Australian telco shares open-source code

Telstra has made the open-source elements used in some of its products publicy available, after a developer pointed out it is a condition of the GNU licence

Australia's biggest telecommunications company Telstra has made the open-source software components used to build its next-generation home telephone system publicly available.

The move comes after an Australian software developer criticised Telstra for keeping the components private last year. In November, local software developer Angus Gratton pointed out that a number of Telstra products introduced throughout 2010 — namely the T-Hub, T-Box media centre and potentially its T-Touch Tab tablet device — were based on the Linux operating system, which has substantial portions licensed under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL).

A common interpretation of the GPL is that it requires companies that distribute products based on that licence to make source code to the software available to customers. They must, for example, include a zip file of relevant files on a documentation CD. In addition, a copy of the GPL licence should be included with licence documentation. Following Gratton's comments, Telstra pledged to comply with applicable open-source licences.

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