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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."

    Well.

    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. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Can't tell you how annoyed I am at the ignorant comments from Gruber. Would he seriously purchase any type of PC, where he could never get root access on his own hardware and was only allowed to install programs approved of by the manufacturer? This point is so obvious. I wonder what this guys' real motivation is in making such provocative and downright stupid and insulting comments.

      Right now app developers ARE getting screwed as a result of Apple's minimalist efforts to circumvent app piracy. You see why that's convenient for Apple? Because now they get to associate jailbreakers with piracy, porn, money laundering, the Mafia, terrorism, etc. Apple could address the app piracy issue, but instead prefer to simply maintain a closed OS. I do get the quality control part and wasn't impressed to find porn on my son's ipod touch (hey, Steve, I though these devices were free from porn? Turns out a quick search on the google app turns up tons of the stuff!). But quality control has never previously stopped you from customizing your own personal computer. Just because our PCs are much smaller than they used to be, why does that mean I can no longer have the root password?
    1. speedfreak228's Avatar
      speedfreak228 -
      Why won't they allow themes on the AppStore? Alot of ppl would pay for it.
    1. newportgambler's Avatar
      newportgambler -
      gruber is an apple fanboy but sometimes talks out his ***
    1. Freerunnering's Avatar
      Freerunnering -
      Daring Fireball Linked List: Nope

      Just a comment on his end point.

      Put another way: I know that many App Store developers wish that Apple were “fighting jailbreaking”, because App Store piracy depends upon it.
      The argument that jailbreaking is bad because app piracy depends on it is a pointless case as the truth is it doesn't depend on it it just makes it easier/quicker.

      Most people are now in a waiting time between jailbreaks if they have a new device or updated.
      But back when there was another waiting time for jailbreaks for 3GS on 3.1+ i saw guides popping up on how to use xcode to install pirated apps on completely unjailbroken device or how to sign them to distribute to other unjailbroken devices.

      Just pointing out more holes in his arguments.
    1. Retrolock's Avatar
      Retrolock -
      If I were working for Apple and I had a huge investment in the corporation I wouldn't want anyone of you touching my goods and you making money off it and not giving anything back to me. Like what Mafia Dons would say "You *insert italian expletive here* should wet my beak, capisce?
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by Retrolock View Post
      If I were working for Apple and I had a huge investment in the corporation I wouldn't want anyone of you touching my goods and you making money off it and not giving anything back to me. Like what Mafia Dons would say "You *insert italian expletive here* should wet my beak, capisce?
      So you're comparing Apple to the mob? You're okay with that picture?
    1. Retrolock's Avatar
      Retrolock -
      Quote Originally Posted by paganizonda83 View Post
      So you're comparing Apple to the mob? You're okay with that picture?
      what's wrong with that? lol
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      I think it's an insult to the Mob. Surely they aren't as bad as Apple....
    1. sleeping_giant's Avatar
      sleeping_giant -
      A well written piece. I agree with the assessment 100%.

      In addition, for those who may have missed the recent August 22nd Cnet article entitled, "Apple Applies for Patent to Kill Jailbroken Devices"

      http://tinyurl.com/2vmd45p

      Which, if doubt still lingers, makes it crystal clear on where Cupertino stands on truly owning one's purchased device..
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      We may own the physical iDevice, but Apple wants to control 'everything' we do with it!!
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      Quote Originally Posted by sleeping_giant View Post
      A well written piece. I agree with the assessment 100%.

      In addition, for those who may have missed the recent August 22nd Cnet article entitled, "Apple Applies for Patent to Kill Jailbroken Devices"

      Apple applies for patent to kill jailbroken devices | Apple - CNET News

      Which, if doubt still lingers, makes it crystal clear on where Cupertino stands on truly owning one's purchased device..
      That was posted on mmi a week or two ago