After a few Touchpad owners were surprised to find Android loaded on their supposed-to-be-webOS-loaded Touchpads, the developers got in touch with HP to get the source code of the Android version shipped.
According to CMtouchpad
HP distributed modified Linux kernel as part of the Android that shipped on at least three units (location is known, users requested the source from HP – confirmed).
This is a clear GPL violation on HP part, so hopefully we can pursue on this.
There is a detailed discussion on this issue which is a serious blot on HP’s so called stringent quality control. HP has launched an investigation to get to the root of this blunder.
HP Palm doesn’t support Android and has not authorized anyone to provide consumers with the Android OS for Touchpad, either separately or loaded on the device. Additionally, anyone who loads Android on their Touchpad voids their warranty.
When the matter was pursued by GPL advocates, the following email was sent by Oleg Drokin to HP
That is not my question.
It seems HP have distributed copies of Linux Kernel software on some units shipped with Android operating system.
I hold a partial copyright to that software and my code is included in the resultant binary.
This Linux kernel version included (and I got a copy of the binary to verify) is significantly different from the kernel sources distributed by HP.
I am in contact with several persons that have received this Android OS from HP on their new Touchpad tablets and requested the source.
As such we are asking HP to provide the source of the aforementioned Linux kernel software to fulfill
HP’s legal obligations under GPL license.
In response to the ongoing hubbub, HP’s Director of Open Source Program Office, Phil Robb replied,
It’s nice to meet you. I too am an open source advocate.
Let me begin by saying that HP is a proud and committed member of the open source community, and the Linux development community in particular. We take our participation and obligation to this community, and the licenses associated with its software very seriously.
As for the Touchpad units that have been allegedly purchased with a version of Android on them, we have begun an internal investigation on this within HP. We have confirmed that HP never authorized the distribution of any version of Android on the HP Touchpad. In addition, from a review of our manufacturing process, we believe that all Touchpad units have been shipped out of manufacturing with the webOS operating system only, and that no Touchpad units were shipped with Android, even by mistake. Hence, we presently believe that some person or persons unknown may have facilitated the delivery of these Android-based units strictly against the policy and authorization of HP.
Regarding your specific request for source code below, I must decline at the present time. HP has never authorized the distribution of any binaries for Android in association with the HP Touchpad. Therefore, HP is not under any license obligation to provide any corresponding Android source code to you. Hopefully, this doesn’t come across too harsh. As always, any member of the public can access all open source software source code distributions and other open source software licensing information for the HP webOS software products at any time at http://opensource.palm.com/.
For those of you in the development community actively working to port Android to the Touchpad, we applaud your efforts. HP has a strong commitment to your freedoms as a developer and technology enthusiast. It is your device and you can do with it what you want. If you want to put Android on your Touchpad, or Meego, or one of the altered webOS kernels from webOSInternals.org, you are welcome to do so (at your own risk of course). While HP supports your freedom to do this, we are not part of the community behind such efforts. HP believes that the version of webOS that we deliver on the Touchpad is a superior user experience for our customers, and the best development platform for today’s and tomorrow’s mobile applications and services. WebOS is where HP spends its development and support efforts.
Thank you very much for bringing this matter to our attention. As you know, it is a significant detriment to HP and HP’s participation in and relationship with the open source community to have non-authorized Android software delivered on HP Touchpad devices. If you can provide any information that will help us track down who is providing these unauthorized Touchpads and where they might be coming from, I would greatly appreciate it.
Now logically, if the issue was found in any Touchpads before they left the distributors/retailers, the implications could be very serious because it is HP’s duty to check on everything including the licensing.
This would be very hard to prove that HP has shipped the devices with Android pre-installed. I am no legal expert but this seems the a case of foul play for sure.
Stay tuned for more