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Dell Releases Streak Source Code 83

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the streaking-through-the-build dept.
RandyDownes writes "Members of the developer community called Dell out for not releasing the complete source code for the Android-powered slate, thus violating the GPL. Dell has since complied and released the total custom Android 1.6 ROM to the public. Maybe now someone can get the minitablet/smartphone to run Froyo without breaking everything."
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Dell Releases Streak Source Code

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  • by M Moogle (164749) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @06:09PM (#33581122)
    It looks like Dell only released the parts that they're required to under the GPL - so the summary is wrong in saying they released the "total custom Android 1.6 ROM". However, the kernel alone should hopefully help get some custom ROMs started on this thing.
  • by Meshach (578918) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @06:12PM (#33581148)
    The reason for the about face is probably a lawsuit against cisco from the Free Software Federation [appscout.com]. This is a good thing that the actions of the FSF are forcing other companies to properly comply with the open source licenses they choose.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @06:19PM (#33581214) Homepage Journal

    An offer for the source (or the source) is supposed to ship with the binaries.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @06:40PM (#33581448) Homepage

    According to the license, you have to release source and binaries at the same time.

    No, according to the license, you have to provide it when asked for it. Otherwise mailing out floppies wouldn't have been allowed under the GPL.

  • by dissy (172727) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @06:43PM (#33581480)

    They weren't violating the GPL - it does not specify a time requirement, and a few months is hardly unreasonable.

    The GPL doesn't need to have a time requirement, because the time requirement is coded in copyright law.

    Copyright law says the very moment (a time requirement) you distribute something, you by law are required to be licensed to distribute it by the copyright holder.

    So the very second Dell distributed it, they were in violation of copyright law, because they did not have any license to distribute it under copyright.

    That is true because the license included is the GPL, and to be granted that license you must release the source code with the binaries. Dell choose not to utilize the GPL license by not meeting a requirement of it. Thusly they broke the law the second they distributed any binaries.

  • by sphantom (795286) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @09:01PM (#33582154)

    I'd just like to add for those readers not in the know that Android uses Apache licensing. They're not required to publish any modifications to Android, only to the kernel since it's GPL and not Apache. As such, it's highly likely that we'll never see the entire ROM's source code.

  • by bieber (998013) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @09:33PM (#33582280)
    Why is this nonsense being modded up? The GPL very explicitly states that you must include the source code or an offer to produce source code on demand.

    b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @10:39PM (#33582568)

    I have one and I like it a lot. Screen looks great and it's big enough for me to actually read on (ebooks, PDFs, full web pages). The software has some weak spots, to be sure, but not enough to motivate me to try to flash the O2 2.1 ROM. Bottom line, if you want the form factor, "Biggest phone-tablet you can carry in your pocket", it's you're only choice and it doesn't have any fatal flaws, so yeah, it would be worth the a purchase. If you're looking for the slickest Android showcase you can get your hands on, or for iPhone-like polish, look elsewhere.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @08:02AM (#33585072) Journal
    nVidia does NOT distribute their blob linked to the kernel. The GPL is not magic, it relies on copyright law. Copyright law kicks in in two cases:
    1. If you make copies of the copyrighted work.
    2. If you make copies of derived works.

    The nVidia blob is not a derived work of the kernel. The nVidia shim is, and so it must be GPL'd. The combined work of the blob, the shim, and the kernel, must be GPL'd if distributed together, but because nVidia only distributes the blob, not the kernel, this does not apply.

    This is a problem for distributions, because they can not include the nVidia blob (most include a script that lets the user fetch and install it after install). It would also be a problem for anyone wanting to ship computers with Linux preinstalled and nVidia graphics.

  • by sgtrock (191182) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @09:47AM (#33586186)

    Yes, Dell screwed up. Yes, they should have known better. However, once someone pointed out the error of their ways, they moved to resolve the problem about as fast as any large company can.

    Compare what Dell did to what Cisco has done. The FSF was finally forced to file a lawsuit to get their attention because Cisco couldn't even be bothered to _talk_ to the the FSF about their GPL violations, let alone resolve them.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @11:03AM (#33587270) Journal
    Nice selective highlighting, but you didn't do what I asked. Instead, you stopped just short of the bit I specifically told you to read. The very next paragraph after the bit that you quote states:

    In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.

    i.e. the GPL specifically permits this and neither Android, nor any other Linux distribution, needs to be GPL'd as a whole.

    I even gave you the term (mere aggregation) to search the license for in my last post, yet somehow you managed to miss this paragraph.

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