History of a GPL Source Code Request

Weeks have passed and still no update from HTC regarding the availability of the HTC Desire’s Linux kernel source code. Let’s take a look back at the history of the case: On April 3rd, I initially asked for the Desire’s Linux kernel source code in accordance with the GPLv2. A couple of mails and a few weeks later, HTC finally escalated the support ticket and eventually forwarded my request to R&D on April 16th.

The history so far:

Me (April 3rd, 2010):

Dear HTC support,

I would hereby like to request the Linux Kernel source code for my HTC Desire phone according to section 3 of the GNU General Public License v2 under which the Linux kernel the Desire is based on is licensed. A download URL will be fine.

Thanks,
Thilo

HTC (April 3rd, 2010):

Dear Thilo-Alexander

Thank you for your enquiry about linux.

Sorry we don’t support Linux, even though linux and android have similarities they’re not made for eachother. But here is the link for our kernals http://developer.htc.com/, happy Easter!

Best regards,

xxxx x
HTC Tech Support
www.htc.com
Tel: +44 8458900xxx

Me (April 3rd, 2010):

Well, it surprises me that you are not aware of the fact that all your Android phones have a Linux operating system running on them. Anyway, the URL you pointed me to does not contain a link to the Desire’s Kernel sources, so I am again requesting access to the Desire’s Kernel source code in compliance with the GNU Public License (GPL) that applies to the Linux Kernel built into the Desire’s ROM.

If you are uncertain about the implications of this source code request or not familiar with the GPL, please forward my inquiry to the next level.

HTC (April 3rd, 2010):

Dear Thilo-Alexander

Thank you for your enquiry about linux kernel.

When it comes to the the Desire, it hasn’t been releast fully yet. But keep following that site it will be there, but we’re aware of the kernel being used but we don’t support linux specifically. Sorry i can’t issue any other information at this time, but still have a happy easter..

Best regards,

xxxxx x
HTC Tech Support
www.htc.com
Tel: +44 8458900xxx

Me (April 10th, 2010):

Dear xxxxx,

unfortunately, the GPL does not leave HTC with this freedom of choice. As soon as the binary code has been published (which it has by means of the HTC desire device I bought) HTC is obliged to instantly release the source code (including any custom modifications) on request.

Please escalate this issue to your head office in Taiwan.

Thanks,
Thilo

HTC (April 12th, 2010):

Dear Thilo

Thank you for your enquiry about escalation.

This case has already been escalated, but i’ve escalated your care personally again. And your answer should be on our site in the form of the kernal, since the device is so new it could take a while. But i give my word that your case is escalated!
Thank you for your time, and have a nice day!

Best regards,

xxxxx x
HTC Tech Support
www.htc.com
Tel: +44 8458900xxx

HTC (April 16th, 2010):

Dear Thilo

Thank you for your enquiry about escalation

May have some news for you soon, but please what build number is on your device?

Best regards,

xxxxx x
HTC Tech Support
www.htc.com

Me (April 16th, 2010):

Dear xxxxx,

thank you for your reply. The build number of my HTC Desire is “1.15.405.4 CL155070 release-keys”.

Kind regards,
Thilo

Since then, nothing happened…

While this probably does not matter at all to the average user of their phones, it just turns out to be a major annoyance for me while I am trying to track down a nasty bug in their Android kernel, which prevents applications from working correctly while the device’s screen is turned off…

gpl-violations.org, anyone?

P.S.: Seems, I am not the only one facing that issue.

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6 Responses to “History of a GPL Source Code Request”

  1. kali says:

    no more news?

  2. JD says:

    Yep, any news?

  3. Unfortunately, not. Even after involving gpl-violations.org HTC does not seem to care.

  4. [...] scoperta รจ stata fatta da un utente che richiedendo espressamente via mail all’assistenza HTC i sorgenti per il suo telefono ha [...]

  5. Nice, thanks a lot! :-)

    Unfortunately, it is most likely not identical to the Kernel shipped with the Desire’s ROM (different fingerprint).

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