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Google Handhelds Open Source Operating Systems

G2 Detects When Rooted and Reinstalls Stock OS 406

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-to-the-beginning dept.
RandyDownes writes "And you thought the Droid X's kill switch was bad. HTC and T-Mobile's new G2 can detect when it's been rooted and responds by reinstalling the factory OS. This seems like a violation of the Apache license Android is licensed under and is especially ironic given Eric Schmidt's recent statement about not requiring carriers to give consumers the option to install Google's own version of the OS. Schmidt called it a violation of the principles of open source." Update: 10/06 17:47 GMT by S : As readers have noted, the G2 is not from Motorola. Here's a better source, and here's the XDA Developers thread discussing the issue.
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G2 Detects When Rooted and Reinstalls Stock OS

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  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:37PM (#33812514)
    ...battle for control over our mobile devices. Fuck it, I don't care anymore. The war certainly won't be won in its current direction. It needs fundamental change at the consumer level.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:38PM (#33812528)

    You get what you pay for.

    If you really want to have an "open" device, you should have supported the various open hardware platforms that eventually failed because of your lack of support.

    You can't really complain that you don't have choices when you made no effort to support the good choices that you had.

  • Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:44PM (#33812694)

    This seems like a violation of the Apache license Android is licensed under

    Yes, it "seems" like a violation of the Apache license because you don't like it (i don't either for that matter), but please explain to me how it is an actual violation of that license. Have you ever read the thing?

  • by PPalmgren (1009823) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:45PM (#33812732)

    ...but now I feel bad for even supporting Motorola/HTC. We have a Droid and an Eris, which are fine, but the G2 and D2 are going in the wrong direction. I will not renew with either of these companies if they continue with these retarded shenanigans.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#33813290) Homepage

    No. It limits their ability. Not the same thing.

  • Agreed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#33813294)

    Agreed. What's up with all these evil hackers who think that just because you buy a physical device, that somehow gives you the right to own it? What about the corporation that made it? Why should *they* have to give up control rights, just because someone else bought it from them?

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3rNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#33813304)
    Really? Care to explain why this should be acceptable behavior from a consumer electronics device?
  • by Hohlraum (135212) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:06PM (#33813320) Homepage

    It will be hacked in 2 weeks time. If you don't want that crap on your phone then buy a different phone. There are lots to choose from.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3rNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:06PM (#33813340)

    app prices

    What is different from Maemo than Android, iOS, or WinPhone 7 (when released)? The OS vendors aren't the ones controlling the prices, the developers are.

  • Re:The Reason Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:08PM (#33813374) Homepage

    Yes, the consumer is the customer. You, however, are not the consumer. It's intended for the 99% of users whose phone will never be rooted by anything other than malware.

  • I'll Ask (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:10PM (#33813424)
    So, I'll take the karma hit and ask - to all the people that rant and rave about how closed and proprietary Apple is and how wonderful Android is, how does this sit within your vision of things? I thought the entire appeal of Android was that it was your phone and you could put what you wanted on it yet this is far from the first example of another Android manufacturer exerting (rather extreme, in my opinion) control over what you can and cannot put on the device.
  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Petersko (564140) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:17PM (#33813572)
    "Yet another example of why I am sooooooo glad I don't own a smartphone and won't be buying one soon."

    I can't shift into drive in my vehicle unless I have my foot on the brake. By your logic I should do without all the good reasons to own a vehicle and walk everywhere instead.
  • Re:The Reason Why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:17PM (#33813600)

    This is why I'd like some type of thing akin to a seal and a printed notice, "warranty void if seal opened". The N1 had this when flipping on OEM unlock.

    Perhaps this is the best compromise. To keep Joe Sixpack from getting exploited by a Dancing Bunnies exploit, what would be ideal is to require ADB to be installed, a command issued from the PC that would pop up a lengthy, scary as hell to uneducated users that they are about to cross into Mordor, and that they can easily back out right now with no harm done, or proceed and void their warranty. Some warning dialog that even someone who is drunk, baked, high, coked up, and tripping has a good chance of understanding. User clicks "proceed", fastboot is opened, signature checking is relaxed to allow any keys to sign recovery, boot, and OS ROMS, ro.secure is set to 0, /bin/su is enabled and a .apk file for the confirmation part of su installed.

    Of course, there would be a method to put this all back and shut the barn door if the user wants to have the phone back for service, similar to a DFU reinstall on iOS devices, but that will be buried in the fine print. This way, if someone does hose up their phone, it isn't hard to get them back to a known good OS level.

  • Re:I'll Ask (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#33813674)

    It shows this android owner that he will have to be very careful about his next phone purchase. Honestly if I cannot get a phone I can use as I want I will go back to a non-smartphone.

  • Walled gardens. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#33813684)

    The problem is that companies like Google and HTC bend to the will of the carriers. They openly permit garbage on these phones. The irony here is that they're decimating their own brands this way.

