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Licensed C64 Emulator Rejected From App Store 277

Posted by Soulskill
from the insufficient-quantities-of-hip dept.
Miasik.Net writes "A fully licensed Commodore 64 iPhone emulator has been rejected from the App Store. The excuse Apple used is a clause in the SDK agreement which doesn't allow for applications that run executable code. It seems Sega is exempt from that clause, because some of its games on the iPhone are emulators running original ROM code."
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Licensed C64 Emulator Rejected From App Store

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  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:57PM (#28411567) Journal
    It's not an "excuse", it's clearly against the terms of the *agreement* the developer *agreed* to *before* starting work on it.

    You can argue that Sega ought to be treated the same way (and I'd agree with that), but to call it an "excuse" when the terms specifically and explicitly forbid it smacks of throwing one's toys out of the pram and screaming "waaaaaaaahhhh"! "I want, I want, I want!" is such an ugly character flaw when it's seen in "adults"...

    Simon
    • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:01PM (#28411607)

      I am sick and tired of this meme. You confuse authority and defensibility. Yes, Apple has the authority to do this. No, it is NOT ethically right for Apple to do this.
      It's not a new meme. In 1734, Alexander Pope published "An Essay on Man [theotherpages.org]":

      And spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
      One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

      The idea was corrosive back then, and it remains corrosive today. Knock it the fuck off.

      • by danaris (525051)

        This isn't Apple using their broad unspecified powers to reject an app arbitrarily or for a moronic reason. If it were, I'd agree with you.

        This is an app that should never have even been started, because it very clearly violates the SDK agreement, and anyone with half a brain would have known that Apple would reject it.

        As for the assertion that Sega's games are just emulators...

        • Is there any proof of this?
        • Even if there is, there is a distinct difference between an emulator packaged with a single ROM, such
        • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:19PM (#28411789)

          High horse? At least I'm not stuck in the intellectual mud like you are. All of you people are ignoring the larger problem here, which is that Apple purports to control the applications a customer runs on a device he's purchased outright. It's ludicrous. Apple has no moral authority to set these rules at all.

          The larger problem here is that Apple can reject applications at all. You people seem to have passively accepted it. It's as if you were in Salem arguing about whether a witch should have been burned or hanged while ignoring the larger question is whether you should execute the alleged "witch" at all!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rhsanborn (773855)
            That device didn't pretend to allow for complete customizability. It was sold as a device that could and couldn't do certain things. If someone doesn't like the lock Apple has on the application store, then they have the option of not buying the device.
            • by Trahloc (842734) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:47PM (#28412017) Homepage
              I disagree. While Apple has the right to reject the emulator from their own store I refuse to accept that they have the right to bar this person from developing any product he wants for it. Just because a wrench is designed for a 5/8" bolt doesn't mean you can't use it as a pry bar, but that is specifically what Apple is trying to do with their "EULA" of the SDK and I find that reprehensible.

              While it is true that a person has the option to not buy a product. You fail to take into account that they also have the innate right of altering any product they own however they see fit. Anyone who disagrees with that is ignoring one of the fundamental driving forces of innovation for the last several millenia.
              • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:46PM (#28415427) Journal

                Hear hear. If you want to write an AIM client that runs in the background you can do so. If you want to buy an iPhone, take it apart, and put it back together in a Kindle, that's fine. No problem. Do whatever you want to do. Apple isn't stopping you from doing whatever you want to do with your iPhone.

                Just don't expect Apple to distribute it for you. Just don't expect Apple to make it convenient for you to distribute it. Just don't expect any support from Apple after you've done these things.

                Basically, if you do these things, you're on your own. That doesn't preclude you from doing it. It just means nobody is going to help you out if you turn your iPhone into a very expensive brick. It means that if your battery won't hold a charge because you wrote an app that drained the battery in 20 minutes and you now have to send your phone in for battery replacement 4 years earlier than expected, don't blame Apple.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by bnenning (58349)

              That device didn't pretend to allow for complete customizability. It was sold as a device that could and couldn't do certain things.

              And the annoyance is that those limitations are entirely imposed by Apple's business and marketing sides. Before the app store, Apple and its fanboys were firmly declaring that there shouldn't be third party apps for the iPhone because it didn't have enough power to run them, and it would lead to widespread viruses and disruption of the phone network, and web apps were just as

          • by terrymr (316118)

            Jailbreak the device and install your own apps - apple doesn't really stop you from doing this.

