Is the iPhone a GPL violator?

It's in Cisco's business interest to fully comply with the GPL in this case, even to invite community participation in enhancing the design. That's the only chance it has of being recognized by the market, and not just a court, as the real iPhone maker.

UPDATE: The subject of this story, Armijn Hemel, writes that he had a conference call, not a face-to-face meeting, with Cisco Systems, and chose to speak out at this time because Cisco is accusing Apple of IP violations when it's guilty of its own, and on the same product. I hope to interview Mr. Hemel directly soon.

No, not that iPhone.

I'm talking about the real iPhone, the Cisco iPhone, sometimes called the WIP300. (There it is at left. You can see what all the excitement is about.)

Slashdot has Armijn Hemel of the GPL Violations Project saying some source code for the Linux-based phone has not been published, which is a violation of the license agreement.

Specifically, he said, the Memory Technology Device used to program the unit's flash memory has not yet been revealed.

Hemel said he reverse-engineered the phone, and other Cisco products, looking for GPL violations, then quietly met with company representatives in September, who took care of most of the omissions during the fourth quarter. But the iPhone problems are still not solved, so he has decided to go public with them.

Cisco spokesman John Noh told me they're looking into it.

This doesn't seem to be a big story, more an embarrassment. It's in Cisco's business interest to fully comply with the GPL in this case, even to invite community participation in enhancing the design. That's the only chance it has of being recognized by the market, and not just a court, as the real iPhone maker.

 

 

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