Print 20 comment(s) - last by Penti.. on Jun 21 at 5:32 AM

Site offers a vast variety of ROMs in easy to find format, HTC says this is vastly illegal

Apple is well known for its battles against George Hotz, the iPhone Dev Team, and legions of other iPhone hackers.  By contrast Android's team members -- Google and hardware partners (HTC, Motorola, Samsung, etc.) have taken a much more hands off approach, even as hackers found ways to gain root access and install and port unavailable new builds of Android.

One key resource to Android hackers has been Conflipper's site Shipped ROMs, which offers a number of ROM dumps for released and unreleased Android devices.  Now Taiwanese Android handset manufacturer HTC have sent a cease and desist letter to Conflipper telling him that they have "very strong reasons to believe that the HTC Intellectual Property was illegally obtained by fraudulent means."

HTC also wrote a public statement, commenting:
While HTC tries to take a hands off [approach] about the modder / ROM chef community, this site's sole purpose [is] to make HTC's content available for download from a source other than HTC. That content is not just the open source parts and kernels of Android but all of the software that HTC itself has developed. This is a clear violation of our copyrights and HTC needs to defend itself in these cases.
Ultimately HTC seems well within its legal rights in what amounts to essentially insisting that Shipped ROMs cease operations.  Shipped ROMs is hosting official ROMs (protected by copyright) on unofficial servers.

That said, one of the things that has made Android the symbol of freedom and choice in the smart phone market has been its softer touch when it comes to modding.  If HTC makes good on its threats and moves legally to shut down Shipped ROMs, not only will one of the best sources of Android firmware be lost, but also much of the leaked info that has been driving the excitement and hot Android launch sales will be lost as well.

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By FallenHero on 6/18/2010 11:05:19 AM , Rating: 3
What if they just pulled the questionable HTC roms and left the modded ones up? Wouldn't that allow them to keep the site up and appease HTC?

RE: hrmmm...
By ImSpartacus on 6/18/2010 11:41:12 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, I think HTC is just bent out of shape about other non-HTC phones getting Sense.

Shoot, I want the opposite. Clean and slim so I can get my updates like those lucky Nexus One bastards!

RE: hrmmm...
By mcnabney on 6/18/2010 12:13:04 PM , Rating: 3
You can do some amazing things with unofficial ROMs.

My coworker has been playing with several ROMs for his Motorola Droid. He finally settled on one. He is currently running 2.2 at a 1.2ghz OC. Doesn't get that much hotter either. Didn't think the little OMAP had it in it. Free WiFi tethering has been nice too.

HTC just needs to chill a little. They just need to act-up enough to show that they are 'vigorously protecting' their IP. It is necessary since they are going toe2toe with Apple over IP.

RE: hrmmm...
By bhieb on 6/18/2010 12:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
See below, the site hosts the "shipped" roms. This is what HTC is opposing not modded roms.

RE: hrmmm...
By theapparition on 6/18/2010 1:17:33 PM , Rating: 5

HTC wants to be the single host for "released" ROMS. Much as how Microsoft wants someone to download updates from them, not from some unlicensed mirror.

HTC doesn't care about the modded ROMs available for thier devices and is in no way trying to shut the site down.

Recently updated my 5yo HTC made Dell Axim x51v to WinMo6.5. Gave the old girl a new lease on life.

RE: hrmmm...
By theArchMichael on 6/18/2010 1:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
I was under the assumption that many customizations are done based on "shipped" ROMS rather the original absolutely unmodified codebase of Android (or WinMo, or whatever). I thought that was done so the phone could have additional customizations without losing some of the intended functionality provided by the manufacturer customizations.

RE: hrmmm...
By Jeffk464 on 6/18/2010 12:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I would like to root my phone so I can go with the basic android OS and update as soon as google releases a new version. Sense is nice, but I would rather always have the newest OS.

RE: hrmmm...
By bhieb on 6/18/2010 12:12:28 PM , Rating: 3
That is what HTC is requesting. They are not opposing custom ROMS, just that the site not host any ROMS that HTC has developed. I agree with them HTC spent the time/money to create them, and should be able to control who can distribute them.

RE: hrmmm...
By bhieb on 6/18/2010 12:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like the site is currently down.


For those of you not familiar with the site, it is meant as a repository for shipped roms (hence, the name of the site) for all devices, including devices going as far back as the Blue Angel.

So it looks like HTC has a valid point, if these are the full HTC roms that shipped with the phone, then I don't see how they have the right to distribute them without permission. Not really about custom roms at all, but the OEM ones.

