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XDA-Developers and the GPL

OP laufersteppenwolf

17th June 2014, 10:46 PM   |  #1  
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Dear Developers

I'm sure you already heard about the GPL around the forums. In case you did not, the GPL ("GNU General Public License") is the most common license that affects many projects, like the Linux Kernel (the Linux Kernel is licensed under the GPLv2). This affects us, XDA and its members, as we are often working with the Linux Kernel (every Android platform runs on top of the Linux Kernel).
You may ask yourself now "Well, that's nice, but how does this affect me and what does the GPL do?" The answer is pretty simple actually: The GPL guarantees users to examine, modify and share their and others code by enforcing open-sourceness. This means you are free to use any GPL'ed sourcecode for your project, but you must make your used code publically available again.

Now, as many advantages this has, it also means quite some work for us developers. All used sources must be completely public by the time the compiled binary (like a Kernel) goes online. Another requirement is, that the OP must include all information to compile the exact same binary as uploaded by the developer. This means you need to specify:
  • The used toolchain including its version (linking to your toolchain source is always a good idea)
  • The used defconfig
  • The link to your sourcecode (including the used branch, tags,...)
  • If used, also upload your scripts used for the compilation
If you upload a kernel, publish the source, but the source is not compilable, it means you are breaking the GPL as you did not release the used source. Breaking the GPL actually means breaking the law, which means the sanctions on XDA could possibly be the least of your problems...

Example:
Quote:

GPL:
- Used sources (cm-10.1 branch)
- Used defconfig
- Used toolchain
- Used scripts

@ROM devs, using a precompiled kernel
As you are not compiling the kernel yourself, you do not have to give the above information. However, you have to link to the source of your kernel binary (for example: link to the OP of the used kernel). If you use the stock kernel, you must state this. Linking to the stock sources is not a requirement, but it is not the worst idea.
Keep in mind; if the kernel used is not GPL compliant, your ROM is not GPL compliant either. This may cause your thread to be closed and/or further action on your account may be taken.

Example:
Quote:

GPL:
The kernel included in this ROM is located HERE. I have not altered anything.

If you need/want further information, you might want to take a look at THIS news article written by our Developer Admin pulser_g2
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