remixos

[Updated] The Popular Android-based Remix OS Violate GPL and Apache License

After the previous review of Remix OS I received a comment with interested information about Remix OS USB Tool. My small personal research found that Remix OS developers have a zero tolerance for the code licenses and work of other peoples.

Part 1. Unetbootin

Remix OS USB Tool – software for Windows included in the Remix OS archive.

Just look at this screenshot:

Minimum differences with UNetbootin! Just new icons and micro changes in GUI interface. Need more information and do not trust to your eyes? Not a problem – just unpack remixos-usb-tool-B2016011102.exe:

// file list
$ ls -l
total 4752
-rw-r----- 1 paul paul 4866048 Jan 17 22:22 remixos-usb-tool-B2016011102.exe

// unpack with 7-zip tool
$ 7z e remixos-usb-tool-B2016011102.exe

$ ls
1  1.ico  IDI_ICON1  remixos-usb-tool-B2016011102.exe  UPX0  UPX1  version.txt

$ cat version.txt
FILEVERSION    1,1,1,1
PRODUCTVERSION 1,1,1,1
FILEFLAGSMASK  0x0
FILEFLAGS      0x0
FILEOS         VOS_UNKNOWN
FILETYPE       VFT_UNKNOWN
FILESUBTYPE    0x0
{
  BLOCK "StringFileInfo"
  {
    BLOCK "040904E4"
    {
      VALUE "CompanyName",       "Geza Kovacs"
      VALUE "FileVersion",       " "
      VALUE "FileDescription",   "UNetbootin - Universal Netboot Installer - http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net"
      VALUE "InternalName",      "UNetbootin - Universal Netboot Installer"
      VALUE "LegalCopyright",    "Copyright - Geza Kovacs - License - GNU GPL v2+"
      VALUE "LegalTrademarks",   " "
      VALUE "OriginalFilename",  "unetbootin.exe"
      VALUE "ProductName",       "UNetbootin - Universal Netboot Installer"
      VALUE "ProductVersion",    " "
    }
  }
  BLOCK "VarFileInfo"
  {
    VALUE "Translation", 0x409, 1252
  }
}

Take a look at VALUE “FileDescription”:

VALUE "FileDescription",   "UNetbootin - Universal Netboot Installer - http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net"

Yes, it’s really rebrand UNetbootin that licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) Version 2 or above. The GPL says:

You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program’s source code as you receive it;

Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;

Remix OS USB Tool distributes without the source codes.

You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

No information about the modified files.

Part 2. Android-x86

Remix OS is based on Android-x86 Project and even have the same boot logo:

And the same platform in build.prop:

$ grep -i "android-x86" build.prop
ro.product.model=Remix Android-x86_64
ro.board.platform=android-x86

I was extracting NOTICE.html from Android-x86 5.1 image and latest build of Remix OS. Let’s compare it:

$ diff -u NOTICE-remixos.html NOTICE-andx86.html

Output is absolutely clear – no differences! No authors, no changed files, no trademarks, just copy-paste development.

Android-x86 licensed under Apache Public License 2.0 that says:

You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You changed the files;

You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works;

In webpage “About” on the official website, I also can’t find information about Android-x86 fork.

Short resume: the Remix OS Project doesn’t seem as serious big project.

Update: some peoples was sent requests for the source code to Jide support: thread 1, thread 2, thread 3. Answer to thread 2 is phenomenal:

the answer is no. You are not a partner of Jide. Remix OS isn’t open source.

No comments. Maximum that I can do in this situation – write the claim to GPL Violation and say: please do not use any software or hardware from the Jide company.

Update2: Jide was publish the part of source code: Remix OS USB Tool, kernel and installer.

Read more:

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Remix OS – Android-based OS For Desktop: Extended Review, Video Demonstration and Installation Instruction

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  • Jerry Casiano

    Did they refuse to give you the source?
    Did you even ask?
    You don’t say…

    You seem to have a problem with them? If you didn’t, you would contact them about your concerns and post something like this only after they failed to comply.

