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A Linux developer is attempting to get the Singapore-based maker of a tablet device to comply with the GPL without taking the usual route of going to the courts.


Red Hat employee Matthew Garrett says he has written to the US Customs about the fact that Fusion Garage, the maker of the Joojoo tablet, has not provided him with the source code for the operating system that runs the device.

Garrett sent the letter based on advice offered by former Linux Journal publisher Don Marti on a web forum.

Marti wrote: "If you're a copyright holder, and the manufacturer exports to the USA, you can start an administrative proceeding with the US Customs Service. It looks much easier and less expensive than a court case.

"You don't get money damages, but the shipment doesn't get through Customs. The importer has to ship it back, destroy it, or turn it over to the copyright holder."

Garrett has contributed code to the kernel and thus qualifies as a copyright holder.

The kernel is released under the General Public Licence (version 2) and if anyone makes changes to the code and distributes it, then source has to be provided either along with the binary or else on request.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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