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Cellphones Handhelds Windows Technology

Microsoft To Work With Windows Phone 7 Jailbreakers 248

Posted by timothy
from the working-against-expectations dept.
markass530 writes "Microsoft had a sit down with the first people to jailbreak their Windows Phone 7. Seems like good progress was made. This seems like a good approach to me. It would be great if Sony, Apple, Microsoft, and several Android phone makers would implement a simple development switch in their phones — these would obviously void the warranty, but it would give hackers the opportunity to actually own their devices without fear of having to jailbreak all over again whenever an update arrives."
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Microsoft To Work With Windows Phone 7 Jailbreakers

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  • Nokia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by devxo (1963088) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:16AM (#35185520)
    Maybe Nokia has its hand on this? They've never been against locking the platform, you've always had a simple option to enable installing unsigned apps.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Nokia simply takes the most sane route. If the application isn't signed just display a notification and let the user choose whether to proceed or not.

      • S60 3ed (probably the peek of their smartphones, N95 etc.) had mandatory code signing, and Unlike Android, self-signed apps can never access a significant number of useful permissions (and signing for distribution was vastly more expensive as apps had to be vetted). I expect that later versions keep this feature but I had switched by then. However running your own apps, even native apps, dose not equate to root accesses.
        • Correct, however their tablets were a breath of fresh air with an xterm available through the menu by default, and root available through the software repositories.

          Symbian is locked down as tight as any other mobile phone OS out there, though there are exploits floating around, flash a modified firmware to the phone and you can install anything, certificates or not.

        • by bami (1376931)

          My S60 3ed (Nokia E71) allows me to install everything I want without code signing (bought simlock free, and not from a carrier so maybe it is some option they have to enable?) . It has this nifty little option in the settings that allow unsigned code to be run.

          You need to sign it yourself using some 3rd party to get rid of the constant "Do you want app x to access your y)" notifications though, but unsigned apps can use them, if the users gives it permission every time (and if you code your application rig

          • If you can use unsigned or self-signed applications that can use permissions (CommDD, MultimediaDD, NetworkControl, DiskAdmin, DRM, AllFiles, or TCB) (i.e. A file browser that can list files in c:\private or z:\sys) you have a hacked phone. Whilst hacking most Nokias is possible it is at least as hard, and warranty voiding as an iPhone or Android.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      I've been following this story from day 1, and to me it looks like the greatest PR attack Microsoft has ever pulled. Back in November, when the 'hackers' first came out with a semi-jailbreak, Microsoft invited them to a party, told them how great they were, said they wanted to work with the homebrew community, and convinced them to remove the tool. What did Microsoft actually do? Nothing other than being really friendly, and they got what they wanted.

      Now in January they invited the guys over again, gave t
  • These manufacturers need to realize that there are people that don't want to hack their devices (like me) and people that insist on doing so. The people that don't care to will NEVER do it, and those that insist on doing it ALWAYS WILL.

    The more rigid you are on something the more you hurt things for those that don't want to circumvent the system. Those that enjoy it will just enjoy doing it even more.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Yep. How can even the thickest PHB think they'll sell *more* phones by locking them down?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Its not the phones, its the ringtones, apps, media and other features they make money from.

        • by definate (876684)

          Yeah, and they also make money from them being jailbreakable. It's less direct, but it's true. Jailbreaking provides value, more for some than others. For me it's essential, I wouldn't buy one otherwise. I know this is the same for a lot of people.

          • Now you're talking - but the thrust of your point is a wee bit off target. If I own ANYTHING with a CPU and an OS on it, I'm going to be ROOT! I will get in there, play with the kernel (at least as much as I can understand to play with) and see just how it works, why it works, and if it can't be made to work better. Nope, I'm not going to be merely "Administrator", in the context that Windows permits you to be administrator. I want to be ROOT - nothing more, nothing less. My refrigerator isn't rooted y
            • by definate (876684)

              LOL Fair enough.

              However you rationalize it, the result is the same, having absolute access, creates more value for us, and them, regardless of whether or not that access is used individually.

      • It's not just a matter of selling phones, but to prevent piracy and DRM-circumvention. There are figures that as many as 60% of current iPhone apps are pirated (via jailbreaking of course). Look at how Netflix is dragging their feet on an android client, they have to have a reasonably-secure DRM before the studios will let them stream content.

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          And despite the 60% figure, and having to perform a procedure that requires at least a little forethought, iphones are still selling like hotcakes...

