HTC released the kernel source for the 3.16.651.3 and 3.15.651.16 OTA kernels 34 and 83 days after the OTAs, respectively, in compliance with the Android GPL. Both sources clock in at around 98.7MB and contain essentially the same code; the newer kernel’s source is about 7K larger.

The GPL requirements state that since most of the kernel is developed by other developers, if you’re going to use it, you have to release the source code in a timely fashion if you are distributing it, as a precondition of using it. There are ways around source code distribution, but not for a commercial entity like HTC.

It’s important to note that HTC still claims to actively embrace the developer community; however, it has delayed releasing the kernel source code for months almost every single time a new OTA comes out, doing the bare minimum to stay legal. Failure to release the source code prevents kernel developers from fixing HTC’s issues and finding buried backdoors and tracking software like CIQ we saw years back.

What is interesting to note on the 3.15.651.16 build is that, unlike previous distributions I’ve seen in which everything contained in the archive was from months ago, some of the folders and data have been touched on Feb 21, 2013. Mostly, this looks like modifications to makefiles, but it does tend to indicate that HTC didn’t get around to making the GPL-required sources until two weeks ago.

Finally, after almost three months, we can see what we’ve been running on Sense and perhaps give the open source development world a leg-up on accessing some of the features that have not yet made a seamless transition to our AOSP ROMs.

You can obtain the source for yourself at the HTCDev official website.

Thanks Adam!