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Are Third-Party Android Vendors Violating the GPL? 132

jfruhlinger writes "Google's refusal to not release Honeycomb source code is kosher because the code in question is released under the Apache license. But the kernel at the heart of Android is GPL'd, which means that code must be released. Google has actually been a good citizen in this regard — but many third-party Android vendors, not so much. While Asus has released their code, there are a host of companies that seem to have not done so, and Matthew Garrett is maintaining a list."
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Are Third-Party Android Vendors Violating the GPL?

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  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @07:35PM (#36223146) Homepage Journal

    There's a rash of game emulators based on GPL code that is for sale in the andoid market. I actually purchased one "nesnoid" but later while I was browsing around for SNES emu's I found SNES9X for android.

    The description for it on the market said, "DON'T PAY ANY OF THESE CLOWNS FOR SELLING YOU GPL CODE!"

    It just doesn't happen with kernels or OS components, it happens ALOT with applications. Another example I found was a WEP cracker. There was one (name escapes me atm) for $10 advertising "GET FREE WIFI ANYWHERE", while WEP cracker stated "These guys are ripping you off, their code is based on ngcrack and a few other OSS libraries and they're not giving you the source"

    I understand that the GPL allows some recoup of costs for development and distribution, but at all times the source must be available for free. I'm sure THAT list of companies is much larger than the one Matthew lists on his page.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @07:38PM (#36223174)

    License does not specify when it has to be released.

    The GPL does. It must be delivered to whoever the binaries are given to. Playing stupid weasel games to disenfranchise people is idiotic (well, unless you hate open source and like screwing your customers.)

    The rest of your post is ridiculous.

  • Re:Android (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @08:14PM (#36223444)

    Google pulls malware from the market. Apple stops people from putting apps into their market because they don't like them. There is a huge difference there. As an average user, you can still do everything you need to do. Security/system updates are there for everyone. It's open sourced so people can find the issues instead of hiding under a rock hoping someone doesn't find the flaws. The average user can just plug the phone into any computer and copy the files into the phone without having to use a computer with itunes to load the picture into the phone. Go back to kneeing at the feet of your lord and master steve jobs and keep drinking the kool-aid. Don't think, just regurgitate what your master tells you.

  • Re:Android (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @08:17PM (#36223472)

    Which one - iOS or Android - is the one you choose to keep pictures of your grandkids on?

    That's obvious. Android. I want to be sure that I'll always be able to get to those pictures, and not have them under the thumb of a megalomaniacal sociopath.

  • Re:Android (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cyberllama ( 113628 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @02:35AM (#36225332)

    You've been taken in by Apple's FUD.

    Both the App store and Android market are curated experiences, though Apple's version is obviously a lot more restricted. They have both rules, they limit what can be submitted, and they remove things that violate those rules. Both have had problems with apps doing more than they claimed to do that resulted in apps being removed after these violations were discovered. Pretty much every story about Android malware has a corresponding iOS story if you've been paying attention. But similarly, neither platform has any *significant* issues. The recent instance of Google kill switching some apps that violated their rules were not actual Malware apps, just apps posted by a security researcher to demonstrate that people will blindly install apps that ask permission to access contacts/location/etc even though they have no legitimate reason to be doing so. They weren't actually stealing user data, just demonstrating how it could be done.

    What makes Android "open" is that if you don't like Google's rules, you can make your own App store like Amazon has done or you can just sideload anything you want. It's worth noting that just as many iOS malware stories involve jailbroken phones, most of the Google Malware stories have involved side-loading because like Apple, Google *DOES* curate the Android Market to keep Malware out and, though both have let some shady pieces of software through, both companies have done a pretty good job of keeping it out. Most of the malware that has slipped through on both platforms is just a matter of people not paying any attention to the fact that the Bobble Head app they just installed for some reason requires permission to access the contact list . . .

    P.S. It's funny that you mention "which platform do you want to store your pictures on' because I recently had to do tech support for a relative who was quite saddened to discover that her iOS firmware upgrade had wiped all her pictures (which included many she had taken of her new puppy when it was growing). As an iPhone user myself, I've had this same bug happen to me in the past (when i upgraded my 3gs to firmware 4.0 before I got my iphone 4). I did the firmware upgrade and the pictures were simply gone afterwards . . .

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