Here at XDA, we try very hard to work with everyone to resolve issues before they result in actions such as banning or locking threads. Unfortunately, hard as we try, we are not always able to meet those goals via ways that would be more desirable and seemingly more peaceful.
Here recently we have been having some issues with some Android devs who work with the Android Kernel. While we were able to work out the issues with quite a few devs we were sadly unable to reach such a peaceful settlement with the Android ROM dev Feeyo.
Before we go any farther into the underlying problems that we have had getting these issues resolved with this particular Android Dev, lets go over real quick what the main concern is about.
The Android kernel which is present in EVERY single ROM is an ever-growing community project. Android devs from all around the world have put their hard work into an open source project simply in an attempt to make the Android project better as a whole. While I am sure that all of these Android devs made these contributions to the kernels as a result of things that they wanted or needed to see develop within Android, they made their work available to ALL of us so that we could ALL benefit from their talents.
That being said, the Linux kernel is released under what is called the GNU GPL. (General Public License)
Basically this license allows for the Android kernel to be freely used and modified under the condition that the source of the kernel be released to the public. This "release" can be handled two ways, by either providing a direct link to the source where it can be downloaded, modified and reused under the GNU GPL, or by a written statement that offers the to provide the kernel source to anyone whom requests it. While I realize that I have only outlined a small portion of the GNU GPL, the bottom line here is that the COMPLETE and WORKING kernel source that was MODIFIED by anyone MUST be provided to the community, for any version of publicly released software.
You can find the full text of the GNU GPL licence here:
Herein, lies our problem. We here at XDA have had MULTIPLE interactions with the Android ROM dev, Feeyo, in regards to the specific problem that he has not followed these GNU GPL guidelines. There have been multiple instances where users have requested his Kernel source and he has continually refused to provide this source, or he has provided us with non working and otherwise incomplete source, or invalid or unmodified source.
The first thing we need to show is that Feeyo was MODIFYING the Android kernel source. Below is a screenshot that proves just that.
Above, you can see the Kernel version says "2.6.29-opt-40-Cronos feeyo@Cronos#1", The only known way to put you name there, in the kernel, is to modify and compile the kernel yourself. You have to edit a file within the kernel source called .config.
We also have proof by Feeyo’s own release notes in his ROMs that he has modified the kernel source code as well. For example, the changelog for his kernel below shows the changes made between versions.
Here is another screenshot where he talks of changes he made to his kernel:
All of that being said, Feeyo has definitely made various improvements to the Android Kernel source by modifying that source and he has publicly released this kernel to the community.
In an attempt to resolve this matter we made various outreaches to Feeyo, including a moderator by the name of 12aon making several attempts to get this resolved... I’ve added some screenshots of the dialog that they exchanged...
Here we can see that we were trying to resolve the issue with Feeyo and he stated that he would no longer provide or distribute the 2.6.32 Kernel that he was working on because he didn’t intend on releasing code with he labeled as “messy”.
Feeyo did indeed stop providing that 2.6.32 kernel as far as we know, however he then continued to modify the 2.6.29 kernel source and distribute that in his ROMs again without following the GNU GPL guidelines.The sources for this 2.6.32 kernel were never released.
It is the decision of the XDA moderators that since Feeyo has no rights to use or distribute the Linux kernel without making available his valid source code and modifications, his ROMs and associated kernel releases will be treated as warez under forum rule 6
Here in this screenshot we are again trying to get him to post the sources to his Kernel after he released a ROM that mention various enhancements or modifications to the Android Kernel that he was providing in his ROM. Feeyo then sent us another PM as shown below:
In this PM Feeyo is stating that he did provide his sources... However, it was not complete and was missing many things that were needed to compile the Android Kernel in such a fashion that it would run on the Hero. Additionally, as these sources are not kept up to date, they do not meet the requirements of the GPL to release sources as used to compile the distributed binary kernel.Below is the link to the thread that he posted containing his supposed kernel source:
Supposed Sources used in Cronos Droid early releases
That thread was locked to preserve proof to the fact that the source he provided was not complete. In fact, on post #11 within that thread he even confirms that the source is not complete, again this is not following the GNU GPL guidelines.
Additionally, the screenshots below show occasions where Feeyo acknowledged he would not provide complete sources, by deliberately withholding the entire kernel source or constituent parts.
We have made this long explanation of recent events available to you, the community, for two reasons.
First of all, we realize that Feeyo is a talented dev and that his ROMs are well liked within the community. With this in mind, we wanted it to be known that the decisions that we have made here today are not decisions that have been taken lightly or irrationally made. This decision included opinions from AT LEAST 5 other Senior mods here at XDA. We feel that a full explanation of our actions is something that we owe the community and we truly regret that it has come down to this.
Secondly, this will be a marking point, I don’t want to say that this is an example because it was never intended to be an example. However the fact remains that this incident has caused quite a stir within XDA and from this point on we will be making sure whenever possible that any Android dev that modifies and publicly releases the Android kernel is following the GNU GPL guidelines.
The GNU GPL guidelines are important because they ensure that credit is given where credit is due and it also ensures that continued improvement, advancement, and development of such products under the GNU GPL continue to ensue. As part of the Android community, which is an OPEN SOURCE community, we owe it to ourselves and the ENTIRE community to make sure that we are staying true to the notion of an open source platform. Keeping your sources to yourself while working on a project that is open source and released under the GNU GPL is not staying true to what being open source is all about.
At this point in time, Feeyo has received a 30 day temporary ban for refusing to help us resolve this matter in a peaceful manner and for ultimately violating Rule #6 and Rule #9 which state:
6. Do not post warez.
If a piece of software requires you to pay to use it, either pay or find your cracks and serials somewhere else. We do not accept warez nor do we permit any member to promote or describe ways in which Warez, cracks, serial codes or other means of avoiding payment, can be obtained.
9. Don't get us in trouble.
Don't post copyrighted materials or do other things that will obviously lead to legal trouble. If you wouldn't do it on your own homepage, you probably don't want to do it here either. This does not mean we agree with everything the software piracy lobby try to impose on us, it simply means you cannot break any laws here, since we'll end up dealing with legal hassle caused by you. Please use common sense: respect the forum, its users, and those that write great code.
During this time that Feeyo is away, we sincerely hope that he will come around and upon his return, which we thoroughly hope for, he will post the sources to his Android kernel changes in the spirit of the open source community and the GNU GPL and participate in a more supporting manner.
The XDA Moderator team