A coffee-loving technoweenie named Cliff Biffle has unearthed some interesting information while playing around with his new Asus Eee PC. Apparently, there are GPL violations left and right. The GPL, as you’ll recall, is the license under which the Linux kernel is made available and basically says that you’re free to modify Linux provided you make your source code available to the general public.
Well the EeePC runs a variation of Xandros Linux, which is a variation of Debian Linux and Cliff Biffle found that Asus hasn’t exactly made its source code public like it’s supposed to under the GPL.
"ASUS is bound by the GPL to make the sources for the software they’re distributing available, even if they have not modified them. (Check the license if you don’t believe me.) ASUS has posted a 1.8GB ZIP file on their website that they claim is the sources, but it’s not — it contains a few .debs (not even the versions that ship on the machine) and some kernel headers. (Perhaps they figured nobody would pull 1.8GB from their slow-as-molasses site and find out.)"
Furthermore, it appears that ASUS has removed attribution information (author name, version, etc.) from kernal modules. That’s a big no-no.
While it’s possible that the ZIP file on Asus’ site accidentally is missing code or contains the incorrect source code, Cliff Biffle points out that Asus was found to have been involved in some similar activity concerning the GPL back in 2004.
More details at the link below.