Jan
8
2011

VLC for iOS Pulled From The App Store, Now on Cydia

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Just like we expected in October, VLC for iOS has been removed from the App Store. But this time, the removal of one of the most popular free apps for iPhone and iPad has nothing to do with Apple and the app review team’s rules. Instead, we have to thank developer Rémi Denis-Courmont, who since October has been busy trying to get the app out of the App Store because it violated VLC’s GNU public license. Rather than keep calm, carry on and let other developers (Applidium, the guys behind the VLC port to iOS) distribute VLC for iOS for free, he forced to get the app removed.

Basically, it’s all a licensing issue. As we reported in October, the VLC app (first released on the iPad then made universal to run on the iPhone as well) obviously was subject to Apple’s DRM policy for the App Store and iTunes’ Terms and Conditions. The app was, however, free for anyone to download and install as long as you had an App Store account. The problem is, Rémi Denis-Courmont didn’t want an iOS port of VLC, despite being free, to have a different licensing system than Videolan’s original plans, GNU public license. As you can guess, if you want to port an open source app to Apple’s platform and distribute it on the App Store for free, you have to accept Apple’s conditions. But this prominent Videolan developer, and Nokia employee, established his own personal crusade to get the app killed.

Here’s to Rémi Denis-Courmont, who successfully managed to put so much pressure on this whole saga that the app is gone now. Rèmi also seems to be pretty happy about the results:

At last, Apple has removed VLC media player from its application store. Thus the incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved – the hard way. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone, given the precedents.

So there you have it. Thanks Rèmi. A free app, removed because of obvious licensing issues. Guess who’s the real victim in this stupid dispute? The end user. But luckily for us, developer Ryan Petrich put VLC back online on his personal Cydia repository. If you have a jailbroken device and you couldn’t download VLC in time before the removal, you can install it again. [TUAW via 9to5mac]

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