Xiaomi Releases Kernel Source for Redmi 1S
In terms of sales, Xiaomi has become one of the leading OEMs in Android ecosystem. Despite its popularity–especially in Asia–Xiaomi isn’t a commonly discussed topic on XDA. This is in fact due to the potential negative ramifications of indirectly supporting a company that routinely violates GPL licensing, and in effect violates XDA’s rules. In the last few years, we’ve actually seen quite a few reports of this OEM violating the GPL, as well as using the hard work of third party developers without asking or providing credit.
Just yesterday Donnovan Sung and Hugo Barra, two high figures at Xiaomi announced that the Chinese OEM is releasing the GPL-mandated kernel source code for the mid-range Redmi 1S. Surprisingly, the source is pushed to GitHub and contains almost a full commit history. (Xiaomi’s changes are squashed into one commit.) While this is a great move by Xiaomi, we are still quite skeptical about this OEM becoming a role model GPL follower. This company has to prove that releasing a code for the Redmi 1S isn’t just a one-time incident, and they’ll have to release the mandatory code for EVERY upcoming device and software update.
While this means next to nothing for end-users, developers might look at this move with sympathy. No longer than yesterday, we talked about how the Mi3 received a quite functional CyanogenMod 12 port despite the lack of kernel source code. With buildable kernel source, we should see the increasing amount of custom ROM/kernels projects, as kernel source is required to debug the most annoying issues.
We are going to follow Xiaomi’s moves and see whether they are trying to become a vital part of our forum and the community at large, or if instead they choose to simply ignore their licensing requirements and return to their previous violating ways. You can find more details about released code by visiting the MIUI forum.