• United States
by Ann Harrison

Apple shuns file-sharing application

Feb 06, 20032 mins
AppleEnterprise ApplicationsiTunes

* Apple demands customer ceases development of P2P tool for Mac community

Sorry all you Apple fans out there, but your favorite politically correct computer company has demonstrated that it has no courage when it comes to supporting peer-to-peer applications.

Last month, Apple ordered developer James Speth to return his Apple iTunes software developer kit and stop distributing his iCommune file sharing plug-in for iTunes. Speth’s plug-in enables Apple’s music software to play or download music from other Macs via a network or Internet connection. It sounds like a cool P2P feature to me.

Apple claims that its move has nothing to do with concerns about the possibility of being sued by the music industry, but that the developer kit was only intended to make iTunes connect to hardware devices.

So much for Thinking Differently at Apple. This could be another example of fear over P2P-related litigation stifling technical innovation.

Speth is not fighting Apple’s demand that he ceases distributing his software. But on the iCommune Web site, he says he plans to build the same features into a stand-alone application that will be open source under the General Public License. This means that the source code could be freely modified and redistributed as long as it is returned to the community of users.

Upcoming versions of iCommune may work with iTunes or other digital music players – we’ll see. It is possible that iCommune could still use Rendezvous, Apple’s version of a protocol that automatically discovers other Internet-connected devices.

Apple has shown that Rendezvous lets iTunes access other playlists across a network, but has not yet said when this facility would be released with iTunes. Version 3, the most recent release of iTunes lets users share playlists with such ”iLife” applications as iMovie, iDVD, and iCal.