    The carriers themselves have this desperate hope that consumers will accept their walled garden as willingly as they accept they accept Apple's. The problem is that their garden is overrun with weeds and has an overflowing outhouse sitting right there as a centerpiece. People tolerate, even embrace Apple's practices because there's a good level of quality and consistency. A lot of money and effort is invested in maintaining this quality. These other carriers, however, cut corners everywhere they can and put no effort whatsoever into maintaining quality. All they want to do is keep consumers locked in forcibly. They're deluded into believing they can offer something competitive with Apple's app store. They might drive away that consumer at some point, but for now they've got them trapped.

    This is one of the consequences of having separate companies develop the OS and the device. Beyond the problem of countless variations of the same basic thing, a user experience that isn't seamlessly integrated these companies simply don't have the leverage Apple enjoys.

    This is not to say that I believe that the iPhone reflects some wonderland of technology but simply that the iPhone and the app store have become the benchmark.

  • by madbavarian (1316065) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#33813698)

    If you could actually AFFORD the phone you buy a unlocked one.. Google tried to sell you one, none of you cheap bastards bought one.

    The G2 is also available for $500 from T-Mobile free and clear with no contract. It will be interesting to see what justification T-Mobile comes out with for locking down the bootloader on the G2 when it is bought outright like this.

  • by Lifyre (960576) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:23PM (#33813768)

    AT&T probably isn't that pissed. Due to their pricing you're still subsidizing the new phones you never got...

  • Re:The Reason Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mystik (38627) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:24PM (#33813770) Homepage Journal

    This is a crap argument.

    The only way to 'get root' on many of these devices is to attach a cable to the phone, invoke a special command to get a root shell, and only then can things be mucked with, by using a unix command shell.

    How can malware get on the phone if 99% of the users will be only using it through the phone's on-screen menu system? On Android, arn't all apps sandboxed + running as non-root? If an app can break out of this process model, arn't there more serious problems @ stake here?

    How can malware 'trick' the user into 'getting root' when that same 99% doesn't know wtf that is?

    I want a portable data terminal. I want to run my own scripts and programs on my portable data terminal that do what I want. I want a computer I can keep in my pocket and have it's network interface linked up to the wireless tower. I want to pay a reasonable fee for this service. Why can't any of the US carriers deliver that in a straightforward package?

  • Re:I'll Ask (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:24PM (#33813790) Journal

    I thought the entire appeal of Android was that it was your phone and you could put what you wanted on it

    You can. Google exerts no control over the Android marketplace. They sell apps that compete with their own Google apps (would Apple ever allow this?), apps that compete with the default carrier apps and apps that even allow you to violate the terms of service you agreed to with Verizon/AT&T/etc.

  • by TheCRAIGGERS (909877) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:40PM (#33814072)

    Google tried to sell you one, none of you cheap bastards bought one.

    I think you have it all wrong.

    The Nexus One only was available for T-Mobile (not exactly the biggest carrier state-side) and AT&T, which was going up against the extremely popular iDevices.

    Lack of consumer demand didn't kill the device- the boardroom politics did. Why does AT&T love the iPhone? It's surely not the infrastructure problems they gained with the mass of users all wanting to watch videos of dogs skateboarding on Youtube. It's the fact that they have a highly desirable device that you can only get on their network. Even if AT&T wasn't already a household name, they are now attached to a device that is. That's big.

    Compare this to the N1. Google comes to Verizon and wants to sell them on a new smartphone that they will have zero control over and is not going to win them any new customers at all, because it will exist on all carriers. Why would Verizon take the time and energy to get the handset working on their system for no gain, when they can work with Motorola and create a snazzy new Droid that, just like AT&T's iPhone, will only exist on their network thus attracting new customers. Not only that, but accepting Google's new phone would possibly hurt their relationship with their other business partners- I'm sure that there were some heated discussions between Verizon and Motorola's bigwigs when the N1 was first announced, and I wouldn't be surprised if there was some bad blood between them and Google seeing how Google worked with them on the original Droid right before announcing their own super phone.

    No, the N1 experiment never even got off the runway. It was an experiment to see if a device catering directly to geeks (who else would pay an extra $300 for an unlocked phone?) would have enough marketing power to sustain itself, and of course forcing carriers to open up a bit. It sadly failed on both accounts.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mysteray (713473) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:49PM (#33814310) Homepage

    I can't shift into drive in my vehicle unless I have my foot on the brake. By your logic I should do without all the good reasons to own a vehicle and walk everywhere instead.

    If I were to take out the blowtorch and modify my vehicle to bypass that interlock (perhaps it makes a better race car, tractor, electric generator power source, etc. that way), the company that I buy gas from would not remotely wipe out my modified creation without permission.

    What if the modified car is being used to drill a well to provide clean water to starving orphans? Would you have them all drink mosquito-infested standing water from abandoned tires? (dumped by the greedy jailbreak-hating mobile phone carriers no doubt!) WHY DO YOU HATE ORPHANS?!?!

