Tesla is about to become more transparent regarding its open-source software. Tesla cars are powered by both batteries and open-source software, but they haven’t held up their obligations under open-source licenses. Now, according to ZDNet, they are releasing some of its Linux source code for the Model S and X cars, and plans to release code for some of its other models as well.
The Model S/X 2018.12 software release, containing the system image on the Tesla Autopilot platform, the kernel sources for its underlying hardware, and the code for its Nvidia Tegra-based infotainment system, is located in the Tesla GitHub repository.
“Work is underway on preparing sources in other areas as well, together with a more coordinated information page,” says Tesla. “We wanted to let you know about this material as it is available now while work continues on the other parts.”
This new release of information doesn’t mean you’ll all of the sudden be able to program your car like a Tesla, as the Linux code is missing source code files and has incomplete build instructions. The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has been working with Tesla to get these codes released to the public in accordance to strictures of Linux’s Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). The SFC has also worked with Tesla’s upstream software providers, NVIDIA and Parrot, to convince them to disclose complete, corresponding source (CCS) releases for all GPL’d binaries found in Tesla’s Model S.
“Conservancy has been engaging with Tesla on its GPL compliance since June 2013, when we advised Tesla that we had received multiple reports of a GPL violation regarding Tesla’s Model S. Customers who purchased Tesla’s Model S received on-board system(s) that contained BusyBox and Linux, but did not receive any source code, nor an offer for the source,” said SFC leaders Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler.