Video fanatics were thrilled when an iOS version of VLC made its way to the App Store recently. Finally, users could watch all manner of videos in a number of codecs from their iPhones or iPads, just like they do with the (ever-popular) VLC desktop clients. That may not last forever, though: a wrench has now been thrown into the mix by one of the many VLC code contributors, leading to a complex dispute over VLC's GNU Public License (GPL) and whether an app released through the App Store—or any mobile OS store, for that matter—violates that license.
Many of our readers are already quite familiar with VLC—the software is available for many platforms as open source through the GPLv2. VLC is promoted and managed by the nonprofit association VideoLAN, and the code itself is constantly being developed and improved by hundreds of programmers around the world. So, how did the VLC iOS app get into this mess, and what's really going on?