A plea to keep the .adk available other than via the google
1 For machines (e.g. Kindle Fire HD) that don't have the google
2 Because the current
manner of sale
breaks GPL v2
1 I have just installed the 4.1.925 .adk on a Kindle Fire HD - a bit slow on redraw, but lets me see if better Android hardware
is worth getting. Without the file I'd have to root the Kindle to install the google stuff, which would put many users off getting this great app
2 I've worked professionally with GPL for a long while - it's a much mis-represented license
. Remember the GPLv2 world view assumes users who can and will compile code, and dates from a time where physical media were still dominant:
Section 1 (referring to source code)
"You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee."
"You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 ..."
So there are three possible outcomes to charging
$X for downloading the executable from Google, but not charging
for source code via github:
a) If google charges $X as its fee for transferring a copy, then that would be legal
b) If google charges less than $X per copy, then this is not permitted under GPLv2, unless
c) The compiled version obtained via Google has some warranty provided. AFAIK this could warrant that the executable is a correct compilation of the source code, and that it will execute as the source specifies (at least on some particular versions of Android and some given hardware). Note this is NOT a warranty the OpenCPN
is a working chart plotter - just that the compiled code will do what the source say. It is possible that being accepted onto the google store provides an implicit warranty - but making this explicit would be clearer
For the avoidance of doubt - GPL NEVER requires you to distribute a program - if I make a great modification I can keep it to myself for ever. What GPL does constrain is how I can distribute that program, and it gives the same rights to distribute to all recipients.
If the google store denies those who download the executable the right to transfer copies to others without fee (and without any warranty), then distribution via google is not permitted:
Section 6 "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein." Section 7 "If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License
and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all."
Now - does this matter? Only the original copyright
holders could sue for illegal distribution - if *none* of them want to, then any non-compliance is moot. If the google store version carries a warranty, then all is well.
I certainly hope the Android version takes off - I drive the RIB
for my local dive club, and OpenCPN
is already used on shore for planning. Hopefully we can find a tough enough Android tablet to take it to sea.
Fair winds to you all