Following weeks of requests from open-source developers, HTC has released the Hero Android source code on their developer site.
In response to the mobile devs, HTC has previously stated it was waiting for its own developers to provide the source before releasing it publicly. As late as last week, HTC representatives had emailed developers saying, “At the moment we do not know when the kernel source for the Hero will be released,” and “We are still pushing our developers to provide us with the source code and for the links to be added.” Since the Android kernel is licensed under the GPL, this delay was creating both dissatisfaction and controversy in the community.
However, just as a few developers were beginning to talk about enforcement actions, the company posted the code, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Or something along those lines. GPL non-compliance and hints of internal process and delivery issues don’t mode well for the mobile manufacturer. After unfavorable coverage of the company’s “foot-dragging” on Slashdot and long threads of modev complaints, we do hope that HTC’s future Android projects will be more swiftly opened.
The Hero, as a device, is significant in itself, hence the enhanced perception of cruelty in HTC’s not releasing its source code sooner. It’s created huge waves in geek circles, beating out the iPhone for Gadget of the Year at the prestigious T3 awards and generating enough gadget-geek slavering to power a small city.
So, will the gadget geeks and modevs have to push for open sourcing every time a cool, Android-powered device is released? Where was the major malfunction that led to these delays? Were the HTC engineers thrown under the bus to allow leadership to save face, or do the HTC powers that be simply need to get their engineering team under control? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.