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Amazon code release irrelevant, Kindle is still closed

Jun 19, 2009, 19:33 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ryan Paul)

"Amazon attracted considerable media attention this week for publishing the source code of some of the components that are used in its popular Kindle reading device. The hype generated by the source release is mystifying and largely undeserved. It seems to be a result of widespread misconceptions about the scope and nature of the code disclosure.

"Contrary to the ambiguous headlines declaring that Amazon is opening the Kindle, the reality is that Amazon has not released a significant quantity of new code and is not empowering competitors to replicate their successful product. Amazon has been publishing the source code of various Kindle components since 2007 in order to fulfill its licensing obligations.

"Like many new consumer electronic devices, the Kindle's operating system is built on top of the Linux kernel and leverages numerous libraries and frameworks that are part of the Linux platform ecosystem. These components are distributed by their original creators under open source licenses that broadly permit recipients to study, modify, and redistribute the source code. The Linux kernel itself is distributed under version 2 of GNU's General Public License (GPL)."

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