Google's Android open source OS 'jailbroken'

Fans of Google's Android OS, now available on T-Mobile G1 phones, can finally feel more "at home" with the Open Source notion Google is taking.

"Jailbreaking", a popular term popularized by Apple's iPhone, means "getting full (root) access". Why exactly would you jailbreak an open source device based on Linux? Google has locked down several portions of the phone's Linux-based OS to secure the system from malicious scripts or applications. However, this lock down incited anger and a feeling of betrayal from many open source and free software backers, who said that people should be able to have full control over their phones.

A group of hackers at the XDA community have developed a workaround not for the faint of heart. As always, take caution before proceeding.

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13 Comments

Does it seem to anyone else that google is doing more and more "evil" now-a-days? Not giving everyone access to the full SDK while Andriod was in development, and then this?

sonrah said,
Does it seem to anyone else that google is doing more and more "evil" now-a-days? Not giving everyone access to the full SDK while Andriod was in development, and then this?

mmm apple did the same damn thing dude.

>> and then this

Well considering how easy the full root exploit surfaced, I think maybe Google decided to open up the platform more to get help from the community as they are not capable of properly securing the OS. (Sad but true.)

As for the evil, they have always been a marketing company that makes money from ads. Their online software, search, and other 'features/tools' are all designed to either get more ad traffic or data mine information from users to use in their marketing and ad business - that is where they make money. So all their 'good' stuff has an inherent hidden agenda, that by nature is somewhat evil - even if you just factor in that 99% of their users have no idea Google is collecting data from all services their users access.

It's open source anyway, so it doesn't make sense to limit what applications can be written for it. It shouldn't have to be "jailbroken" in the first place.

Windows Mobile is closed source, but you can write any program for it in any language.

I disagree, Google *could* of completely unlocked the OS for users to freely do what they want with it, but then it would also compromise the security of the device. By giving the user full access, your giving potential attackers full access as well. There needs to be and should be, a line between giving users freedom to do what they want and security, full unrestricted access is asking for trouble in my honest opinion.

I'd imagine they also limit you for support purposes. No carrier is going to agree to support a phone based on your OS if they think that every 5 minutes someone is going to walk through their doors because they deleted key files or ran a malicious script.

Really simple hack, but effective. This of course should be considered a security flaw, I can't see google locking it again...

Ok, I agree with you guys, but you must ask yourself why things are being locked? 80% (or higher?) users of mobile phones (G1) don't have a clue about programming and scripting, all they want are apps that are usefull (or not). They don't care how things are working as long as they are working. If some bussines man opens his root so that every app can have access to it and then some xyz app is gonna somehow install rootkit (ex virus) and stole his informations or any other important data. Who's faullt is it? His? Mobile Operator? No, it would be Google's fault and that's why things are locked.

I agree, Google is not evil for locking the OS, it is for the safety of all the everyday users as they have no clue what "root," "terminal," and "bash" are for example. What would you say if they released an OS that caused your phone to be hacked/killed by some idiot walking down the street just because he can?

Oh and XDA-Developers for life! They have saved my tilt from the darkness called boredom many many times with their addons, and unofficial upgrades.

I hardly consider this "jailbreaking" or "security" for that matter, as anything you type in the phone is run as root in a hidden console.
Try typing the following on the main screen and see how good their security really is:

mount -oremount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
rm -rf /
y

Congrats, you now have a brick.

Yeah, don't ever do an "rm -rf /". By the way, this has already been patched - the hole is closed. The update is automatic and will be pushed out to all phones. Party's over.

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