Well, that took Apple a little longer than expected. Two months after some of VLC’s key developers demanded that Apple revise its App Store to accommodate the GNU Public License (GPL) that the iPhone port was released under, Apple has finally decided to take action…by giving the entire app the whole heave-ho from its App Store. Can’t say that no one was expecting such an outcome, though.
For those who are wondering what this is all about, the original VLC media player application that most of us use on our notebooks and desktops today is released under a license known as the GNU General Public License (GPL). And part of the terms and conditions set forth by the Free Software Foundation with regards to the GPL requires that users have the right to install the software on any number of devices they desire. By adding its own proprietary DRM layer to the iPhone port VLC app that restricts the number of downloads, Apple is in direct violation of the GPL license.
Because of this violation, a developer has called on Apple to either revise the App Store policies to ensure that its distribution of VLC does not go against the terms and conditions set forth by the license, or drop the app completely. Of course, this being Apple, one does not have to be a genius to guess which option Apple opted for.
That being said, this is not the end of VLC for users of iOS devices. While the app may no longer be available on the iTunes App Store, it appears that the very same VLC app has managed to find its way in Cydia’s repository, where it will stay for the remainder of its life unharassed by App Store policies. Jailbreak, anyone?