HTC needs timely kernel source releases!
  • Petitioned HTC

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HTC

HTC needs timely kernel source releases!

    1. Petition by

      Mike Malloy

      Lemont, IL

Many users interested in the development on HTC devices have recently been    becoming more and more frustrated with HTC's policy on kernel source code    releases. While other companys such as Samsung release their kernel source    the same day as a phone is released or an update is pushed to a device,    HTC follows a different path. HTC while is supporting development via    their bootloader unlocking tools, which we are thankful for, they seem to    not care when it comes to how long after an update is pushed or a phone is    released that it takes them to release their source code. By doing this    they are hindering development on their own devices and tempting    developers to leave HTC and move on to Samsung due to the greater support    for developers of samsung devices.  

The GPL states that the source must be released within 14 of a request of    such code. However, it doesn't state a grace period or a timeline for    which it has to be released. HTC says that "HTC will normally publish this    within 90 to 120 days" (HTCDEV) and in this time they claim that they are    still complying with the rules and regulations of the GPL v2.0. This wait    is far too long however because after this time and they finally release    the source code it may be out of date by 2 maybe 3 updates. This hinders    the development on said devices because once a phone is updated, the only    source they have to work with is outdated and may be either very hard to    work into the new update or even impossible to use on the new software.  

Others have alread tried to change the ways of HTC in the past with no    success. The below quoted info is from the creator of gpl-violations.org  (Harald Welte)  and explains his attempts to alter HTC's policy with no success:

  "There have been various reports and blog posts about HTC again committing    copyright infringement by not fulfilling the GPLv2 license conditions in    their latest Android phone, the G2.  

While at this point I haven't studied the situation enough in order to    confirm or deny any actual violations, let me state this: The number of    GPL Violation reports/allegations that we receive at gpl-violations.org on    HTC by far outnumber the reports that we have ever received about any    other case or company.  

In addition, HTC seems to have had a long trail of problems with GPL    compliance in their devices. Ever since they have started to ship Android    devices containing the Linux kernel, licensed under GPLv2+, we have    received those reports.  

The reason I have never taken any legal action is merely a result of the    fact that HTC seems to first introduce their new devices in the US, then    at some point release the corresponding source code before shipping those    devices into Europe and Germany. So by the time the devices are sold over    here, the legal issues appear to have been resolved before.  

Nonetheless, I think it is outrageous for a company of this size and    significance in the market to consistently commit copyright violation (or    at least walk borderline with it) and thus mistreat the very copyright    holders that have created the operating system kernel they use in their    devices. The linux kernel developers and the Free Software community as a    whole deserve fair treatment.  

Also, the competitors of HTC deserve fair treatment: Samsung, e.g. is very    forthcoming with their Android phone source code releases. If I was them    and would see HTC to fail to comply with the GPL, I would consider filing    a unfair competition lawsuit..." (Harald Welte)

This is a follow up post on his blog where he explains more:

"The Taiwanese smart phone maker HTC is widely known to be delaying its    Linux kernel source code releases of their Android products. Initially,    this has been described to to the requirement for source code review, and    making sure that no proprietary portions are ending up in the release.  

While the point is sort-of moot from the beginning (there should be no    proprietary portions inside the Linux kernel for a product that wants to    avoid entering any legal grey zone in the first place), I was willing to    accept/tolerate it for some time.  

At one point more than one year ago, gpl-violations.org actually had the    opportunity to speak in person to senior HTC staff about this. I made it    very clear that this delay is not acceptable, and that they should quickly    fix their processes in order to make sure they reduce that delay,    eventually down to zero.  

Recently, I received news that the opposite is happening. HTC still has    the same delays, and they are now actually claiming that even a 120 days    delay is in compliance with the license.  

I do think neither the paying HTC customers, nor tha Free Software    community as a whole have to tolerate those delays. It is true that the    GPLv2 doesn't list a deadline until when the source code has to be    provided, but it is at the same also very clear what the license wants: To    enable people to study the program source code. Especially in todays rapid    smart phone product cycles, 120 days is a very long time.  

So I hereby declare my patience has ended here. I am determined to bring    those outrageous delays to an end. This will be one of my new year    resolutions for 2012: Use whatever means possible to make HTC understand    that this is not how you can treat Free Software, the community, its    customers, the GPL and in the end, copyright itself."  (Harald Welte)

The goal of this petition is not to bring down HTC but rather to have them    change their ways when it comes to releasing source code. We would like to    see source the same day as updates and phone releases so that developers    can make use of this code; play with it, learn from it, and promote future    development on HTC devices.

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    1. Reached 2,500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Michael Perry LEXINGTON, SC
      • almost 2 years ago

      I have been using HTC phones for three years now, and deplore Samsungs build quality. However, I am using custom software that is making a lackluster device now on par with currently released technology.

      The point is, there is no good reason to make anyone wait, especially not your repeat customers, for what they paid good money for, no to disallow them to do with their device what they will. Besides, the development community is full of brilliant minds that will always find a workaround, which therefore invalidates any point to attempting a permanent lock to begin with.

      I must say, HTC was on top of the market three years ago. It may be worth while to reflect what has changed since then. If not, then Samsung may gain back credibility and what monies they whish to take from me, money that would otherwise be yours.

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    • Steve Patton NILES, OH
      • almost 2 years ago

      Development is way to important on any phone. HTC is lagging behind simply because of this. Heck, the samsung galaxy S2 had the ICS sources out the day samsung pushed the OTA's

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    • Chris tha CrooK ORLANDO, FL
      • about 2 years ago

      I develop, and waiting on source is time consuming. Members of this community contribute to the kernel they are withholding and this practice is wrong. While highly unlikely that I would purchase another HTC product, a change could affect my decision

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    • Will Godzson BELLEVIEW, FL
      • about 2 years ago

      For Development and Business Productivity

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    • Joshua Larks FAIRFIELD, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      I love HTC phones and I love to see what the developers can do with them. If the Devs switch to Samsung unfortunately, so will I.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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