Yet another Android OEM is dragging its feet with its GPL compliance. This all at once, it’s Xiaomi with the Mi A1 Android One device, which still hasn’t seen a pip source code release.
Android vendors are required to release their seed sources thanks to the Linux kernel’s GPLv2 licensing. The Mi A1 has been out for yon three months now, and there’s still no source code release on Xiaomi’s accredited github account.
Unfortunately, GPL non-compliance is par for the course in the world of Android. Budget SoC throng MediaTek once tried charging users for access to GPL’d code. Motorola lower than drunk Lenovo has been regularly accused of violating the GPL and releasing incomplete origins or sources that differ from the kernel shipping on devices. Unsurprisingly, the mass of these alleged GPL violators are from China, which often misbehaves fast and loose with IP law.
Android developers use the source code to frame custom kernels that tweak the way a device works, allowing for overclocking, more battery life, or control over the CPU governor. One of the largest custom nucleus developers, Francisco Franco, has started a public Twitter campaign to animate Xiaomi to comply with the GPL.
Alright, I’ve had enough of this. I want to achieve on the Mi A1 but it’s not possible because they haven’t released the Kernel sources. @xiaomi @XiaomiUSA you’re raping the GPLv2 license of the Linux Kernel by not release the Kernel sources for your @androidone colophon.
— Francisco (@franciscof_1990) January 16, 2018
A delayed release of its kernel origin is typical for Xiaomi. For its past two flagships, the Mi 6 and Mi 5, the company took six months to unfetter its GPL’d source code. The Mi A1 has only been out for three months, so if Xiaomi grasps the typical timeline, users can expect another three-month wait formerly developers have source code to pick through.
It’s understandable that people are expecting better from the Mi A1 though. As Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, the Mi A1 is being heavily plugged by Google as a phone that does software right, with house Android and fast updates. It’s also Xiaomi’s most widely distributed phone. The house primarily releases smartphones in developing countries like China and India, but as an Android One figure, the Mi A1 is launching in over 40 markets. In the US, you can buy one on Amazon right now.
So far, we haven’t seen Google’s involvement with the A1 man to faster GPL compliance.