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10 January 2011, 11:52

VLC Media Player removed from Apple's iOS App Store

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VLC App Store Logo A free iOS port of the popular VLC Media Player that has been available in the App Store since last October has now been removed. However, its end was on the cards: shortly after the iOS port was introduced by company Applidium, VLC co-developer Rémi Denis-Courmont raised concerns that, due to its GPL licence, the app shouldn't be available via the App Store. The developer said that the terms in the original licence were incompatible because Apple doesn't allow apps to be redistributed outside of its store – but software released under the GNU General Public License must remain freely distributable in all variations.

The VLC app enables iOS devices to render various video formats that Apple doesn't support, and it can stream content via RTSP or the MMS protocol. HD video playback is sometimes jerky because the app uses software decoding for all formats.

On Friday, the VLC app disappeared from the App Store – without Apple providing an official reason for the removal. On the official VLC project web site, complainant Denis-Courmont writes that, given the precedents, the decision should not have come as a surprise to anyone. "The incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved – the hard way", said Denis-Courmont.

The app is now said to be available from the Cydia store. However, apps in the Cydia store can only be used by devices that have been jailbroken and are free of the App Store's restrictions.


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