            • by QuoteMstr (55051)

              Jailbreak the device and install your own apps - apple doesn't really stop you from doing this.

              Apple tries its hardest to stop jailbreaker, and you know damn well that ordinary people won't and can't jailbreak their phones.

              If Apple provided a simple switch allowing installation of applications from outside the app store, I'd have no problem with the app store's rejection policy. But they don't, so I do.

          • by mustafap (452510) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:17PM (#28414905)

            >Apple has no moral authority to set these rules at all.

            Let me put this in simple terms for you.

            It's their ball. They get to choose the rules.

            They do not have the monopoly on phone handsets. Buy another and get over it.

            I can't be the only person who loved the iPhone but thought "I'll wait till a handset that I can put my own apps on comes along".

            The openmoko project is an attempt at this, and one day it will happen, but until then I'll keep my cash in my wallet.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Vellmont (569020)

          This is an app that should never have even been started, because it very clearly violates the SDK agreement

          Apple UK didn't seem to think it violated the SDK agreement, as they gave the go-ahead (As per the article). It was only later that the app was rejected when it was submitted to the app-store.


          So get the hell off your high horse already and live in the real world.

          I live in the real world. My real world has people being behind agreements (multiple people with competing interests), not them being a ser

        • So get the hell off your high horse already and live in the real world.

          In the real world it's my damn phone, I paid for it (and not just a license to use it), and I ought to be able to run anything on it that I wish that doesn't bring down AT&T's network in the process.

          Now what world were you living in again?

      • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:18PM (#28411773)
        I'm not seeing this as an ethical issue. I may wish that Apple's terms of use for the iPhone were more accepting of a particular type of application, but all developers know the terms before they even start coding. This case is different from Sega because this one interprets arbitrary code while Sega's apps run hard-coded ROMs. The term arbitrary is important, and it clearly means that this app is indeed against Apple's terms of inclusion into their store.

        Does it suck? Yeah. Unethical? That's a stretch...
    • by Bluecobra (906623) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:03PM (#28411633)

      If you RTFA, you will find that Manomio contacted Apple Europe before developing the app and they "seemed really excited". So here we have yet another developer wasting time and money just to have Apple reject another application despite approving others that do the same thing. I really hope Manomio decides to port his C64 app to the Android instead so some of us can enjoy it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        If you RTFA, you will find that Manomio contacted Apple Europe before developing the app and they "seemed really excited".

        Which could mean anything down to "I went to an Apple reseller and blathered about my idea to a salesdroid, and he seemed to like the idea."

        • While technically possible, do you really think a developer went and 'blathered about his idea' in public, at an Apple store? Really?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by R3d M3rcury (871886)

            No. But about the only one person who speaks for Apple is Steve Jobs. Other than that, everyone else has their own opinions on what's cool and what isn't.

            Last week at WWDC, I spoke to someone at Apple who was interested in an App I'm working on. The problem is, parts of it need to run in the background for the best user experience. He agreed with me. That does not mean if I submit said app, it would be approved. What that means is that one person agrees with me--that my App would be better if it could

      • by rhsanborn (773855)
        Except that I'm not sure Apple knew exactly how they were going to implement this. An emulator with game packs, etc where the user couldn't arbitrarily upload his own ... anything may have flew. Perhaps they should have gone into some details and made sure their implementation wasn't outside the TOS. Or if they were counting of selectively enforced standards, gotten some assurance that they would be held under the standards they wanted before spending the dev time.
      • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:39PM (#28411943) Journal
        I hope so too. I'm not defending Apple here as much as defending the rightness of enforcing a contract. As I point out above, I don't believe he contacted Apple Europe anyway, because if he did he'd have something in writing along the lines of "Yes, you can develop your emulator and we will let you load it onto the iPhone".

        Talking to someone from Apple marketing over the phone and getting a verbal "hey that sounds cool" is completely and utterly worthless. Getting written permission as above would give him a fully justifiable case (and probably a lawsuit). He's probably somewhere in the middle, but unfortunately unless you have the written permission, you have nothing.

        Simon
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      The thing is; can you really call this "executable code"? From the point-of-view of an iPhone, 6510 machine code is no more "executable code" than any random game parsing it's level data.

    • by terrymr (316118)

      This is pretty simple sega is not selling an emulator but rather a game which consists of game rom + emulator. If they were selling a general purpose sega emulator it would likely not be allowed by apple either.

  • by azgard (461476) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:57PM (#28411571)

    ...because I am tired of reports of apps not working on iPhone and other ways Apple limits it. If people care so much about freedom, why don't they stop using it?

    • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:10PM (#28411701)

      ...because I am tired of reports of apps not working on iPhone and other ways Apple limits it. If people care so much about freedom, why don't they stop using it?

      Hint: They don't [care so much], otherwise they would stop using it. The only ones who really do care are 0.00001% of iPhone users (who also happen to read slashdot, by the way).

    • The general pattern is:

      1) App is arbitrarily rejected for some reason.

      2) Angry story on Slashdot about rejection.

      3) App is resubmitted and accepted with some minor change (or no change at all like in the case of the eBook reader).

      The stories are lame because the review system is a little subject to the whims of any given reviewer now, after two submissions that fail then I'd start saying it might be worthy of a story.

      That said, this rejection does not fall into this pattern. The development guidelines have

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:54PM (#28412067) Homepage

        1) App is arbitrarily rejected for some reason.
        2) Angry story on Slashdot about rejection.
        3) App is resubmitted and accepted with some minor change

        So, you're saying that whining on Slashdot is actually useful?

        The mind boggles, it does.

  • What are they worried about, that a revival of BASIC will crowd out Apple market share...? Or did Sega maybe have a quiet word with Apple about the competition?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They don't want to lose the ability to approve all apps. If the emulator in its current form can load other ROMs or BASIC programs then you have a way of bypassing the App Store after the first purchase. I assume Sega made sure that their package could only run the one game it sold with and thus could not be used to bypass the app store.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by spacefiddle (620205)
        Aha, there's the rub. Why did you AC your comment...? That actually made sense. That *is* allowed here, you know.
    • I think that what we're seeing here is Apple's renowned flip-flopping on what is allowed into the Apple store. This is something that I would attribute to the individual reviewers, some of which are decidedly biased.

      You just watch, they'll resubmit, and it'll probably pass.

  • by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:59PM (#28411587) Homepage Journal

    An iPhone emulator that runs on a Commodore 64? Color me surprised!

    Hopefully this means that I can upgrade my old boxes by emulating dual core processors on them. Links, anyone? ;)

    -b

    • by cskrat (921721)
      I started doing that ages ago. Currently I have an Athlon 700 emulating an i7 at 4Ghz.
  • by MtHuurne (602934) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:03PM (#28411619) Homepage
    If I recall correctly, the limitation in the SDK license is that Apple will not allow an interpreter that runs arbitrary code. That would mean that an interpreter that executes a single hardwired game does not violate the license.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:03PM (#28411627)

    Apple is about quality first and they are just holding back the release date until the iPhone's cassette tape inferface is ready.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:04PM (#28411643) Homepage

    It seems Sega is exempt from that clause, because some of its games on the iPhone are emulators running original ROM code.

    From Apples perspective, I don't see this as entirely unreasonable.

    They want to manage customer experience by controlling the environment. An app which can host arbitrary code could lead to exploits or other badness.

    Code from the original ROMs is pretty well bounded and not going to do anything unexpected or malicious.

    Now, that doesn't mean a bunch of people won't howl about this. But, for the average person buying a iPhone, I doubt they'll care.

    Cheers

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      It's also reasonable not to let any random app execute arbitrary downloaded code on a mobile phone. I'd be rather cranky if one of the downloadable C64 games used the opportunity to send a few GB worth of spam while I was playing it.

  • The games may run in an emulator but if it only runs that game and nothing else then it is effectively one application and nothing else. The C64 emulator will allow you to run numerous applications even if they are old and outdated.

    Apple's app store policies are weak but I agree with the other commenter and think we've had enough of these sort of stories. Apple isn't going to change their mind because these stories get posted on Slashdot and any regular should be using an Android based phone anyway. :P
  • Clarification (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think what Apple wants is to make sure you can't "add" more games without going to the appstore.

    Individual games (eg the Sega ones referred to) are each a seperate app that you get from the App store. You arent getting a single "Sega" emulator which you can then get more roms (legit or otherwise) seperately from the app store.

    Presumably the C64 emulator had no such limitation.

    (I have an iPhone, its jailbroken and unlocked, and even though I can explain Apple's motivation for their restrictive policy, they

  • Typical Apple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spiffydudex (1458363)
    You gotta do it the Apple way or go home. We have seen this time and time again with the app store.
  • Bundle the individual games with the emulator, but don't provide a mechanism to install additional games.

