We haven't been shy about our love for ASUS's new ultra-portable laptop, the Eee PC. Thus we were a bit surprised to hear that new Eee PC purchaser Cliff Biffle is threatening legal action over the alleged inclusion of proprietary software and hardware that may be in violation of the GPL.
“Biffle decided to disassemble the software -- which is permitted under the GPL -- and found that the asus_acpi kernel module was modified from the Linux 188.8.131.52 version. While the modification itself is permitted, in order to comply with the regulations of the GPL, ASUS has not published its modified sources, retained prior module attribution (name, version, and author) and has apparently stripped all references to "asus_acpi."
When attempting to obtain the modified sources from the ASUS website, Biffle found that the 1.8GB zipped "source" file on the ASUS page contained only some kernel headers, and a collection of .deb (Debian package) files -- some of which were not even present on the installed Xandros Linux operating system.”
This isn't the first time that ASUS has faced legal trouble over GPL violations, but they have made efforts in the past to quickly rectify any deficiencies that might have existed.