    Slow news day, huh?

    As it stands, this post comes across as both amateurish and petty. This website doesn’t seem “as big serious project”.

    Also, their modified version looks much better, cleaner, more professional. Those changes should definitely go upstream.

    Note : I have no affiliation or even more than a passing interest in this project

    • shintaro07
      • Antar

        These are people asking for the source of the OS itself, which like android-x86 is under the Apache License. You aren’t required to release sources under the Apache License. The sources they need to give out is the kernel + unetbootin. Has anyone asked them for those ?

        • Syke01

          I know it’s hard to click links, but had you actually done so, you’d have noticed that the 3rd link posted was a request for the Linux kernel, to which Jide has not responded in over 2 months.

      • Jerry Casiano

        Just furthers my point, doesn’t it?

        Probably took you all of two minutes to find those posts.

        Would have taken another two minutes to fire off an email.

        Then you could include that in your post, with a note that you’re waiting for a response and will update the post accordingly.

        Simple steps that would have made the original seem like it was done in good faith.

        Yeah, I know hindsight…

        In any case, as I said, I couldn’t care less about this Android project, is not something I’m really interested in. I just find this post lazy, unprofessional and sensationalist. That’s all. And it’s not the first time I clicked a link to this site and was disappointed by the quality of the content so this time I felt like pointing it out.

        Maybe it should be called The Linux Clickbait Project instead…

        Whatever works.

  • john

    Some Remix OS fanboys are getting their panties caught tight in their cr****es. Freakin’ hate fanboys.

    I’m also looking forward to a final and stable build of RemixOS but that doesn’t excuse a project, that wants to be taken seriously, from dotting “i”s and crossing “t”s. They screwed up the EULA (which they later fixed), they screwed up crediting & properly linking previous (important, OPEN SOURCE) work.

    I work with a small group of developers myself and have been in software development for over 25 years. In my experience, if you can’t even get the *simple* details right, you probably have lots of sloppy/lazy code too. Good article – important to keep anyone in the field honest with useful criticisms. It makes the entire industry stronger as a result.

    • Kalifornia Kitsune

      “In my experience, if you can’t even get the *simple* details right, you probably have lots of sloppy/lazy code too.”

      Well, considering you’ve got every detail about this whole thing wrong, yourself, guess what? I bet your code is absolute utter garbage!

      • john

        Like I said, some Remix OS Fanskanks are getting their panties caught up tight in their cro***es. The high pitched whining is a dead giveaway.

    • shayneo

      In fairness, most devs are not lawyers, and I’ve honestly met a *lot* of coders who think they understand the GPL but really don’t. Of course having followed groklaw from the beginning to its sad end I got a pretty good laymans idea of how it works, but I’ve met very few devs whos familiarity with that saga goes beyond “Oh that was the website that went after SCO right?”.

      With all that said, ANY software startup should have a lawyer to look at their practices and make sure its all compliant. The fact they clearly havent is the bit we ought worry about.

      • john

        I agree. That’s why articles like these shouldn’t be dismissed. They serve as a reminder of the responsibilities a project has with needed feedback and allows them time to, possibly, get their act together, as they move forward.

        Very happy with the way Jide has responded to these very real concerns in the following link over at xda-developers

        Jide: Remix is Now GPL and Apache Compliant:
        http://www.xda-developers.com/jide-remix-is-now-gpl-and-apache-compliant/

        I’m not certain that some of “our” larger and arrogant tech companies would have been so quick to communicate with the very people using their wares.

        • Paul Alberto Rufous

          The article was updated with links to the source code. Fight for your right©

  • Chad

    As far as unetbootin I can’t say anything, but I do know for a fact that the creator of the android x86 project worked with the devs of RemixOS.