  • Idiotic Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MWoody (222806) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:08PM (#28411685)

    Of course Sega is exempt; their programs are a single ROM, run via emulation. You don't buy a Sega hardware emulator and then download ROMs for it, so they can test it fully before allowing it to be released. An open emulator, able to run any ROM you give it, is essentially a way to run un-tested, 3rd party code on the platform. There's no way for Apple to be sure the programs stay within their virtual environment. In essence, it would be a way to circumvent the security and execution protection on the phone entirely; it's a jailbreaker.

    I'm about as far from an Apple apologist as you can get, and can't wait for this app store bullshit to quiet down. But let's not start reviling them for merely following their stated policy. If these people want to release their emulator, they'll need to do what their competitors have: bundle it with specific games and sell THOSE instead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only way a C64 program could "break out" is if the emulator has a security hole - and how is this different from any other app? sendmail and BIND aren't emulators, yet they've had tons of security holes.

    • Re:Idiotic Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by eddy (18759) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:54PM (#28412061) Homepage Journal

      >But let's not start reviling them for merely following their stated policy.

      If they are following their stated policy, explain how "sid player [apple.com]" was okayed, since it's an emulator that interprets executable code, which is downloaded on-the-fly.

      I think the problem people have with the appstore, is that Apple enforce their policies using dice.

  • Reject the one app that would have guaranteed me purchasing an iPhone.
    • by iluvcapra (782887)
      I know! All of my friends were talking about how they were holding off on buying an iPhone until it got a proper Commodore emulator....
  • I think the C64 brings back bad memories from the home computer wars. Apple ultimately survived thanks to the Macintosh and DTP but CBM gave them fits in the low end market. In fact they were a high end company ever since.
  • Remember, this is Apple we're talking about. They get nothing from a C-64 emulation, fully licensed or otherwise.

    But Apple ][ on the other hand ...

  • I would submit again and provide other instances where submissions have been allowed.

    I have a SID player on the iPhone which was approved. This is emulating C64 hardware.

    The people looking at the app store submissions probably have varied opinions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by marcansoft (727665)

      It's pretty obvious. The people looking at app store submissions likely have only a very basic understanding of the issues involved, and the SDK agreement isn't very precise as to what falls and doesn't fall under this rule. So the results basically depend on the guy's gut feeling when he checks out the app. For example, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of them would consider a SID player a simple music player, even though it actually runs C64 machine code, just as they would probably accept a game with do

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:36PM (#28411921)

    Last time I checked, the iPhone could not run C64 programs natively. So, essentially, the games are interpreted by the emulator (as it is with pretty much all emulators).

    According to that logic, you'd have to ban any application with built in scripting (like, say, any office application that I'm aware of), hell, a PDF reader would be banned as well because PDFs may include scripts. If you want to go bonkers, you could pretty much ban any application that takes any kind of not built-in data because technically, this is interpreted by the application as well.

    • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:43PM (#28411987)

      Right. Now you've discovered that Apple's restrictions don't have anything to do with technical quality. Instead, they're just designed to provide Apple an excuse to ban any application that might threaten Apple's revenue stream.

      That kind of behavior shouldn't be allowed on a mass-market platform like the iPhone. Nobody should have the authority to tell me what applications I can run on a device I own, just like a publisher can't tell me not to resell a book.

      • by EvilIdler (21087)

        This emulator wouldn't really threaten Apple's revenue stream if it used the new Store Kit. They take a cut of everything going through that system, too. App rejection really is random.

  • by laird (2705) <lairdp@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:41PM (#28412495) Journal

    This article is extremely misleading, resulting in tons of off-target flaming.

    Apple doesn't prohibit apps using emulation, they prohibit apps that download and run arbitrary code, bypassing the Apple Store. The mistakes that the developers made were (1) putting a C64 Store into the app, and (2) putting a BASIC interpreter in the emulator. If it's tweaked slightly so that the games are downloaded through the Apple Store 3, and the BASIC interpreter is removed (it's useless anyway), I'm sure that it would be approved.

    The developers probably decided to push the boundaries a bit in order to generate some news/press coverage. Pretty clever, actually - now Slashdot and other geek news sites is promoting them, and their app will still get approved in a week or two.

  • by strags (209606) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:57PM (#28412597)
    Look - here's the relevant part of the agreement:

    "3.3.2 An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."

    Particularly this part:
    "No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application"

    Does the emulator allow users to download ROMs over the internet? If so, then there's a problem. If not - ie. there are a number of licensed ROMs embedded in the application, then there should be no problem. Simple. He just needs to release each game-pack as a self-contained app - that's all.

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