Under The Microscope

Mea Culpa

Early this morning, it was brought to our attention that Airfoil Speakers for Linux and Airfoil Speakers for Windows both contained a small portion of GPL-licensed code. If you’re not aware, the GPL is a license for open source code, and using GPL code in a closed-source project is a violation of that license. So, having GPL-licensed code in these versions of Airfoil Speakers was a big no-no. What happened here?

Simply put, we screwed up. A 16-line wrapper written by Jon Lech Johanson to access a system API on Windows was being used in Airfoil Speakers, in violation of the GPL. David, the programmer behind Airfoil for Windows, had used the code while making an internal prototype. When he built the official Airfoil Speakers for Windows, he mistakingly reused this code.

We immediately worked to correct this issue. While this was a minor oversight that involved only a few lines of code that were removed right away, violating the GPL is a crummy thing to do in general. These violations happen frequently and sometimes maliciously. We’ve no desire to be lumped in with anyone intentionally stealing code. So, the downloads for Airfoil Speakers for Linux and Airfoil Speakers for Windows were both updated earlier today, just as soon as the offending code was removed. You can grab the latest versions from those links.

To be sure, open source software can be great. We make use of some LGPL’ed libraries (for Audio Hijack Pro and Nicecast) as well as some BSD/MIT-licensed code (as in Airfoil Speakers for Mac). When we use this source, we correctly acknowledge it in our documentation and give back when we can (See our mirror for instance). Our commercial software is closed source, however, and as such, it must remain GPL-free. Hopefully this public apology as well as our speedy fix will prevent any ill-will.

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