          No DRM scheme can be secure by its very nature, the only reason some schemes get cracked faster than others is down to laziness on the hackers part, why bother cracking one scheme when the same content is available via other schemes that are already cracked?

          Put it this way, the sony ps3 was the last of the 3 major consoles to be cracked, and yet going for years

        • by v1 (525388)

          There are figures that as many as 60% of current iPhone apps are pirated (via jailbreaking of course)

          That statistic is very misleading. Less than 10% of iphones are jailbroken. OBVIOUSLY that's where all the pirated apps are, since that's where they have to be. So anyone that wants to pirate apps will be jailbreaking their phone, and loading lots of pirated apps onto it.

          And of that 10% there will be a percentage of people (like me) that jailbreak it because they want to unlock it or have access to unsign

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Usually it's the PHB's kissing ass with the networks that order lockdowns.

  • Suleiman meeting with the protesters ?

  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:26AM (#35185570)

    It would be great if Sony, Apple, Microsoft, and several Android phone makers would implement a simple development switch in their phones — these would obviously void the warranty [...]

    Why?

    • After you jailbreak a phone there are a lot of things you could do to break it. For example, if you mess around and overwrite critical system files MS won't be responsible for fixing it for you.
      • by Hobbex (41473) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @10:01AM (#35185786)

        PCs come "jailbroken" by default. It didn't void the warranty on my PC when I installed Linux on it. Why should smartphones (which are just pocket sized computers) be any different?

        • by peragrin (659227)

          your PC doesn't include a radio transmitter with varying output that must talk perfectly with other transceivers in order to prevent widespread jamming.

          Can you image a virus that turned every cell phone it infected into a jammer? That is currently possible with today's smart phones once you jailbreak/root/crack it. Or how about a software hack that can selectively disable your phone?

          Current PC's are covered in massive amounts of hacks and cracks that distribute the spam, do you really want your mobile bei

          • by Tacvek (948259) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:52AM (#35186492) Journal

            Any phone that allows substantial screwing with the the RF output of the phone is using a poorly designed cellular modem chip (baseband). Short of altering the baseband firmware, the worst that a phone should be able to do is a limited denial of service attack (such as mass producing SMS messages or rapidly starting a phone or data connection, and then droping it before it is fully established, and repeating).

            That said I will admit that there are some rather poor baseband chips out there, which let the main processor specify important RF parameters.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Because the manufacturer says so?

          Really, that's the only reason. As the holder and/or licensor of the patents and copyrights behind the device, as well as the warchest needed to manufacture it, they are in a position to set terms to their liking. And usually, they'll do so if it suits them, or pleases equally large wireless providers who have weight of their own to throw around.

          Have a network used for voice data and don't want smart phones clogging it with data? Muscle cell phone makers into locking thei

        • Your warranty depends on terms of your purchase. Dell could argue that you voided your warranty because the PC is no longer the same OS. If you built your own it's not as big an issue. At a minimum, Dell can refuse to support your machine. After all why should Dell have to field a support call from you because your Linux network drivers don't work if they installed Win 7 on it. Same thing with Apple. Apple lets you jail break your iPhone; don't ever bring it in for support if you do. .
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            Your warranty depends on terms of your purchase. Dell could argue that you voided your warranty because the PC is no longer the same OS.

            No, they can not, at least not in the USA. The Magnuson-Moss warranty act prohibits it.

            Apple lets you jail break your iPhone; don't ever bring it in for support if you do. .

            As has been pointed out already ad nauseam, you have a legal right to warranty hardware service on your iPhone whether you have jailbroken it or not. They might reasonably refuse you software service.

            • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:13PM (#35188308)

              No, they can not, at least not in the USA. The Magnuson-Moss warranty act prohibits it.

              No it does not. The Magnuson-Moss warranty act [wikipedia.org] provides a framework for all warranties in the US. It covers general outlines. In the case of modifications, it says that manufacturers cannot outright void warranties based on the act of modification alone. The type of modification must be considered. Also manufacturers are expressly forbidden from tying agreements .

              Suppose, I bought a new Honda and with a manufacturer's warranty and an agreement (with the dealership) of first year free oil changes. The dealer cannot void my warranty if I don't get all my oil changes from them or if you don't use genuine Honda parts during the oil changes. That kind of tying is not allowed.

