Google’s Android operating is based on the Linux kernel, which means that it’s bound by the GPL (General Public License) that requires anyone distributing devices using Android to make the Kernel source code available. A number of major Android tablet makers including Archos, Barnes & Noble, Dell, Samsung, and
Velocity Cruz have done that — but many others have not.
Matthew Garrett from Red Hat put together a list of known Android tablets, along with their compliance (or non-compliance) with the GPL. The first thing you’ll notice about the list is that it’s huge. While it may seem like we have to wait until 2011 for most major PC makers to launch their Android tablets, there are dozens already on the market, largely from smaller companies you may not have heard of.
The second thing you’ll notice is that most of those smaller companies haven’t bothered to release the source code.
It’s not likely anyone will take the time to sue all of these companies for non-compliance, but Garrett’s list at least lays th efoundation for a good public shaming.