About payed apps and the (L)GPL...

Discussion in 'Android App Developers' started by joyrider, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. joyrider
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    joyrider New Member

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    Okay i just registered here since in my opinion it seems like one of the bigger and more active boards around on the net about android.

    I got a little question and i'm asking it in the dev forum since well i'm a dev myselve and other dev's will probably know more about open source software and their (L)GPL licences...

    How come it's possible people can ask money for software that has the (L)GPL license ? I don't fully understand the (L)GPL license since well it's basically written for laywers and such but doesn't it seem odd that developpers spending years of work on some project who don't ask money for it and publish it under the (L)GPL see their work being used in *ports* nowadays on mobile phones by other dev's which do ask money for it?

    I mean the hard work all has been done by the initial developpers yet someone can just come along and port it some other platform and ask money for it... Don't get my wrong i do understand that porting to the android platform isn't as simple as porting some (linux) app to some handhelds like gp2x, wiz, pandora or the like since you'd have to use the ndk and rewrite parts of the app into a shared library but even so all one basically does then is write a wrapper around the application and make a frontend so it can be used on mobile phones...

    Doesn't that seem odd to some of you ??? Does the (L)GPL allow this ?

    I mean is it enough to release say only the shared lib part of the port and not the java related code (of the frontend) ?

    It really seems a bit unfair to me...

    Please share thoughts about this because i really can not understand how this is even possible...
  2. neubanks89
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    neubanks89 New Member

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    Technically a software library licensed under LGPL should not be a paid app on the market under any circumstances. Potential not even as a free app, as you aren't supposed to impose any terms on top of the LGPL which any sort of app store does. The only way I could see someone legally being able to a LGPL library in an android app is to provide the app as a free download to be side-loaded onto the device and be able to provide the source code upon request. I'm not terribly familiar with using LGPL as I generally avoid software libraries that are licensed as such but I'm pretty sure this is the case.

    Is there a particular instance of of this happening or is this all just theoretical questioning?
  3. joyrider
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    joyrider New Member

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    There are many examples, most payed emulators do this, rockplayer does it with ffmpeg and there are probably others which i didn't came across yet. They are easy to spot though and if you suspect one it's easy to check it by opening the apk file in winrar or something and checking if it contains shared libs... And if you want to go further you can even figure out on which open source software the app is based / ported from by opening the lib in a hex editor and checking the string references...

    i don't really have problem with apps doing it that way even though it's illegal as you suggested, what bothers me is that they ask money for the apps
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  4. xlinth
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    xlinth New Member

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    Just a thought....most apps I see on the market w/gpl usually are free with an alternate pay/donate app.... I can see donating to someone for their time and effort to port my favorite apps to android. But i don't want to pay for something gpl'd without the original author getting credit.

    BTW: I am not a dev ....yet
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