The Parrot AR.Drone GPL saga continues….


After Parrot finally released the GPL sources for their kernel changes it was time to dig into the firmware some more. Last week i was taking a closer look at the closed source control binary which has the innovative name “program.elf”.

It turns out that the binary dynamically links to libiw (from the wireless_tools) which is a GPL licensed library. You can easily check this yourself by telneting into the drone:

strings program.elf | grep iw
libiw.so.29
iw_sockets_open
iw_get_basic_config
iw_set_basic_config
iw_in_key_full

Antoine Ferran (from Parrot) confirmed this fact on the next morning:

The libiw is dynamically linked with the program but it is a mistake.
Libiw is not needed anymore: it is a remnant of a previous test version.
Any calls to libiw has been removed from the current build that will be released soon.

You can find the complete discussion here.

I am pretty confident that they will not get away with that and will have to release the source code. Actually that could be a really good way for Parrot to get help from the community to fix all of the critical bugs in the current firmware (“fly-away” syndrom, random crashes, ….) and make a much better product! :-)