Oops! Android Vendors May Have Lost Their Linux Distribution Rights

Android, which owns about half the market share for smartphones has been in the new lately because of the various patent purchases involving Apple, Microsoft and Google defensively buying from (what used to be) Novell, Nortel, IBM and other sources. However, FOSS Patents reports that there is an even more important item that may create a big problem for Android.

Most Android vendors lost their Linux distribution rights, could face shakedown or shutdown

The main problem involves non-compliance with the Open Source GPLv2 (General Public Licence version 2) license that covers Linux. Linux is the underlying operating system for Android. FOSS Patents states that the only way for these Android vendors to recover their Linux license is to get a new license from each and every contributor to the Linux kernel. As FOSS Patents notes, contributers to the Linux kernel equates to thousands of people.

It does not appear that anyone has acted on this potential problem yet. But, it could get “interesting” for vendors of the most popular smartphone platform today.