Notion Ink has been accused of basing its custom email app for the Adam tablet on open-source K-9 Mail without giving credit to the original developers. Coder Jesse Vincent spotted his K-9 Mail code was used as the foundation for Adam's three-pane email system, but that no mention of his work had been made in the app's About box.
Update: Notion Ink official comments after the cut
The Notion Ink email app has been skinned to suit the rest of the start-up's Eden UI and multitasking system; you can see the three-pane system demonstrated in our hands-on from CES 2011. However, if the underlying code is based on K-9's software, then a mention of Vincent would be at the very least a courtesy. It's unclear at this stage how this impacts - if at all - the Apache2 license, which states that any derivative works must contain "all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work."
For his part, Vincent says he would be happy to work together with Notion Ink, as long as they restored the credit in the About box. We're waiting to hear back from Notion Ink about the issue, and will update when we know more.
Update: Notion Ink CEO Rohan Shravan has given us the following comment:
"Mail'd is indeed based on K9 and is also open source application. The credits and other information are mentioned in the source code which will be released soon.
Jesse and Notion Ink, both have huge synergies and right now in talks for possible area we might end up working together is on Mail'd for Honeycomb! We are very excited on this.
Interestingly Mail'd does not come with any About App box, and does not violate anything as you have suggested in your blog. The update will bring about section in Mail'd as well."
As we made clear in our original article, it was uncertain whether any part of the Apache 2 license had been affected; this was more a matter of attribution, and we're pleased to see Vincent's work on K-9 will be more obviously flagged up in future releases. Vincent himself says "that it looks like the attribution issue in Mail'd was an oversight more than anything else" and is happy with the outcome.