In this article, together with Zemotor, we will try to understand what is happening in Tesla in relation to the GPL license. It’s no secret that Tesla electric vehicles use Linux as the basis for running their software and the drivers they need. In fact, due to the GPL license, the corresponding code (or at least part of it) can be found in their GitHub repositories.
This is an open secret: Tesla cars are not only powered by battery, but also by power supply through open-source software. However, until recently, TESLA has not fulfilled its obligations under open source licenses, but now Tesla has finally released some Linux code for models and X Cars.
According to reports from ZDNet, Tesla is preparing to release part of the Linux that Model S and Model X vehicles run. To be more specific, the company will publish the image of the system that is installed on the autopilot platform, the kernel code used for the NVIDIA Tegra-based infotainment system, and hardware. Tesla’s Linux code is incomplete, thus not allowing a user to compile it successfully. On the other hand, it hopes to release as Open Source more code from other systems used in its vehicles.
The GPL, the license under which Linux is released, is relentless in requiring the redistribution of code. Tesla is a company that has received many complaints about violating it, which is why it has been working with the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) since 2013 to launch the Linux code it uses in compliance with the license restrictions. In fact, several customers complained about not receiving the code after verifying that the Model S they purchased was running BusyBox and Linux, both licensed under GPLv2, but the code was not supplied to them. The SFC is also working with vendors NVIDIA and Parrot to release the GPL code they use.
The Teslagithub repository contains the code for the Model Modex / X2018.12 software version. Specifically, it includes a system image on the TeslaAAUTOPILOT platform, its underlying hardware kernel source code, and NVididiategra-based code.
Tesla will quickly release another open-source code for other car systems. Tesla said: “At present, we are preparing resources in other fields, and there is a more coordinated information page. We want you to understand this material because it is now available, while other parts of the work continue.” With the release of the updated software version, the ideological leader of the electric car will also update its code.
Despite this, you still can’t build your own Tesla binaries. Tesla’s Linux code is still an unknown source file and has incomplete build instructions. Tesla’s car code has exploited security vulnerabilities, suspected by the Chinese security organization of hackers.
Security, the US Securities Regulatory Commission, and other open-source licenses have been working with TESLA, convincing upstream software vendors NVIDIA and Parrot by publishing a full version Source Code (CCS) of all models of GPL Binaries in TESLA.
During this process, TESLA provided Multi-Wheel CCS candidates for conservation. These source code versions have not been completed in accordance with the GPL requirements. The CCS report has become a standard document for GPL compliance since 1998. This is the first time, although “the situation allows us to share such a report with the public without violating our principles.”
Conversely, the Securities Regulatory Commission has reviewed the “CCS candidate and provides technical feedback on how to improve the candidates. In this process, we provide a detailed report explaining how candidates will release how to meet GPL requirements.”
This is because Kux and Sandler wrote: “This part of the process is the longest and most difficult part of the GPL, and we generally hope that we can celebrate the incomplete information provided from passive or violation to the next.” That is, compliance means meeting all GPL requirements, so we will not convey false hope due to incomplete release. Ultimately, we will focus on the freedom of the users. ”
Despite this, Tesla has made significant progress in dealing with open-source software. Tesla chooses to publish its incomplete CCS candidates. Although the Securities Regulatory Commission expects the Company to immediately provide sufficient CCS: “We realize this can be a challenging process and acknowledge Tesla for the upward struggle to produce appropriate CCS. We think of Tesla as the new method. It also has advantages because it allows the entire community to discuss and contribute to public applications and jointly help TESLA to comply with the GPL. ”
That is, the SFC knows: “Many people, especially those who bought the Tesla car, are very depressed when the LPG compliance work is long, however, this is just that it means why patience is essential for successful work. from the police”.
The company founded and led by Elon Musk has been taking steps in the right direction in recent years, but it is still not fully complying with its obligations as it still does not provide complete sources and takes a long time to publish them. Despite this, the SFC recognizes Tesla’s efforts to comply with the GPL and hopes that one day it will become fully compliant.
Note that it is not possible to build your own version of Autopilot with just this code, as Tesla will not provide the applications that run on top of this system to give you all the additional features. Still, what is available is enough to give you an idea of what goes on in Tesla’s software. The international press also emphasizes that this code can be used by users interested in developing their own apps for their vehicle; and by cybersecurity researchers looking for bugs and other flaws that could compromise the products of the American brand, which, as a result, could lead to the construction of more reliable equipment. Finally, this is also a way for Tesla to meet the legal requirements of the software licenses you use to develop your software.
Although Tesla tries to keep its secrets as best it can, that has not prevented the most skilled hackers from modifying the software it uses in its vehicles.