RE: hrmmm...
By theArchMichael on 6/18/2010 1:42:18 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure what kind of license it is... but google should have done Android under the one where a derived work HAS to inherit the open source parent license.

This is complete bullshit IMHO. HTC can keep their crappy codebase and hardware. It was the modders and hackers that got my GPS chip to function properly on my Touch Pro (an issue many people were having). Those suit types at HTC never even acknowledged it as an issue... jerks.

RE: hrmmm...
By AstroCreep on 6/18/2010 2:41:25 PM , Rating: 3
Androit in-and-of-itself is licensed under the Apache License v2:,
Only certain parts (such as the Linux kernal) are licensed differently, because they are required to be.
...while we encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable, we don't believe it is our place to force them to do so. Using LGPL libraries would often force them to do so.

Here are some of our specific concerns:
2.LGPL requires allowance of customer modification and reverse engineering for debugging those modifications. Most device makers do not want to have to be bound by these terms, so to minimize the burden on these companies we minimize usage of LGPL software in userspace....

While I would have liked to see everything with Android be GPL, Google knew they wouldn't get any handset makers to sign-on and "Help out" if they couldn't keep their own apps/code safely hidden.

RE: hrmmm...
By bobny1 on 6/18/2010 7:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
They may be responding to pressure from the carriers like Verizon, etc. Who like to control and delay upgrades.

RE: hrmmm...
By atlmann10 on 6/19/2010 2:24:11 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah bobny1 I bet Sprint is raising hell to as they just released EVO. Several of the features on "Froyo" also know as Android 2.2 Sprint charges for. However; 2.2 has it free, and was actually available for the EVO prior to it's official release. So all the commercials you see for Sprint advertising there wifi hotspot ability, are usually at a 20 dollar extra charge. On Froyo there free as are several other such as tethering (which I was told a week prior to the EVO release would not be available), and other things. Verizon and Motorola also have big time roll out's in the very near future for new android phones. I am sure they are all over HTC about these things to, I think GPS is also available free on sprint, but Verizon charges for it I believe.

RE: hrmmm...
By photoguru on 6/21/2010 2:04:59 AM , Rating: 2
GPS is free on Verizon if you have an Android phone. If you don't and you use VZ Navigator it's about $5 a month or $1.50 per use. In 2007 BA (Before Android) I used it with an LG phone and it worked decently but not nearly as well as Google's little beauty...or for freeeeeeeeeee?

A car docked phone/GPS/mp3/email/sms/video/web setup (all able to work at the same time even) has me totally loving Android phones.

I don't think HTC can do this....
By zmatt on 6/19/2010 5:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
Android is built on Linux, which is GPL, which happens to be a viral license making all parts of it GPL and open. That means sense is freely distributable because it by extension is GPL. Since the roms site isn't charging for the roms HTC really can't do much. They shouldn't have put proprietary code into a GPL licensed Operating System.

RE: I don't think HTC can do this....
By Penti on 6/21/2010 5:32:35 AM , Rating: 2
Android is just software running on linux.

Android is as it need to be proprietary and it's not free at all. Devices are normally just as tivozied as other commercial products requiring signed images and such. Android isn't GPL. Android OS isn't freely redistributable and contains proprietary code in forms of drivers and codecs. Android in it self isn't Linux, it's not a god damn extension of the Linux kernel. The operating system is just as proprietary as iPhone OS and Win Mo. Android is a product which is need to debrand and remove functionality in order to release it without googles approval or patent licenses for the software.

Remember iPhone OS kernel are also free and open source.

By abscode on 6/18/2010 10:59:07 AM , Rating: 2
As if anyone really wants their sluggish Android wrappers anyway.

By vortex222 on 6/18/2010 1:58:47 PM , Rating: 1
the HTC sense front end is one worth using.

Top Android site?
By GreenEnvt on 6/18/2010 1:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
I've been using custom roms for a few years, both Winmobile and Android. I've never heard of shipped-roms.
I admit I certainly am not that knowledgable about the whole mod scene, but I have been a member on the "top" mod site, XDA-Developers, for years.

useless debate
By Mike Acker on 6/19/2010 7:23:24 AM , Rating: 2
this is truly a useless debate. we know kids can jail-break their phones if they want. but why? if the mfr. produces a quality product customers are not going to damage their own phones. particularly if the oem software carries an effective defense against malware. hacking the phone could leave it vulnerable to infection and the sales literature should explain this along with how to jail break the phone for those desiring.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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