[OFFICIAL]Team up toward HTC for timely source code releases! [PETITION LIVE]
Well i started a thread about how we need source and everyones favorite mod sgt.slaughter came in and broke up the keyboard warrior fest and shed some light on us and told us to all start asking about source using the example of the folks in the 3d forums who teamed up to get a bootloader unlock which while its kinda half assed, at least they did something.
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 This wait is far too long however because after this time and they finally release the source code it may be out of date by 2 maybe 3 updates. This hinders the development on said devices because once a phone is updated, the only source they have to work with is outdated and may be either very hard to work into the new update or even impossible to use on the new software.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.
Anyway lets get to the point. Below there is links to their email, twitter, facebook, etc and you guys message them and post what you said below and i will add it to the op here so others can use that message.
also, as sgt.slaughter said, DONT ASK ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN SOURCE. We need to stick to the point here. Don't threaten them or rage at them.
Spread this to other HTC Device forums that aren't getting source if you know of any, the more people we get to the better.
Mods i will update this as often as possible if people actually follow it so perhaps a temp sticky?
Also don't flood this with a bunch of "I won't buy HTC again" talk. It will just make this harder.
Today 8/9/12 i received an email back from HTC giving me the same B.S. they give everyone about the 90 days. Heres the email.
Dear Mike Malloy,
Thank you for contacting HTC regarding Kernel Source code. I know that this code is important to the development community and I will be happy to assist you with the correct information regarding this.
HTC will release source code in accordance with any applicable open source license terms, i.e. GPL v2.0. HTC will typically publish on http://developer.htc.com or htcdev.com the Kernel open source code for recently released devices as soon as possible. HTC will normally publish this within 90 to 120 days. This time frame is within the requirements of the open source community. Other source codes, which are not required to be disclosed by the open source license terms, unfortunately cannot be disclosed by HTC as they may be proprietary to HTC or its licensor.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week, Mike.
If this answers your comment or question, please click here to complete the process.
To submit another comment, please click here.
The HTCDev Team
--------------------------- then i sent this
No where in the GPL does it state that you guys have 90 days to release the source code nor does it give you a grace period. you guys have the code already all that has to be done is a simple upload. samsung does it, motorola does it, why can't HTC release their code within a few days of an update? a petition is being started on xda-developers where there is a lot of people that feel the same way and it will only get bigger. you guys will be hearing a lot from us soon.
Dear Mike Malloy,
Thank you for your reply. Your feedback has been forwarded to the appropriate department for documentation. I hope you enjoy your week!
Quotes from you guys:
Originally Posted by Racer Of All
Hello and thank you for writing in.
Since we are discussing the Linux Kernel, I will refer to version 2 of
the GPL. GPLv2 lays out the terms under which a party can distribute a
work in "object code or executable form" in section 3. The party in
question must do so in one of three ways, but for commercial entities
such as HTC only the first two are relevant: Accompany the binary with
the source (section 3.a), or accompany the binary with a written offer
to provide the source (section 3.b).
Complying with section 3 via subsection (a) is the fastest, safest and
easiest way since section 3 compliance is achieved immediately; you get
the binary and the source together. But according to your description
HTC has opted for section 3.b instead. It is true that section 3.b
doesn't spell out exactly how fast the offer for the corresponding
source code must be deal with, but note that it doesn't explicitly state
a grace-period either. So in order to be in compliance with distribution
under section 3.b, a timely response would be best.
I hope this answer is of help. If you have further questions, please
feel free to write back.
I am not a lawyer, the above is not legal advice
I am writing to address the current business practice adopted by HTC in which source code is made available to the development community up to 120 days after the official consumer release. While I am a staunch supporter of HTC and its products, I feel that collaboration with the development community can be somewhat lacking in comparison with other manufactures in the same market space. For example, Samsung frequently releases source code prior to or at the same time as the official consumer release of their products and OTA updates. As a result, the open source development for their devices is able to advance much more quickly in comparison to the competing HTC handsets. I have seen this particular issue cause frustration with other users and developers and has influenced some to switch from the EVO 4G LTE to the Samsung Galaxy S3 in order to enjoy the comparatively expedited release of source code from the manufacturer.
