Eken M001 (Wondermedia WM8505) GPL violation - how to proceed?
gus at projectgus.com
Sun Jul 11 07:19:32 CEST 2010
I have an Eken M001 android tablet, which is built around the WM8505 SoC
by Wondermedia, a fully owned subsidiary of VIA.
The tablet runs Linux 2.6.29 kernel, busybox, U-Boot, as well as some
hardware-specific kernel modules that are labelled as GPL licensed by
VIA (via modinfo). No source is available for any component.
I've contacted Eken twice now, and have yet to receive any response to
my emails. They're a small factory company in Shenzhen, China.
The WM8505 runs in many other cheap devices as well, but most
manufacturers have even less of a brand presence than Eken.
I've contacted VIA and spoken with Harald Welte, coincidentally enough.
He has told me that Wondermedia accompanied releases of the WM8505 SDK
with source code. He says vendors were informed of the GPL licensing
requirements. He sympathised with me, but said unfortunately
VIA/Wondermedia had no interest in proactively releasing source
themselves, above and beyond the license requirements. Which is, of
course, their legitimate choice.
The only kernels made available all seem to have been compiled by
simenxie at Szmce01. It is my suspicion - for a couple of reasons - that
this person works for VIA/Wondermedia. Not a problem in and of itself,
but I think it's quite possible that none of the hardware vendors have
been compiling kernels at all (even though they apparently have the
I read the Chitech thread from March and it seems like a similar case
(small Chinese firms worrying that shanzhai companies will copy them.)
Although in my case I believe noone has received any reply at all from
Eken regarding a GPL release, so there is no open dialogue to work from.
WM8505 devices are nearly always sold directly from China via
ebay/dealextreme/aliexpress/etc so AFAIK the only country where any
legal action could be mounted is China.
I was thinking if I can find a large vendor here in Australia then I
could try to lean on them to not violate GPL, and they could lean on
Eken in turn. But I don't think such a vendor exists.
Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to proceed?
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