    • fonix232

      This. CWHuang even promoted RemixOS as something ConsoleOS should have been. Not to mention credit to Android-x86 is completely given as the whole boot screen stays the original Android-x86 one (which people are more likely to see than the various notice and license files in the images…)

      • Arobase40

        I brought full multitouch to the Android-x86 Project since 2011 with the help of Stephane Chatty and Benjamin Tissoire from the Enac french laboratory, in addition to some other contributions and not a single credit was given to me and to them anywhere anytime by CWHuang !

        This guy just holds up most of our contributions as if he owned them just because he created the ISO/IMG binaries but he never mentions the real owner of a “device project”…

        I’m not defending Console OS or Remix OX teams, but CWHuang has nothing to say about mentioning credit when he himself never respected others contributions/contributors !!!

        Arobase40

  • Pal

    Edit your CSS to add this:

    #disqus_thread { margin: 2% 8.3333% }

    This will fix the width of your Disqus comments so that it’s the same width as the article.

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      Fixed, massive thank you.

  • SheldonX

    they mentioned abort Android X86 at any time on their website and news, and based on Apache Lisence 2.0, they neednt open source their project actually, but just mention

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      “You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You changed the files;”

      http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

      • Friendly0Fire

        “You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, and in Source or Object form”

        The notice is only required if you distribute the Source form. The Apache license does not require the source to be made available.

        You can read the whole thing in plain English here:

        http://www.apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html#WhatDoesItMEAN

        “It does not require you to:

        include the source of the Apache software itself, or of any modifications you may have made to it, in any redistribution you may assemble that includes it;”

        • Paul Alberto Rufous

          > The notice is only required if you distribute the Source form. The Apache license does not require the source to be made available.

          No.
          > If a NOTICE text file is included as part of the distribution of the original work, then derivative works must include a readable copy of these notices within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the derivative works, within the source form or documentation, or within a display generated by the derivative works (wherever such third-party notices normally appear).
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_License

  • Karsus

    Well, it would take a ton of effort to rebuild everything other people have done to get functional. Most developers don’t overthink open source licenses – and these are small pieces of their final product, that they likely hacked together to get working, at some point, so they could move forward.

    They can probably replace them if they need to… Startups wouldn’t be able to build cool new things if they couldn’t move fast.

  • Geza Kovacs

    Hi I wrote unetbootin. They seem to have simply followed my instructions for customization on the wiki which are listed at http://sourceforge.net/p/unetbootin/wiki/listcustomversion/ so I don’t mind.

    • Nordin Wally

      Hello Geza, you’re a hero 🙂

  • Glen

    This is opinion, not fact. It seems to me that they’re not doing things how YOU think they should, your own opinion. The fact of the matter is, they’re following the Apache license, which doesn’t require their source to be released.

    We also have project maintainers from projects used in the OS weighing in, saying they have no problem with what Jide have done. So what’s the problem other than them not doing what YOU want them to?

    Inflammatory stories like this reduce your credibility.

    • Syke01

      But they’re not following the GPL license requirements. They have made no source code available, nor have they made an offer for how to obtain the source code.

    • shayneo

      The Kernel and bootloader are not under the Apache license. They are under the GPL2. If the code for those two components are made available, then as far as I can tell, it would then become compliant.

  • David Onter

    The person who answered thread 2 is nobody official, just a random KS-Backer…

  • Julia Lengyel

    I did not yet use Remixos. It might or might not be a good program. Maybe some of the criticism correct . But I myself appreciate that someone else also works on the android-x86 or bases his work on it. If the result is good, it will be used, if it is not it will be going in the wastebasket.
    It is always easier to criticise than do some constructive work.

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  • Steve Withers

    This is an alpha release. While all the formalities should be completed with, the system is in an early release stage and is basically a prototype. I would hope that later these GPL matters would be dealt with properly. (ie: cut them some slack until the system is stable and the code base isn’t changing every 5 minutes). But absolutely this needs to be addressed at some point.

  • MSmith79

    Can’t believe this article hasn’t been taken down.

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      The article was updated.