December 30th, 2010


Android tablet GPL summary

It's after Christmas, and the stores are full of Android tablets ranging in quality from mediocre to competent. Obviously, they're also ranging in terms of GPL compliance from "utter failure" to "pretty good". I've written a summary page here so you have:
  • Some idea of whether you're funding the theft of sweets from innocent children
  • Some idea of whether there's any realistic chance of you getting further updates once the vendor has decided that last year's devices are, well, last year
  • Some idea of just how bad the situation is
The vast majority of Android tablets I've been able to find are shipping without any source being made available, and that includes devices from well-known vendors. It's pretty much a given from the ones you've never heard of.

It's probably also worth noting that many of the devices in this list are probably rebadged versions of identical hardware, and that in some cases the same model may in fact refer to wildly different devices. There's a few cases where I've ended up with model numbers without any idea who the vendor is. If anyone has any corrections or updates, please feel free to let me know.

(Side note: People sometimes ask why Google aren't doing more to prevent infringing devices. For the vast majority of these cases, Google's sole contribution has been to put Android source code on a public website. Red Hat own more of the infringing code than Google do. There's no real reason why Google should be the ones taking the lead role here, and there's fairly sound business reasons why it's not in their interest to do so)