Tesla makes some of the most popular electric vehicles out there and the systems in those cars rely on open source software for operating systems and features. Some of that open source software that is used in Tesla products has a license agreement that requires Tesla to at least offer the user access to the source code. Tesla hasn’t been making that offer.
In a move to get compliant with the license agreements, Tesla has begun to release some software components that might prove very useful to Tesla hackers and security researchers. The Software Freedom Conservancy says that it has been pressuring Tesla to get compliant with the software licenses for years. It notes that it has received multiple reports of GPL violations regarding the Model S software that uses BusyBox and Linux.
The Conservancy says that no source code was given or offered to the user. Tesla has started releasing some of its source code on GitHub and sent out emails to users who have requested the code. The software now available includes the buildroot material uses to build the system image on the Autopilot platform.
Tesla has also released the kernel sources for those boards along with the Tegra-based infotainment system for the Model S and Model X. The software offered is for the 2018.12 release and will be updated with new versions as new software is launched.
The software could make it easier for Tesla owners who want to build their own features on top of the Tesla system. Security researchers could use the software to find bugs and vulnerabilities that could help make Tesla products safer.