It's a library for reading / writing audio meta data (tags) and they basically just removed support for several formats. What's perhaps more interesting is what they didn't remove: I don't have a Kindle, but from the code this would seem to imply that it supports Ogg Vorbis and FLAC in some capacity.
Also noted that they're using a version from early 2008, even though there have been 5 more recent releases since.
Edit: I also went back and grabbed the very first Kindle release, which contained only 22 packages (TagLib still being one of them), and there they used an even older version (meaning they do at least sometimes grab newer versions of the libs).
Haven't tried with .ogg and .flac, but new Kindles have capacity to play .mp3 files. It's more of an experiment from on their part, and the player supports only play and pause operations.
The title should be updated to reflect this.
Amazon are just providing the bare essentials, there is no development community here, no way for them to take back any changes, no user or developer feedback, no documentation, build instructions, etc. - just a site that reads and looks like a legal obligation (and it is in the legal section of the Kindle docs).
You can require somebody to release code, but you can't force them to actively support it.
Huh? Webkit was based on an open source project (KHTML under the LGPL) and there is a requirement that the code be shared. Also Apple basically did the same thing as Amazon did here at first: they just dropped huge tarballs on the developers with no comments. In fact, attempting to merge Apple's changes in without comments was so divisive that the forks split, and only years later did Apple open up to an extent with WebKit that it became a proper collaborative effort.
As for whether or not it's useful in practice ... note that I am one of the authors of one of the things they released, and my first reaction was to run a diff against the original to see if they'd made any interesting changes (they haven't).
GPL becomes tremendously powerful once the licensed technology becomes significantly important enough that companies will accept the GPL in order to benefit from the technology.
Linux is testimony to this.
The ideology which spawned the GPL is that systems should be open. When a consumer buys something like the Kindle, he or she should be able to make changes to the system, i.e. rebuild a modified version of the OS and use that instead of Amazon’s original version.
The GPL is an ingenious way to transform the world of closed software to one where instead it is open, case in point being the Kindle, where Amazon decided to build on source already out there, and due to the license (GPL) in turn has to make their device more open than had they e.g. used BSD licensed software.
>where is the source code for them?
It is my opinion that nobody has screwed around much with the Kindle because it pretty much already does everything everybody wants it to do. Biggest want I've ever heard was that it doesn't support ePub, but you can convert to mobi so I don't think anyone has really been aching to patch it.
... I rest my case.
It won't go unused by anyone who needs it and is willing to abide by the provisions of the license, same as any other software license. And there are many millions of people happily using GPL'd software every day.
Everything else seems to have remained from one iOS release to the next...?
I'm afarid to say that I think people upvoted this without even reading the link. I'd bet that 200+ people who voted for this thought it was the source to amazon's proprietary components. Its not, its gpl'ed code that has been available for as long as amazon has sold the kindle.
I don't think a 3 or 4 year old link is neccessarily newsworthy but you are right there is no rule against old content being relevant. That being said my real complaint is who cares? Linksys, Apple, Brother Printing; all these companies publish their mods to GPLd code. But people did not upvote this because they were interested in GPL mods they upvoted it because they assumed it was something else entirely and never read the link...