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  • Gruber vs. chpwn on Jailbreaking

    A slow-motion argument has broken out among tech bloggers following a piece on GigaOM with the title "Why Apple Should End Its Fight Against iPhone Jailbreaking." John Gruber at Daring Fireball fired back with a post saying "Apple Isn’t ‘Fighting’ Jailbreaking." Grant (@chpwn) Paul responded with his own post "Apple is ‘Fighting’ Jailbreaking," to which Gruber replied with "Nope." The position we take at MMi shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but it's always good to examine other arguments.

    Colin Gibbs wrote a piece on the subscription-only GigaOM Pro where he called Apple's efforts to block jailbreaking "self-defeating and short-sighted." He argued that Apple could sell more iPhones if they just let jailbreaking happen "even implicitly, with a wink and a nod," as he put it: not supporting it, but not fighting it. John Gruber at Daring Fireball, known (perhaps sometimes unfairly) to follow the Apple party line, disagreed, writing that "Apple isn’t “fighting” jailbreaking. They simply don’t support it." Gruber's retort was that iOS 4.0.2 fixed an important security hole, and that Apple would be shirking its responsibilities if it hadn't done so. After this back and forth, @chpwn weighed in, writing on his blog that Apple's refusal to support downgrades "is direct proof that they are strongly against jailbreaking." Gruber's comeback was that "it’s about security and support... Apple isn’t going to support downgrading to an older version of the OS with known security vulnerabilities."


    Taking the last first, of course Apple supports downgrading to an older, more vulnerable version of the OS... if that OS is Mac OS X. They have a support document describing exactly how to do it, and downgrades all the way to 10.0 Cheetah - which was trivially easy to gain root on - are supported, as are all subsequent versions riddled with security holes. So this argument fails on its face.

    Next, the idea that Apple shouldn't have fixed the PDF hole is a red herring. Of course Apple should fix wide-open holes like that one, which made any iPhone vulnerable from malicious websites, but that's not an argument against all jailbreaking. Pwnage-style bootloader exploits require the user to intentionally put their devices in DFU mode, as opposed to userland exploits like JailbreakMe 1 and 2. It's difficult to make the case that these present a security problem to the average user.

    Apple didn't start with the "security" argument, of course: the original case the company made was that it was a violation of copyright. The fear, uncertainty and doubt Apple spread about security was an afterthought, and as digital-rights watchdogs the Electronic Frontier Foundation said at the time: "Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts… but we'd never accept this as a justification for welding every car hood shut."

    It would be truly ironic if the "free-market" test of whether Gibbs is right happened in - of all places - the communist People's Republic of China, where the iPhone/iPad carrier may end up offering pre-jailbroken devices to customers. In any event, no company has ever gone broke offering its customers more choice. This is about control, plain and simple.

    Source: @chpwn
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Gruber vs. chpwn on Jailbreaking started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 51 Comments
    1. aviegas's Avatar
      aviegas -
      It's all about the business model Apple has adopted for the iDevices, that can be viewed as "an evolution" of the model used on the Macs. Oficially, Mac OS X run exclusively on Apple Hardware, and is sold with that condition implied. But on Mac OS X you can run whatever program you like, so you control your system.

      iOS is an "evolved" OS, derived from Mac OS X, but you can only use whatever Apple sells to you (or you get for free at the AppStore). So Apple has the control, and profits all the way. They profit from the sale of the iDevice, from every App and from every accessory that is sold ("made for iDevices"). They also profit from the carrier agreements, either exclusive, like AT&T in not.

      To make the issue a bit more complex, lets remember how iOS came to be what it is now. First, it was designed to run only the standard Apps and the "reason" was "not to interfere with the AT&T network". Jailbreaking and the initial Apps, in particular the good old "Installer" showed Apple that there was indeed another business opportunity and they reviewed their "original position" (no extra apps) by creating the AppStore.

      Slowly, iOS started to peel off the layers of garbage that was introduced due to original business model suggested by AT&T. Things like Tethering, MMS, "multitasking" (I do not call that multitasking and iOS always had multitasking), etc, were slowly "introduced" as "features", and guess what, some of these features "would not run on old phones", so people would have to spend more money on a new device.

      So, the bottom line is: it's all about the business model, and jailbreak is a big treat to Apples cash cow:

      - They do not make money when Apps from other sources are installed;
      - They do not make money on accessories if people hack their phones to allow non-sanctioned accessories to connect (without warning or error) - (require a patch);
      - They do not make money when people install pirated Apps;
      - They have their "partners", the developers, pressing them to prevent JB, so they also do not make money;
      - Carriers also lose money, because of unlocking, and they press Apple to prevent it;
      - Carriers also lose money, with tethering, unauthorized VoIP, etc, so this is another reason for pressing Apple;

      Apple has enough reasons to prevent JB, and the war will continue.

