to be the final client-provided post of The Great WordPress Client Test, finishing up with über-text-editor
but the actual testing ends up a DNF, as we couldn’t be bothered actually getting TextMate to work. See, its blogging extension’s bundle’s idea of configuration is to have you put your blog’s XMLRPC address in a text file. We gave it a couple tries at what we think that address should be for this blog, but it failed to make them work. And we figured we just wouldn’t bother to keep trying, since obviously there wasn’t going to be any useful conveniences here at all, so at best it would make it into the same class as the other non-WYSIWIG tools. So we’ll award it 2/10 to put it at the bottom of our ratings due to its completely beyond the pale requirement of “needing a clue about blog internals” and leave it at that.
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