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Just got curious. If Android is based on a modified Linux Kernel and its source code is closed, doesn't it violate the terms of GPL2, that GPL-derivatives must also supply their source code, "Liberty or Death"? :)

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closed as off topic by jw013, jasonwryan, Gilles, phunehehe, uther Oct 11 '12 at 11:48

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If you're interesed in GPL violations, have a look here (; their mailing lists also discuss Android-related issues. – sr_ Oct 10 '12 at 11:27
@sr_ - pretty much the same story as with me. Thanks. – Bob Oct 10 '12 at 11:43

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Android's source code is released by Google under open source licenses, although most Android devices ultimately ship with a combination of open source and proprietary software, including proprietary software developed and licensed by Google.

Open source part ( is licensed under Apache Software License, Version 2.0 ("Apache 2.0"), but with exceptions, for example, the Linux kernel patches are under the GPLv2 license and Google does not violate it.

While Google is following the letter of the GPL and LGPL licenses for code it is using in Android, other vendors that are using Android and are presumably modifying that kernel code are not compliant with these licenses.

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Ah, so, as Stallman says,…, Android3+ as a whole is not free, but its kernel part is (except for "binary blobs"). Thanks – Bob Oct 10 '12 at 11:29
Only Android 3.x isn't open. You can't say 3+ because 4.0 and up is open. Google is good about their kernel sources, but the manufacturers not so much - it takes a long time for the sources to be released, and sometimes they don't compile as is or have problems on devices so obviously are not the real source. – Drake Clarris Oct 10 '12 at 13:48
The GPL doesn't ask for you to provide source code for derivative works, it asks you to license them under the GPL. Were the Android runtime susceptible to the kernel's GPL requirements (which it isn't), the Apache license that Android (except 3.x) is released under would not suffice. – colons Oct 10 '12 at 14:16

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