The comments on our post about the Ventafone app violating our license are priceless. They range from people complaining about the GPL to people not understanding a thing about the GPL. One commenter said that the GPL was intended to prevent us from actually enforcing the GPL. I’m not sure how that works, but we got a good chuckle out of that anyway.

Before I give a status update on the iPhone issue, let’s get a refresher course on why this project exists in the first place. For years, Windows and Mac users have completely ignored their Linux gaming brethren. Linux users have spent countless hours trying to get the official Ventrilo program working under Linux with various levels of success. If the users of Ventrilo had decided to care in the slightest about cross-platform voice communications programs, they would have switched to Mumble (BSD licensed)… or even Teamspeak (which has Linux support, even if it is crappy).

Anyhow, Luigi Auriemma wrote a GPL implementation of the the Ventrilo call-home and encryption algorithm which is required for any implementation of the Ventrilo protocol. That code was the basis for the beginning of Spux (which, by necessity was GPL) by Michael Sierks and Cris Favero, which helped spawn the development of our little project here. Even if Luigi’s code hadn’t been GPL, we would have licensed our app as GPL anyway… but either way, we’re obligated to use the same license for our work.

I’m not sure exactly how many people have contributed code, testing, or other effort to Mangler. I’m sure it’s over 10 and probably over 20. Each of those contributors has put in time and effort to make up for the fact that Windows and Mac users did not care about their friends that run Linux. Daniel and I spent every waking moment — that we weren’t at work or sleeping — of 3 months studying and documenting the protocol, writing code, and testing… three months of staring at voice packet hex dumps fly by the screen trying to decipher what every single byte represented. For three months we spent over 8 hours each weekday and 16 to 18 hours per day on weekends working on this. We did this not because we wanted people to use Ventrilo; we did this because Linux users needed it. We did this because we care more about our fellow Linux users than their actual online gaming friends who easily could have switched to a demonstrably better and cross-platform solution.

So that was a bit over a year ago and here we are today. I find it incredibly amusing that users of closed systems are coming to us to give them access to a proprietary application that we clearly despise. And when we tell them no, they get mad and insult us — we’re dorks, losers, linuxtards. Perhaps you should be going to Flagship (the developers of Ventrilo) and demand the application from them. The fact that iPhone users are complaining to us Linux users that we won’t “allow” our code on their preferred platform is fascinating. Welcome to the world us Linux users lived in for years while you ignored us.

But it’s really not a matter of us allowing our code on the iPhone platform — in fact, we do allow it. The only matter of contention is the distribution. The source code to the iPhone version — contributed by Forwardcode, LLC — is in our SVN repository and it’s almost ready for distribution on Cydia. The fact of the matter is that even if we wanted to, we could not release our software on the iTunes App store. We are stewards of code for the community. The code is not ours to relicense and distribution on the App store is in violation of said license. In turn, it is an affront to every single person who has contributed to our project with the expectation that it was licensed under the GPL.

So iPhone users, here is your answer: Jailbreak your phone if you want to use our software, because we absolutely will not allow distribution via the App store unless Apple modifies the distribution terms of the store to comply with the GPLv3.