Open Source Software Round-Up


We have compiled a few recent open-source software (OSS) stories:

  • GPL in the App Store: A recent article on ZDNet reviews the differences in treatment of apps subject to the General Public License (GPL) in Apple’s App Store compared with Google’s Android Market. It argues that Apple’s closed system is incompatible with the GPL and so apps built from open-source kernels can’t be sold through Apple’s store, whereas the Google marketplace is compatible with GPL-licensed apps. When Apple pulled the VLC player last year, OSS enthusiasts complained that iPhone users would be deprived of OSS apps like GNU Go and the VLC media player (See: App Law Update – Part 2: Breach of GPL).  However, it’s worth remembering that the apps were pulled because of complaints from the OSS community, who levelled copyright infringement allegations at Apple. It was in response to those complaints that the apps were pulled.  It should be noted that the GPL is merely one of many species of OSS licenses, and other forms of OSS license will not necessarily be incompatible with Apple’s App Store terms.
  • OSS and M&A: Lexology has a review of the OSS issues to consider in the context of mergers and acquisitions. In particular, when buying IT assets, business owners should work closely with legal counsel to review the software issues and the risks, and arrive at a practical way of mitigating those risks. Depending on the scope of the transaction, this may involve everything from simple representations and disclosure schedules in the asset purchase agreement, to detailed code-reviews by technical advisors. A “fear” of OSS need not kill an otherwise sensible transaction, as this article points out.
  • Enforceability of the GPL: This story from the UK articulates an interesting argument about the enforceability of the GPL. It’s worth a read.


Calgary – 07:00 MST


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