I believe one of the main strengths of the Android platform is its open source nature and the fact that there are so many developers willing to provide features and enhancements for those that desire them. Many users share this belief and it is a key factor in their decision to purchase an Android handset. However, in order for the development community to thrive, a timely release of source code is needed. I personally would like to see HTC devices become even more pervasive and I believe that adhering to the GNU General Public License by releasing source code at the same time as, or even prior to, the generally available OTAs would greatly increase the likelihood of acheiving this.
I have been posting this on their facebook walls fee free to use it.
HTC when are you going to follow the GPL and stop using the 90 day excuse? No where does the GPL state that you have 90 days to release it nor does it give a grace period. Use samsung as an example. They release their source code within a few hours of an update if not prior to one. Why can't you do the same? All that your hesitation causes is frustration among the developer community and hinder development for your devices. We know you take some ideas from us because you have decided to swap the recent apps key and use it as a menu which the developers have done on the evo lte within a week of the phones release. We scratch your back, you scratch ours.
"i don't like vacuums, they suck" - a very silly drifter
true, perhaps submit this to the xda portal and then maybe expand to other sites such as engadget? i already started spreading it to themikmik but only in the evo lte section so far. add me on google talk and we will collaborate. ill send my email via pm
"i don't like vacuums, they suck" - a very silly drifter
need to toss in examples of how HTC is failing compared to the other manufacturers in terms of time they release source...cite Samsung and Motorola and time of OTA released to devices, and then time they released their source code...Show HTC that they are the ONLY one's playing this 90day rule bs crap and its hurting the development community greatly, in turn causing people to leave...
I will be sending emails to the aforementioned news sources as well as my tech friends. It really is a shame companies like HTC can get away with violating the GPL like this. If only we could convince a person with copyright on part of the Linux kernel to join our ranks we could win overnight
Oh in addition to the above email I send them I also found another one that was between a head dev of red hat Linux, I'll see if I can dig it up.
EDIT: Found it, post by Matthew Garrett, developer of red hat linux posted the next couple of entries. They are very interesting reads about the entire situation:
As has been discussed before, HTC have a somewhat "interesting" interpretation of the GPL that allows them to claim they don't need to provide source code until between 90 and 120 days after the release of binaries. It's probably noteworthy that the FSF (who, you know, wrote the license and all) disagree with this interpretation, as do the kernel copyright holders (who, you know, wrote the code that the license covers) I've talked to about it. Anyway, after a pile of screaming and shouting from all sides HTC have tended to release their source code in a timely manner. So things seemed better.
HTC released the Thunderbolt last week and we're back to the 90-120 day song and dance. It's probably worth remembering that by behaving in this way HTC gain a competitive advantage over any vendors who obey the terms of their license - HTC can incorporate improvements made by others without releasing their own until through a significant portion of the lifecycle of their phone.
As far as I'm concerned, every single Thunderbolt sold so far embodies a copyright infringement. Wilfully engaging in copyright infringement for commercial benefit is typically frowned upon by courts, especially if by doing so a foreign company is gaining commercial advantage over a domestic one. If you think Microsoft's patent assault on Android is a problem, just imagine what they could do if they hired one significant Linux kernel developer and used their copyrights to attack the overwhelming majority of Android vendors who fail to comply with the GPL. It probably wouldn't be industry ending (companies would merely have improve their compliance procedures) but it'd do a huge deal of damage in the short term. It's insane for companies to behave this way. Don't reward them by giving them your money.
I'll be talking about this at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit next month, along with an update on my study of the compliance of Android tablets. I'm hoping that there'll be further developments after that.
Also let me make this clear (because I've seen people bring this up before): people here aren't complaining that without source we can't do anything or that our devs REQUIRE it. The point is that the Linux kernel is licensed under the GPL and that our devs SHOULDN'T NEED to work without it. It's free open sourced code. We don't care for the "but HTC has hundreds of phones to support please give them time!@!" argument either. The GPL is pretty clear, you can use anything licensed under it but if you release a commercial product with it, source MUST be released and source code is easier to distribute than the binary they built using it. It's a non-issue for them.
Sorry for the massive edit. I just love open source software and the advantages it provides for technology and by proxy -- society. I mean, open source is literally everywhere and I can't stand companies with big bucks being able to "buy" their way out of what open source stands for. If you use something licensed under the GPL you MUST provide source. You don't have a day, you don't have a week. You have to either release it alongside the binary or provide it upon request.
I'm done :P
Sent from my Nexus 7
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