              However, the dealership is well within their rights not to service [dummies.com] any part for free that they didn't install or repair. Otherwise it would have absurd consequences. Anyone could modify anything and expect the manufacturer to service it regardless of what was done. If I installed new tint, that doesn't void my warranty or nullify the oil changes. If I installed a new aftermarket fuel injection system, that voids the warranty on the engine but not the body. That could also nullify my oil change agreement.

              As has been pointed out already ad nauseam, you have a legal right to warranty hardware service on your iPhone whether you have jailbroken it or not. They might reasonably refuse you software service.

              As other people have said ad nauseum, warranty coverage is not absolute even under the act you mentioned above. Do you expect Dell to service your computer because it has Linux driver issues with Slackware. Heck no. Apple may service a jailbroken iPhone but most likely they will charge for service since it will not be under warranty.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                However, the dealership is well within their rights not to service any part for free that they didn't install or repair.

                That's very nice, but that's not what we're talking about. If Apple wants to show that something I did voids the warranty then they're going to have to provide the specification which I violated.

                • That's very nice, but that's not what we're talking about. If Apple wants to show that something I did voids the warranty then they're going to have to provide the specification which I violated.

                  Huh? This entire discussion is about what is considered a modification and when is it covered under warranty. Jailbreaking an iPhone can be considered a modification not covered by warranty. If you replace the engine in your new Honda with an aftermarket model, are you seriously going to argue with a Honda dealership that they need to show which line of the warranty agreement you broke? You and the dealership both know you made significant modifications and you're going to quibble over the exact provisi

        • PC's come with a method of reinstalling the operating system it came with, phones don't (Although they easily (c|sh)ould). However, given the architecture and technology used in phone systems it is possible to actually brick your phone. Take the storage on most. They use flash memory with limited writes, often partitioned into sections. To get my G1 to run the latest and greatest, those partitions had to be rewritten, something which could have easily damaged the device beyond home repair with the current t

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        After you jailbreak a phone there are a lot of things you could do to break it. For example, if you mess around and overwrite critical system files MS won't be responsible for fixing it for you.

        That's very nice, but the Magnuson-Moss warranty act explicitly protects replacing components with components which meet or exceed the original specification. Where the API is published it is possible to meet this specification. In order to prove that it has not been met it must be published. So there is really no grounds for denying warranty coverage based on jailbreaking.

      • by jouassou (1854178)
        That's why you should differentiate between hardware warranty and software warranty.

        Jailbreaking a phone should void the software warranty, but when the antenna malfunctions, you should still have your hardware warranty. And in the rare case that the software can break the hardware, the hardware has an obvious design flaw and should be covered by the hardware warranty anyway.
        • by peragrin (659227)

          Your hardware includes a software radio, and reprogramable firmware.

          What line does the hardware end and software begins. Why don't you take a good look at just how reprogamable your "hardware" actually is before making such stupid statements

      • a bit off topic, but the guys name in your sig is Stephen Colbert :)

        on topic, it should not be that hard for the manufacturer to give you a restore cd for your phone so even if you break it, you can restore it.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Hackers? In the case of Apple, how about if I want to run an app that they don't approve of? Perhaps a better browser or phone application?
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      For the same reason that any warranty-covered device loses the protection of the warranty if you change something on it - you can't guarantee that you didn't break it yourself.

      In the majority of cases, going into the equivalent of "jailbroken" mode won't have any negative effect, but there is always the possibility that something may go wrong - huge data loss (and poisoning of your backup on sync), maybe you drop a new baseband firmware on there that puts it outside the licenced spectrum, etc. Once you put

      • Installing Linux doesn't void the warranty on a computer. Downloading a shady file and getting a computer virus doesn't void the warranty on a computer. If installing software can damage the hardware, the phones are really not well done. The worst-case scenario should be a matter of plugging in a cable and reflashing the firmware.
        • by jo_ham (604554)

          Just try putting Linux on a turnkey computer sold from a retailer like Best Buy or HP and then asking them for support when it breaks.

          And it's not necessarily software that can damage the device. The software might be fine, but what if someone installs an app that hooks up your phone to some other hardware device, but the connection is incompatible (or the person doing it messed up when putting the cable together) and you put 50V across two sensitive pins by accident? Just as a hypothetical.

          A warranty cover

        • Installing Linux doesn't void the warranty on a computer. Downloading a shady file and getting a computer virus doesn't void the warranty on a computer.