      BTW, if Apple as so concerned about the security of the iPhone, why they left the 2G without a patch?
    1. Eagleye's Avatar
      Eagleye -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeroskater61 View Post
      So true..
      I went to the AT&T store about 3weeks ago and one of the workers there knows I have a JB i4 so he asked me for help on how to JB his 3GS and also asked me if I could make him a custom theme.

      So I did and right after he calls me asking me how to JB because he was telling customers about it and would show them his iphone and that all his customers were loving the whole JB and he wanted to show them how to do the JB as well.
      This is dumb... if you cant jailbreak it yourself, you have no business jailbreaking. Otherwise you get a bunch of n00bs coming onto mmi freaking out sayin -

      "I updated my iPhone in itunes and I cant find the Cydia app anymore and now none of my ROCK apps (gag me..) work anymore!! PLEEEEEAASEE HEEEELLLP!"

      So PLEEEAASEE, if you're gonna help someone with their jailbreaking process, give them a crash course on everything and then walk them through it. Teach them the ways of the mighty Jailbreak and they will come to greatly appreciate its power. Don't do it for them.
    1. screamforme02's Avatar
      screamforme02 -
      What are people saying apple isnt fighting it. They tried to make it illegal to do so. Make it illegal to change something you bought. hah. Its a love hate relationship they hate that people have better ideas but they love to steal the ideas from the jailbreak community. folders, backrounding (kinda), universal search, o snap wallpapers! They should be paying royalties to the developers of most of the cydia apps they ripped off!!! And oyeh the teathering option. pft apple can suck it! but i still want a new iphone haha see its all love hate
    1. decke's Avatar
      decke -
      Apple is glad that we jailbreak.

      Devs always find security holes for them. Apple goes and fixes it.

      Devs create apps and tweaks that people actually want. Apple goes and creates essentially the same thing and take credit for it.

      If it wasn't for jb community iPhone still wouldn't have copy/paste, mms, etc

      Why would apple fight against it?

      Just my 2cents.
    1. Snootch's Avatar
      Snootch -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPhoneInsanity View Post
      Jailbreaking is the best thing that happened to the iPhone!

      Quote Originally Posted by iPhoneInsanity View Post
      The only thing on an iPhone that should not be allowed is ********** and anything that could compromise/break the system. Apple would get a lot more sales if they supported jailbreaking, but then they would have to get a share of the money made from jailbroken Cydia packages or whatever store you use. It's either that or Apple should have an open-market Cydia of their own. Saurik has done well to keep it safe and useful.
      I agree that Apple would have more sales if they allowed downgrades and looked the other way at jailbreaking in general, but don't you think that by saying "but then they would have to get a share of the money made from jailbroken Cydia packages or whatever store you use" Is exactly like GM or Ford requiring to make money every time you painted or customized your car with "non-factory" parts or paint?
    1. iNsaneOS's Avatar
      iNsaneOS -
      To the person who responded to my reply: Apple getting a share from Cydia if they started approving jailbreaking is not like a car company asking for money from paint jobs and tweaks. Apple would be allowing a store to be on their iOS. That's more like a big business charging rent to a smaller business. Apple would be allowing them space to sell goods. That gives them the right to take a percentage from the business. Mechanic shops are not sitting on GM or Ford's property saying pay us to do this and this. Plus, mechanic shops do pay the companies sometime to put up their company names and things like that.
    1. kadernal's Avatar
      kadernal -
      in the post "nope" when he says that not allowing to downgrade to 4.0.1 because Apple only support the latest firmware version, so 4.0.2 since its the newest release..... ask millions of iphone 3g users who are not jailbroken if they would like to be able to downgrade from 4.0 to a 3.x firmware version. Im sure they would jump all over a downgrade. I think its funny that the newest and best firmware essentially ruins the user experience on these devices. Apple should be allowing these people to downgrade, instead they say they will upgrade it.... sometime in the future.

      so in response to Gruber's post... there are reasons other than jailbreak that a user might want to downgrade.
    1. Bluemoldycheeze88's Avatar
      Bluemoldycheeze88 -
      apple patches security holes, how is this wrong? It's their responsibility to ensure their product don't have any security issues even thou sometimes those holes are use for the jailbreak.
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      We've heard all the arguments before...

      Apple is a for profit company. They want all iphone users to purchase apps from the app store. That is their reason for locking down the iphone. Follow the money......
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      It has to come down to money. Apple doesn't want you jailbreaking and getting all kinds of new apps for free. That's understandable. A flashlight app can bring in a good $.30, and when you multiply that by millions it adds up. And this is before piracy.

      Of course, Apple wants to also preserve it's brand identity. If a bunch of porno apps are found by some kid playing with a jailbroken iPhone in the Apple Store, they could have a mess on their hands. No, it's a lot safer for Apple to banish jailbreaking altogether.

