Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Open Source Apache

Popular Android ROM Accused of GPL Violation 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the small-details-like-compliance dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A petition has recently been started to get the developer of the popular Android 'MIUI' ROM, Chinese based Xiaomi, to comply with the GPL. While Android itself is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License, and therefore does not actually require derivative works to be FOSS, the Linux kernel itself is GPL-licensed and needs to remain open. Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Popular Android ROM Accused of GPL Violation

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:02PM (#42050153)

    not just their modifications, but all the gpl sources. they only need to make this available to their own customers.

  • Popular? (Score:4, Funny)

    by the_humeister (922869) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:14PM (#42050277)

    More popular than Cyanogenmod? As popular? Less popular? I've never heard of this thing. Must be popular in China.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:16PM (#42050289)

      It is a fork of Cynogenmod, with better skins and themes. I dont think they have any kernel modifications to share.

    • Re:Popular? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CritterNYC (190163) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:44PM (#42050509) Homepage
      It's a Cyanogenmod fork designed to look like iOS. It's been in violation of the GPL since its very first release. MIUI users always try and minimize the fact that it's basically illegal software.
    • Re:Popular? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:49PM (#42050543) Homepage

      Xiaomi was launched last year to great applause in China. It was lauded as an original Chinese innovation in smartphones, the company was great, CEO smart, etc. I almost bought one myself, but decided I couldn't live without a physical keyboard (HTC Desire Z). They're coming out with a new phone soon [engadget.com].

      It's not that they are being selfish by refusing to share. It simply has never occurred to anyone at the company that there might be rules to follow and a community to participate in. To Chinese, IP is just something that may be freely copied by anyone, slightly modified, and released as your own (when it is no longer OK to copy it, naturally). Ten feet from where I am sitting right now, a man is watching videos of packaging machines in operation and drawing the mechanisms on a CAD program. He is in the R&D department.

      • by vivtho (834049) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:26PM (#42050823) Homepage
        Please correct me if I'm wrong, but as long as he's only replicating the operation of the machine and not its internal working, isn't he just reverse-engineering the machine? AFAIK reverse-engineering is legitimate in the eyes of the law.
        • by msauve (701917) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:39PM (#42050941)
          "reverse-engineering is legitimate in the eyes of the law."

          Not if the device uses something which is patented. That holds, even if the "new" one is developed completely independently.
          • Re:Popular? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:40AM (#42051345)

            Strange, patenting software is only legally allowed in what, three countries in the world? China is most certainly not one of them. Why should they care about it any more then a US woman cares about getting stoned for adultery?

            • by somersault (912633) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @07:03AM (#42053271) Homepage Journal

              The GPL isn't enforced via patents, it's enforced via copyright.

              So you can copy software concepts in most countries if you want - but if you copy someone else's actual source code, that's illegal by default. They have to make the code available under an open license before you are allowed to copy/distribute it.

        • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:54PM (#42051069)

          DNS-and-BIND specified the mechanisms, which I assume means the internal workings. It might not even be illegal in the US to do that anyways (IANAL, I don't know, but seems like unless it is patented you can copy it), mind you, it just illustrates that some Chinese consider that "research".

        • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:10AM (#42051495) Homepage
          Who cares about the legal niceties? To him, and the company, he is engaged in legitimate research and development. While there is always something to be learned from your competitors, in China the balance is way out of whack. At the end of the day, ask him if he spent his time ripping off a foreign company's hard work or developing new, fresh Chinese indigenously produced technology. Go ahead, guess what his answer will be.
      • by tobiasly (524456) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:18AM (#42051799) Homepage

        Ten feet from where I am sitting right now, a man is watching videos of packaging machines in operation and drawing the mechanisms on a CAD program. He is in the R&D department.

        Using a fully licensed copy of AutoCAD, no doubt.

      • by Raenex (947668) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:53PM (#42060415)

        Ten feet from where I am sitting right now, a man is watching videos of packaging machines in operation and drawing the mechanisms on a CAD program. He is in the R&D department.

        Research and development generally involves looking at what others have done before you. What comes out of it depends on how much you want to innovate or tweak for your own needs.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:43AM (#42052289)

      I would say pretty damn popular. It's not as popular as Cyanogenmod, but it works on a wide range of devices and is probably second place in terms of custom roms for android supporting many devices

  • Petitioning China? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FSWKU (551325) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:21PM (#42050337)
    You go ahead and sign that online petition to "force" a Chinese company to play fair. Hope you have better success than the hundreds of other companies from whom Chinese businesses have taken what they liked and given nothing back...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:28PM (#42050383)

    Copyrights? Patents? License?

    LOL

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:36PM (#42050447)
    From the linked article: -

    Android Community Demands MIUI ROM Comply With FOSS Licenses

    Question: Who exactly is the Android Community? Is it Google? Is it the folks at XDA? This statement is just confusing and vague!

    Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public."

    What can the authors of the above statement really do? Sue the Xiaomi folks? Impose sanctions on China if it fails to toe the line?

    Good luck with that!

  • Cyanogen fork (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aaron552 (1621603) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:41PM (#42050487) Homepage
    IIRC, it's a fork of Cyanogenmod, and (the non-Android part of) CM is also GPL, so they'd have to also distribute the modifications to CM. This, I think, is the larger infringement that people are annoyed about?
  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:11PM (#42050691)
    If they haven't made kernel modifications, they don't have to release their source code, just host a mirror of the original source.

    It's also China and since when was copyright followed in China?
  • by Rotten (8785) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @11:27PM (#42050837) Journal

    Android mod world (modded roms, cyanogen forks, custom kernels, etc) has tons of examples like this. People who distributes compiled kernels and refuses to share their patches because that way they would "loose" their "exclusive l33t" kernel, since some other modder/coder may "steal" their job (which is basically some minor editing or patch merging on top of a real kernel...samsung kernel for example...plus 10 lines of code to make something happen).

  • Bullshit summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by truedfx (802492) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:28AM (#42052187)
    From the summary:

    Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public.

    From the article:

    unless Xioami wants to develop a replacement for the Linux side of Android, they need to make their kernel modifications public.

    The article is correct. Xioami only needs to make their kernel modifications public. The fact that there happens to be a GPL program in Android (the kernel) doesn't mean all of Android is tainted by it. Showing whatever else they've modified is nice, but not required.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @07:26AM (#42053413)

    This article is bullshit. They have all their modifications accessible on their GitHub account: https://github.com/MiCode . This is way better than most Chinese companies using GPL.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb

Working...