          Depends on what is covered by your warranty. Installing Linux "shouldn't" void the warranty, but from the perspective of a manufacturer, why should they support an OS that they didn't install? If your manufacturer installed Windows 7, at a minimum, they may not service the computer until it is restored.

          One of the main reasons is that the repair and testing process is made more difficult by an OS changes. Suppose your CD drive stops working. Obvious hardware fault right? Not always. Well you installed

    • I am all for tinkering, jailbreaking, hacking, and otherwise customizing my devices. I do fully understand, however, that any damage that is caused to the device in question is on me. It really is not reasonable for me to expect MS, Motorola, or Apple, for instance, to pay to fix to my phone if I overclock it too high and fry it. I do, however, take issue with them trying to prevent me from doing that to begin with -- that is totally uncalled for. I think that you ought to be able to do whatever you want wi
  • by FreakyGeeky (23009) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:29AM (#35185582)
    Wake me up with they have the same attitude toward XBOX mods.
    • by tepples (727027)
      Are you kidding? Xbox 360 is the most open of the three major consoles. Unlike PLAYSTATION 3 and Wii, Xbox 360 officially allows individuals to develop video games using C# and the XNA library and sell them.
  • Msoft is desperate to not totally fail in the phone market.
    Msoft has just seen how kinect pc hack has created so much buzz.
    Msoft Windows is reasonably open, at least more than ipod, or google chrome.
    • Msoft Windows is reasonably open, at least more than (..) google chrome.

      Uh, both Chromes are open source, so no.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:37AM (#35185640)
    Palm (now HP, I guess) tells you how to enter "developer mode" for WebOS on their own website: http://developer.palm.com/index.php?option=com_content&id=1639#InstallingEclipsewiththeSDK-dev_mode [palm.com] Developer mode on a WebOS phone is the same as jailbreaking on iOS/Android: it allows you access to the file system, a command line if you want it, and the ability to install applications from any source. There is a LOT of homebrew development for the platform, and all of it is officially supported by Palm/HP. They even recently donated a server to a homebrew dev group.
    • You can read more here [slashdot.org].

    • Thanks for this, I LOVED WebOS on my Pre but I just couldn't handle the bad hardware. I love my Android phone but I honestly will think about a WebOS phone and tablet in about a year. So yeah, this is really good info for me, I hardly had the phone before I managed to break the slider (and then again on another before I gave up)
  • Void the Warranty? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mercurized (907818) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:55AM (#35185750)
    Why would a switch in software like that that void the Warranty? If you buy a PC, you can install any OS you like. The warranty that covers your PC is covering the hardware. If you buy a PC, have no clue what you are doing and end up trashing your windows installation, there is nothing your PC dealer's warranty will ever do for you. At least not for free. If the software is broken you reinstall it or get it serviced somewhere. If the hardware breaks down, you'll be heading up to your dealer for a warranty replacement. Why would a phone be that much different? I even find it ashaming and harsh to realize that most people really buy that crap of "warranty is only void if you do not touch the software", like there was any warranty on the software part at all. Imagine a PC dealership trying to enforce such harsh software usability limitations like "never ever install any other software than the one you got it with, or forget the warranty". Would that actually be possible selling stuff like that? Not here in Europe at least. Imagine a car dealership that denies you your warranty on the engine after a few weeks just because you changed the seat covers. Its nothing different. This entire "Other software voids your warranty" FUD is sparked by the providers and manufacturers that very much like to keep you trapped with them and their software, and sometimes even hold you, your device or your data hostage against yourself, pretty much neglecting the fact that you actually bought the device you are acting with, and still not wanting to give you any space to decide what you actually want to do with it. And the even worst part is, people accept it just like that. Today's Smartphones are more like small PCs than like the old brick phones that couldnt do much. Most of these newer handsets are technically able to run many different operating systems. One can customize the systems as well, far beyond the possibilities the vendor envisioned. It sometimes feels like your PC Vendor tries telling you that you cant put any background image on your windows desktop which you did not buy from him. If you however use your own images, or god beware, remove the logo of said Vendor from the starting screen of the OS that that would be a change that possibly damaged your hardware which in turn would be void then.. Think about it.
    • by rrossman2 (844318)

      Easy.. look at some of the mixed 2.2 and 2.3 ROMs for android. They can't do a pure 2.3 for the Samsung Galaxy S using code from the Nexus S as the front facing camera runs at a higher voltage on the Nexus S, and using that "driver" on the Galaxy S destroys the front facing camera. Also, the clock speeds and voltages can vary, and if you cross (I think the limit for the Hummingbird is) 3.1v, you could overheat the CPU and cause damage. So software can and has caused hardware to break, and if it's software t

      • by sjames (1099)

        We used to have a name for hardware that was that easily destroyed with software......

