Sam Caplat · Nov 21, 2011 at 12:00 am

GPL Compliance or No Compliance At All

This is an open letter to HTC. They took a big step toward showing they actually care about customers by starting HTCdev–as opposed to not caring, making terrible phones, and brushing off complaints about how terrible they are, making them anyway. HTCdev is HTC’s initiative to connect and work with the developing community. It shows they want to be involved, want to listen, and want to improve their products and user experience as a whole–more than I can say for other manufacturers.

Here’s my gripe. If you want to be part of any development community, comply with our ethics. And, you know, our legal standards. If you won’t guarantee GPL compliance, you shouldn’t be here. Android was created with the idea of a free, open-source mobile operating system. Against Apple’s locked-down, inflexible, no-back-talk iOS–my goodness, it was popular.

If you won’t publish your kernel source codes, why involve yourself? We don’t ask questions to hear, “We’re working on it, and can’t say more.” Or to get answers with more words than necessary. As Azrienoch says, when you use lots of words when you could use one, you’re hiding something.

We want you to be open. Like we are as a community. Like the OS we work so hard to improve. Non-compliance with the GPL renders HTCdev, and its involvement with the community, pointless and ethically wrong. One big answer to a question; all unneeded words.  Each one of these phones place you squarely outside of our community.

Not published:
Incredible 2 MR2
Amaze 4G
Explorer

GPL clearly states, you must distribute the phone “with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code” or “with a written offer, valid for at least three years,” to provide the source code.

Recently published:
Thunderbolt
EVO Shift 4G
Droid Incredible
Sensation XE
Sensation XL
Jetstream
Rhyme
EVO 4G+
myTouch 4G

If you’re not willing to provide us with a clear and unambiguous road map for GPL compliance, you don’t deserve our gratitude, respect, or to be involved. Be honest with us, and we’ll accept you with open arms. Expect us to trust you, and I can guarantee you won’t be here for much longer.


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Sam Caplat

samcaplat is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. My name is Sam Caplat and I bash things into computers and good looking stuff comes out... apparently.
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