Well we all saw this coming, didn't we. Today Apple has finally removed VLC for iOS from the AppStore after complaints from VLC developers and Free Software Foundation.
As many would know, VLC is an amazing media player which plays almost any video format that you throw at it. In September last year, it was ported to iOS and made available in the AppStore. It was very well received - who wouldn't want VLC on their iPad.
However, trouble started because of the licensing terms of the AppStore which was incompatible with GPL. The VLC developer and the FSF notified Apple of the licensing conflict and asked Apple to change the license or remove the app.
This is what Rémi Denis-Courmont, one of the main VLC developers wrote back then:
VLC media player is free software licensed solely under the terms of the... GNU General Public License (a.k.a. GPL). Those terms are contradicted by the products usage rules of the AppStore through which Apple delivers applications to users of its mobile devices.
VLC is not the first app in tha AppStore which has had conflicts with the GPL licensing - GNU Go and Battle of Wesnoth has also had the same problem. In both the cases, Apple decided to remove them instead of changing the license.
In the case of VLC too, Apple has decided that it is better to remove the app than to change the license - thus depriving iOS users of a fantastic media player.
Announcing the removal, Rémi Denis-Courmont wrote this on Planet VideoLAN:
However, those who have downloaded VLC on their iOS devices can continue to use it - it is just that it will not be available to new users and updates will not be available.
Read more about the VLC - iOS conflict here: