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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. MarkF_AC700's Avatar
      MarkF_AC700 -
      so, apple is not supporting it but not fighting it, but sorta fighting it

      maybe when apple drops AT&T they say hey, we have no obligation to be exclusive to any carrier, so jailbreak away
    1. firedog341's Avatar
      firedog341 -
      AT&T says plug the leak, so Apple plugs it.
    1. M4tt Dam0n's Avatar
      M4tt Dam0n -
      Jailbreaking isn't just about Unlocking. Why is everyone mentioning AT&T everytime an article is about jailbreaking.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Wow, what an underwhelming article. More work needed to be put into this one.
    1. Amadomon's Avatar
      Amadomon -
      Quote Originally Posted by firedog341 View Post
      AT&T says plug the leak, so Apple plugs it.
      ...except that all the guys at my local AT&T store jailbreak their phones and even help their customers do it. They know that connectivity is just a commodity and instead compete on service...such as by jailbreaking their customers' phones. Real value-added service.
    1. reanimationxp's Avatar
      reanimationxp -
      I think is the rare argument where everyone is right, at least to some degree. I have not seen evidence that Apple is explicitly fighting it, with the exception of perhaps updates like 3.1.3 and patching 24kpwn. Those could be viewed as an attack on jailbreaking, but as I've stated before, it's also still security.

      What if a virus came out that did exactly what Blackra1n did, but was malicious? You plug your phone into an infected computer, and BAM.. with no warning your phone is nuked, or all your txts are leaked, or something else very bad. With almost every jailbreak, Apple does have a need to plug the hole for the protection of their customers no matter what the jailbreak, with the exception of maybe custom firmware, pwnage style. Then, I think they're just avoiding it to reduce unneeded support costs.

      Not allowing downgrades is another story, and probably the most offensive move they've made. Not allowing non-Apple signed firmware is one thing, but not allowing you downgrade to an older stock firmware is just downright wrong. Rubs me the same way as Sony removing 'Other OS' capability from my PS3. Sure, I could keep it, but at the cost of PSN connectivity. The choice is already made for me and I lose an advertised feature with nothing to show for it. As the late geohot said, "PS3 is the only device that loses features as it gets updated". This is wrong.

      I believe both parties are right, but @gruber, as usual, is not even opening his eyes to the non-Apple biased side. This is not news.. it's just gruber being gruber as usual. He's good for some inside news once in a while, but when it comes to opinion, his is usually skewed.
    1. MarkF_AC700's Avatar
      MarkF_AC700 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Amadomon View Post
      ...except that all the guys at my local AT&T store jailbreak their phones and even help their customers do it. They know that connectivity is just a commodity and instead compete on service...such as by jailbreaking their customers' phones. Real value-added service.
      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
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Give me my 5 minutes I wasted reading this post back...
    1. Captinsmooth's Avatar
      Captinsmooth -
      Quote Originally Posted by paganizonda83 View Post
      Wow, what an underwhelming article. More work needed to be put into this one.

      My thoughts exactly.
    1. iNsaneOS's Avatar
      iNsaneOS -
      Jailbreaking is the best thing that happened to the iPhone! 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.
    1. cricketlang's Avatar
      cricketlang -
      Uhhhhhhh ummmmmm ehhhhh

      Ok
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      I thought jailbreaking/unlocking declared legal? Whats apple doing?
    1. love2drive2fast's Avatar
      love2drive2fast -
      Quote Originally Posted by MarkF_AC700 View Post
      so, apple is not supporting it but not fighting it, but sorta fighting it

      maybe when apple drops AT&T they say hey, we have no obligation to be exclusive to any carrier, so jailbreak away
      Quote Originally Posted by firedog341 View Post
      AT&T says plug the leak, so Apple plugs it.
      I'm not sold on either of these ...

      I say it's Apple's ego (or something). They have always exercised a broader level of control over there devices & OS's than others (using security and stability as an excuse). I'm not saying this is the actual reason or not ... but I think with so many iPhones out there (all connected, all the time), there is certainly the potential for maliciousness on a scale we really haven't seen before now ... and along with that liability, on an equal scale ... should the wrong app find it's way into wide circulation.

      Being exclusive, AT&T has really nothing to lose with jailbreaking ... they will get a piece of every phone sold (a bigger piece for non-contract phones), and service for many phones that people are probably not using on their network, early termination fees, etc. They would probably sell even more if jailbreaking were allowed.

      Plus jailbreaking <> unlocking ... but I guess for the sake of this thread they are one and the same. I am very happy with my AT&T service, so my jailbreaking my phone to customize my phone the way I like, doesn't affect them at all ... now when I unlock it to sell it and buy my next one, maybe ... but if I didn't, I couldn't afford to upgrade as often, and they'd lose those $s.

      One thing is certain ... Apple and AT&T will always make $ regardless of jailbreaking, or unlocking
    1. zeroskater61's Avatar
      zeroskater61 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Amadomon View Post
      ...except that all the guys at my local AT&T store jailbreak their phones and even help their customers do it. They know that connectivity is just a commodity and instead compete on service...such as by jailbreaking their customers' phones. Real value-added service.

      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.
    1. raduga's Avatar
      raduga -
      Quote Originally Posted by paganizonda83 View Post
      Wow, what an underwhelming article. More work needed to be put into this one.
      More work, or maybe a bit less?

      It depends on whether "not posting it" would be more or less work than writing and posting it. As flamewars go, this one is about as wild as Steve Jobs vs Steve Jobs' Liver.
    1. alexevo's Avatar
      alexevo -
      It isn't about AT&T because if you jailbreak here in the US, your only other cohice is T-Mobile. If you thought AT&T's network sucked, wait until you use your iPhone on EDGE-only on T-Mobile. It is about Apple getting pissed off when some apps can be had on Cydia for free that do a better job than the paid ones you get on the AppStore thus costing Apple money. Plus jailbreaking sometimes leads to performance issues which would cast a negative light on the hardware to those that don't know the relation between jailbroken phones and non-jailbroken phones.
    1. leoslistofnames's Avatar
      leoslistofnames -
      Apple doesn't care what att thinks the reason behind preventing jailbreaks is because of the developers who give jailbreaking a bad reputation such as the creators of **********, appcake and udidfaker.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      I'm siding with chpwn, what has mr fireball done to the jb community?
    1. mohaas05's Avatar
      mohaas05 -
      Apple has a responsibility to patch exploits, even if they are used for something good like Jailbreaking, because they can also be used for more sinister purposes.

      Also, as much as you want to argue it, jailbreaking is a direct path for piracy, and Apple needs to protect the interests of its developers on the App Store as well.

      It's not like Apple is the only one that does this either, virtually all mobile device companies actively patch exploits as well. Some are even more sinister about it, such as Sony, who actually designed certain PSP's to "brick" if you downgraded them.
    1. stfudvs's Avatar
      stfudvs -
      apple patches security exploits, as they should