More and more Media Players running Linux but don't offer source code

There's a recent uprise in the availability of handheld media player devices. Most of them come with a 240x320 / 16bit colour screen, FBAS output, USB, 20GB hard drive, etc.

A big part of them seems to be running based on Linux and other free software, which is great. However, the vendors once again forget about their obligations under the GNU GPL and do not tell their users about the GPL or make the source code available.

The first device I ran into was the iRiver PMP-120/140, on which I have reported earlier in this blog. It was based on a TI DSP with embedded synthesized ARM core.

Now we're seeing similar devices from iStation, iUbi, Sitecom and some other vendors hitting the marketplace. They are all based on the SigmaDesigns EM8511 chipset. Rumors have spread that Sigma actually tries to bind their customers under an NDA not to release the GPL licensed source code, which they would obviously have no right to. Please keep in mind that that's rumours, and I don't have any confirmation about this yet.