      However, the customization options and innovation that comes out of the modding community is priceless for Apple. They model their upgrades on what jailbreakers want! Because of this, us jailbreakers are at the forefront of innovation, and we'll always be 3 steps ahead of Apple, assuming the handful of jailbreak-program writers keep up their game
    1. Gangsta_Mac's Avatar
      Gangsta_Mac -
      I agree... I think anything Apple does regarding the iPhone is somehow stipulated in the CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT with AT&T (which is probably bigger than a phonebook) ... Steve seems like the type to actually be delighted that there are users smart enough to use the iPhone regardless of carrier...and whatever CORPORATE decisions Apple made initially (06' or whatever) had to be purely for an influx of cash (R&D for MacBookPro's, iPads, etc. aren't free you know)
      AT&T, on crutches at the time (are they off yet?), simply made a higher offer than any other phone company and, well kids, thats the way **** works in the real world.
      WE see Steve on stage and THINK he's the Turtle-necked Ringleader, but true MacHeads know that the "Suit N Ties" fired his *** for "Thinking Different" before...
      Make no mistake, Steve Jobs is a HACKER of the highest order and if u guys don't like what Apple or AT&T(or ANY other company) then you you should become one too...
    1. mvhurlburt's Avatar
      mvhurlburt -
      I agree with the article for the most part; firstly Apple should plug such large holes that are used in jailbreakme.com. Luckily the OSS community has done that for us jailbreakers, but I do believe that all userland JB's should be patched, though I agree that patching the bootloader is taking it a bit far, security vulnerability or not. As far as BL exploits go, perhaps if they were a bit harder to accomplish so that every person and their mother can do it Apple might not take such a strong stance. Fact is that since jailbreaking has become a catch phrase at this point and you have every script kiddie and newb doing it which makes it very understandable that apple doesn't want to support broken/bricked devices. Most of us here aren't going to apple when we accidentally screw our device and it won't reboot. Apple should offer a way to run unsigned code with and explicit warning as to it voiding the warranty if hardware is damaged but only if that happens. Honestly how hard is it for one of their so called "genius' " to do a restore and chances if you can't find a way to find a way to restore to stock you've got a problem in HW. Especially if Apple made the tool they wouldn't have to worry about people destroying ROMs that reside in HW unless they used some other tool but why would anyone ever even dev one if it were available by default. On top of all that security holes like the one used in jbme.com that could be used for malicious code might not ever make it to malicious eyes...or they might never be found and patched...so it's hard to say...
    1. iphonefreedom's Avatar
      iphonefreedom -
      I believe the true reason we jailbreak our phones is to unlock the true potential of the device. Apple knows that the iPhone is capable of so much more than they allow and like to limit the boundaries of the phone
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      I think that both sides have alittle bit of the truth being said here. I stand benign
    1. Amadomon's Avatar
      Amadomon -
      Quote Originally Posted by MarkF_AC700 View Post
      ive never heard of ATT employees j/b iphones for customers, all they have to do is unlock, and they say bye bye to ATT
      or not. I'm both jailbroken and unlocked but still on AT&T. They have the best service for me, and yes, their 3G is faster than T-Mobil's 2G (and getting faster). The unlock is for when I'm overseas. AT&T with no contract FTW!
    1. macsoldier's Avatar
      macsoldier -
      My opinion is I dont think Apple really cares if we jailbreak, I think there is something more to the big picture that we arent seeing, maybe something with a contract like mentioned above with ATT or even something bigger than that, MONEY, think of all the downloads off of iTunes now put all those into Cydia or Rock. Apple loses money. I seen a post somebody wrote something like this - Why would APPLE want more money Jobs is already rich. I laughed in my head. Now obviously being sarcastic wait I hope at least Now if APPLE loses money we lose cool products. Im not sure how much income APPLE receives off of iTUnes but im sure its enough to make a few iPhones or so lol.
    1. ifonemaniac's Avatar
      ifonemaniac -
      For everyone who has read these posts so far lemme just be the first to say STOP HERE...

      I can sum up the rest of these responses: *clears throat* RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE! MY TWO UNEDUCATED CENTS; BACKED UP ONLY BY PERSONAL OPINIONS RABBLE RABBLE...

    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      Apple's spin-machine in full-gear. If one argument doesn't fly, try another, then another. Eventually they will find something that satisfies the fan-boys and in turn, get the 'bend-over give me more Apple can do no wrong' fan-boy support.
    1. ziim's Avatar
      ziim -
      Why was the exploit fixed on iOS before OSX?
      If its so severe, why no fix for iPhone 2g or iPod Touch 1g?
      Why did Steve Jobs call it a cat and mouse game?

      They Don't Want Jailbreaking!
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      Come on Comex all that the people with the new iPhone 4 without SHSH need is a tool so they can downgrade iPhone 4 iOS 4.0.2 to 4.0.1 so they can jailbreak it too, I know you can doit. You are my hero.