June 19, 2009, 7:20 am
Amazon attracted considerable media attention this week for publishing the source code of some of the components that are used in its popular Kindle reading device. The hype generated by the source release is mystifying and largely undeserved. It seems to be a result of widespread misconceptions about the scope and nature of the code disclosure.
Contrary to the ambiguous headlines declaring that Amazon is opening the Kindle, the reality is that Amazon has not released a significant quantity of new code and is not empowering competitors to replicate their successful product. Amazon has been publishing the source code of various Kindle components since 2007 in order to fulfill its licensing obligations.