Motorola has incorporated a “security” feature in Droid X smartphones. This is not unusual in the world of non-free software but this is Android which is Free Software. Distributors of Free Software permit the user to run, examine, modify and redistribute the code under the same rules as the Free Software licence permits. How then, does Motorola get away with turning the machine into a brick if one replaces the contents of the ROM? This may be a security feature for those who lose their phones or wish to have them unhackable but it is a barrier for those who wish to keep the software up to date without Motorola’s support. These will become bricks eventually if Motorola calls an end to support and some bug or vulnerability appears.
Didn’t we go through this with Tivo? Tivo was not distributing the source code. What use is the source code if a user cannot install it? While Android is distributed under the Apache Software Licence, parts are still GPLv2 (kernel). Motorola cannot both permit the four freedoms under GPLv2 while denying them by hardware security.
ASL includes this provision:”4. Redistribution. You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, and in Source or Object form“. How can that apply if the Droid X is bricked in the process?