        Ah, yes, we called it defective. There is a HUGE difference between twiddling a bit in a configuration register and taking a soldering iron to the board! In the inevitable car analogy, the manufacturer has to actually show that your mods caused the problem, not just say you opened the hood so it's your fault.

        Are zener diodes in short supply?

        • Hardware is not necessarily defective simply because it can easily be destroyed with software! A CPU has no way to know what clock speed it is supposed to be running at. Any fool can install a custom ROM on a smartphone with a custom kernel capable of ramping up the stock voltage beyond what the CPU is able to handle. How does that imply that the CPU was defective? Going back to your car analogy -- that is liking blaming the car because the engine seized when you tried to run it for 20,000 miles without an
    • The article is about MS voiding the warranty on their software. Presumably a separate warranty would exist with the hardware provider. Now smartphone hardware providers currently tend to only support one OS (though hopefully this will change), so I'm guessing it may end up voiding their warranty as well, but that is a separate issue. The hardware issue would likely be like installing Linux on a Dell PC 10 years ago. Sure you can do it, but it wasn't officially supported by Dell so good luck calling Del
  • Just type either webos20090606 or upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart and the developer mode switch pops up on the screen. They also paid airfare and hotel for one of the top homebrew developers to come to their last major developer conference. Oh and they just sent that team a brand new HP server with no strings attached.

  • Microsoft is smart. This is the same way they won the OS wars in the 90's. Apple developed a proprietary system and forced people to do it there way or no way, while Microsoft said "here is an OS that can make any system you develop better" and let people do as they wished. While Apple does allow for home brew software, it still has the same restriction as every app on the app store, unless you jailbreak of course
  • My Palm WebOS phone (pre) has a maybe 0.05% market share... but it has some really interesting features. Like the ability to root the phone in a supported fashion and the existence of a repair tool to fix it when you screw it up. I'm not impressed by MS sitting down with phone 7 users. Yeah, users. Sure, they're advanced users, but they're just using their phone. I can't believe "jailbreaking" is a problem, nor that it would ever void a warranty. I wish more manufacturers did it like Palm did.
  • >"It would be great if Sony, Apple, Microsoft, and several Android phone makers would implement a simple development switch in their phones "

    Inotherwords, it would be great if they did what Palm/WebOS already did years ago. With WebOS Linux phones, you just enter a code (that everyone knows) and wham, you have root. Zero hacking required. Plus, I don't think it "voids the warranty". Why would it? It is just software. I can see where maybe the carrier and manufacturer wouldn't offer operational supp

    • The issue is not so much in unlocking the software, I'd imagine, but the firmware. It seems reasonable to me that a hardware warranty be voided by any number of tweaks you could make with custom firmware. Overclocking comes to mind.
  • They mention it in the story but... there is a ton of information on hacking WinCE-based devices. There are tons of alternate WinCE images for HTC devices for example. To stop it now would be to lose basically every developer not selling a complete device not intended to have functionality added (i.e. GPS, or in-car entertainment. although those desperately need hacking most times)

  • Hah!

    HP's webOS ships with a Linux-based OS and a simple, easy way to get root access on your device. In fact, they provide instructions on how to do so on their website.

    And it doesn't even come close to voiding your warranty. Even if you put on custom software.

  • Why not have a free app store with no censorship and no dev fees for free apps? you can just ban apps that only mess up the os or maybe just list them as unsafe apps. But no banning for things like sex or let's say a IOS app review magazine. (apple banded a android app review one)

    • by mikesd81 (518581)

      >Why not have a free app store with no censorship and no dev fees for free apps?

      Because it effects the bottom line.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Right, and I should be able to force WalMart to give away my free newspaper (that I support with ads).

      If I tell WalMart to stock it in their store for nothing, they can't tell me "no", nor decide not to carry it because it contains things they don't want to carry, like sex or editorials for competing stores.

      That sounds exactly like the sort of "rights" that America is so proud of, yes?

      Or do you mean "everyone has rights, except private store owners that I do not like, if they want to exercise a right that r

  • The Federal Court System has ruled jailbreaking to be totally legal and not a violation of the DMCA. I think Microsoft might be wise to sit down with the hackers.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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