Kogan sells a lot of hardware based on open source software, and the man himself is a notable fan of the open source approach. But the company may not be complying with the terms that come with that software.
The GPLv2 licence is pretty strict when it comes to disclosure, largely because that’s exactly what it has to do in order to keep open source software open. Over at Ausdroid there’s a great piece that examines the exact quagmire that it appears Kogan’s stepped into.
The short form of it? Kogan should probably (I’m not a lawyer, not entirely versed in the GPL conditions and I’d rather not get sued if that’s OK with everyone) be disclosing a lot more of its code when asked. It may seem like petty pedantry from a couple of open source geek types, but this kind of thing is important at the consumer level, because it ensures a level playing field for everyone using that software.
In the “pure and utter speculation” bin, I wonder if it isn’t that Kogan (as a company) isn’t actually reluctant to release the code. Its own modifications must be pretty minimal given the generally bare-bones nature of its Android products, such as its smartphones and the recently-reviewed Smart TV dongle. Instead is it perhaps hamstrung by the conditions of its contracts with its Chinese manufacturing partners? I’ve put a query through to Kogan representatives to see if I can get a response.