HMD Global, the exclusive manufacturer of Nokia-branded phones, has done a pretty good job of keeping their devices up-to-date. Late last month, for instance, the company opened up the Android 8.1 beta for the Nokia 8. But this doesn't change the fact that it's been 136 days since HMD's Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas, tweeted that the kernel source code for the Nokia 8 would be shared with the open-source community — and it still hasn't happened.
On September 20th, Sarvikas tweeted that while HMD would not unlock the bootloader for the Nokia 8 for security reasons, it would share its kernel modifications. He called it a work in progress.
Sorry, we wont unlock it due to security however we will share our kernel modifications back to the open source community, wip
— Juho Sarvikas (@sarvikas) September 20, 2017
Not sharing modifications made to the Android kernel is a violation of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), and these violations incite a measure of rancor within the development and enthusiast community. Well-known developer Francisco Franco has certainly noticed:
— Francisco (@franciscof_1990) February 2, 2018
It's true that without an unlockable bootloader, having the kernel source code won't mean much for custom ROM development and such. But a violation is a violation, and there's some goodwill being lost here for a company that's off to a promising start. Let's hope HMD follows Xiaomi's recent example with the Mi A1 and complies sooner rather than later.