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Dell Streak GPL snub enrages Android fans

Web 2.0 frenzy ensues

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It seems Dell hasn't quite got used to working with the GNU General Public Licence - it has failed to release some of the core code used by its Streak tablet, much to the annoyance of the open-source community.

Users of Dell's tablet/phone hybrid wouldn't notice, but Android fans are prone to a little hacking, and while some were attempting to build a replacement kernel it became clear that Dell hasn't been as open with its source as it should have been:

"I've just spent few hours trying to build android-msm-2.6.32 Linux kernel for Dell Streak" says smokku on the MoDaCo forums, "It turns out that it is impossible, without device specific board files. These files are in the Linux kernel source tree Dell used to build kernel for Streak and Dell is obliged under the terms of GPL, to give this source to any owner of Streak requesting it."

Nothing gets the Linux crowd more riled than someone failing to follow the GPL, which requires amendments to be shared, and the above posting is immediately followed by calls for a mass protest to flood Dell's Twitter feeds and Facebook presence.

To ensure that every Web 2.0 angle is covered, the self-styled Dell Streak Community has set up a petition to demand release of the code. It has attracted almost 300 signatures.

Not that Dell has explicitly refused to supply said code. The GPL requires no timetable for releasing source code and cooler heads on the forums do point out that the Streak team is pretty busy right now, and that it might be wiser to wait a few weeks before unleashing the full weight of protest.

But that would miss the fun of protesting from the comfort of one's chair, and enjoying the satisfaction of success when Dell releases the code (as it had probably always intended).

We've asked Dell if that is indeed its intention, and will let you know when we hear from them. ®

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