Palm Pre is shipping GPL incompliant

As it has been reported at many places online, the Palm Pre has started to ship as a CDMA model in the United States. However, as it seems, at this time it is not GPL compliant and thus a copyright infringement!

The Pre undoubtedly contains Linux and other GPL licensed software. So it ships with the GPL license text as well as a written offer indicating to obtain the source code. So far so good.

But if you contact the respective address, you get a response like this:

Hello Harald and thanks for your email.

We are in the process of preparing the packages and our modifications
to upload them to our open source web site -
We expect to have all packages and modifications uploaded and available
to the public in about 2 weeks from today.

If you prefer to get the packages and our modifications on a CD/DVD,
please provide us with your mailing address and we will gladly ship it to
you as soon as they are available on our web site.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

All the best,
Palm Open Source Team

I think it is a bad sign that they write they are in the process of preparing the packages and our modifications. This sounds suspiciously like "we didn't think about it early enough and now we need to reproduce the soruce code that was used for actually compiling the build that is installed on the devices".

Since when did the object code exist before the source code? If you compile e.g. the Linux kernel, you _have_ the source code before you generate the object code. So you should be easily able to make the source code available at the same time as the object code!

I would have expected much more from a company like Palm. If you as a commercial entity want to use GPL licensed software, you don't have to pay one cent in licensing or any royalties. All that you have to do is to make sure you have the complete corresponding source code that was used for compiling the actual binaries available at the time you start shipping the object code.

Providing a written offer and then delaying is not good GPL compliance practise and introduces legal [and thus business] risks that could have been easily avoided. Let's hope the source code is really complete and corresponding within those two weeks. And let's hope they never repeat this with another product, or with software/firmware updates for the Pre.