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Adventures of a stay-at-home, skeptical, homeschooling dad (etc.)


App Jacking

I've now published several Android apps on FDroid. I released them all as opensource apps under the GPLv3. That means other people can see my source code, modify it, and re-release it, or do most anything else.

The main restriction of the GPLv3 is that anyone who modifies the source and publishes the resulting product the must release the (modified) source as well. It (along with a few other similar licenses) has worked very well for a huge number of applications: Everyone can use the source, but no one can claim it as their own and make it proprietary. It's a way to lock source code open.

I just found that some person has been taking my apps which I have not published to the Android Play Store, cramming them full of ads, then publishing them there.

That normally wouldn't be an issue, since I did release the code as opensource and that means anyone can do stuff like that.


1) The GPL allows it, but only if the modifications are made available. I can't that see this "developer" has made anything available, and doesn't even seem to mention that the apps are opensource. That's not permitted.

2) Probably more painful for me, is that this person didn't bother to change the package names. Since the Play Store requires unique package names, I can't even publish my own work there now without renaming everything. Kind of a dick move, as I was intending to publish it there nowish.

3) My name and links to my webpages are still in their version, which makes me look bad because of their crappy ads and who know what other changes.

I've sent this person an email asking them to comply with the terms of the GPL. If I get no response, I might have to go through Google to report a copyright violation. I don't know if this is just some single person, or part of a larger company set up to spam ads to people. Hopefully this can be resolved simply.


  • My published apps on FDroid: Please DO download these. They're actually opensource, written by me personally, contain no ads, and will not do anything bad to you.
2017-04-05 #programming