    Sorry, got a little carried away there. I'll decline the karma bonus.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:06PM (#33814590)

    What are you talking about? This is an article where we make wild and unsupported claims about Google, Apple, Microsoft, and every major cell phone carrier. This isn't an article where we discuss facts.

    Clearly, the article is confused, filled with contradictory and unsubstantiated claims. But why does that matter? The truth or falsehood of the claims will have no relationship to the content of the articles or posts you find on this website.

  • by Urkki (668283) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:11PM (#33814690)

    app prices

    What is different from Maemo than Android, iOS, or WinPhone 7 (when released)? The OS vendors aren't the ones controlling the prices, the developers are.

    I think he was talking about "apt-get install packagename" type applications. In that world, the price is pretty much set in stone by the license, usually GPL, and for end-users is effectively zero no matter how you measure it.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:12PM (#33814718)

    Wow, your nick comes into full display. Do you happen to own an N900 and are simply ignorant of its capabilities or are you just spewing BS?

    Nokia decided that the 3G functionality only needs support for two European bands

    Last I checked it supported 3G on 3 bands and GSM (2.5G) on 4. And coverage as a result is way better than say a CDMA2000 phone, which won't work at all in most countries.

    Only the baseline GSM (which means EDGE data rates if you are lucky) works outside of Europe.

    Now that's hilarious, because I spent 2 weeks in Japan and had 3.5G pretty much everywhere on DoCoMo's FOMA network.

    Everyone else, which means most people in North America (only one GSM network with questionable coverage in the USA and one covering literally just the downtown areas of three major cities in Canada are capable of supporting it there) is out of luck.

    That's because the US is an outlier compared to the rest of the world. I use my N900 on AT&T's 2.5G network because I'd rather tolerate a slower data speed (which still works for 100% of everything I do) than buy a device that does less than I'd desire and be stuck to a contract.

  • by Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:14PM (#33814748)

    Unfortunately, that doesn't apply to sufficiently large corporations, at least not without a lot more stuff to actually get the ball rolling.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:15PM (#33814760) Homepage

    Crappy analogy. Locked in a cage you are not free to do anything. Sold a phone that doesn't do quite what you'd like leaves you free to do anything else, including throwing it away or hacking it.

    You *chose* to buy the damn phone. If you now find that it doesn't do what you want (but does do as the vendor promised) throw it in the trash. If it doesn't do what the vendor promised demand your money back. "Rights" != "Entitlements"

  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:15PM (#33814768)

    You don't. You don't have to buy it.

    Everyone FUCKING says this. Each and every time. And every time yet another vendor does this, that's one less device I can opt not to buy. Eventually I will have no devices to buy. So you're saying that I can progressively pull out of the market until I am forced to opt out of technology in general because I don't agree to being abused by OEMs?

    That's utterly and fundamentally fucked, sir.

  • by kaiser423 (828989) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:16PM (#33814782)
    Original droid was unlocked, only required a simple root and is absolutely hackable. I love mine to death.

    Samsung's Galaxy S line is "hack" friendly, as is they don't go out of their way to prevent custom ROMs. I'm really hoping that everyone decides to just put up fences to keep most people out, but allows tinkerers to play, rather than this Fort Knox crap.
  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:16PM (#33814786)

    The main reason no-one bought one was they did the math ; if you are sufficiently organised to set a calendar event to remind you to change your phone plan at the end of your contract, it's cheaper to get the phone on a contract. If you actually use the capacity of the larger plans (as opposed to just going for the more expensive plan to get a phone subsidy), then it's DEFINITELY cheaper to get the phone with a contract.

    If they offered an equivalent talk + data plan, cheaper over 2 years than the cost of a smartphone, I'd be all over it. But they don't.

  • by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:26PM (#33814962) Homepage

    Which is happening in the EU.

    Consumers are buying unlocked phones. I am definitely not buying any more contract phones and I could not care less what is exclusive and what is not. Android did with that. There is enough of the same from all carriers and unlocked as well so no need to fight for that coveted spot in the queue in front of the shop when a new gadget comes out.

    An average smartphone costs 230£ to 400£ for most models. That is well within what most people can afford nowdays and most carriers have pretty good SIM-only tariffs.

  • Re:Wut? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:26PM (#33814976)

    please explain to me how it is an actual violation of that license

    Section 3, paragraph 11, about a third of the way down, "Don't be evil."

    Indeed. For anyone under misapprehsion that Google does not have the propensity for evil, or is not already evil, this should remove any remaining doubt.

    If the issue is not resolved satisfactorily, and by that I mean by Google and not by the usual ever-vigilant outside developers, I will simply return the G2 I bought yesterday. I was perfectly happy with my nonsmart Nokia music phone, which has the additional advantages that it fits comfortably in my pocket and runs for several days without a recharge.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:48PM (#33815372)

    So, IgnoramusMaximus pointed out that the N900 doesn't work at 3G in the US, and thus has a serious shortcoming for much of the /. audience.

    Your rebuttal, in which you says he's wrong, states that your N900 only works at 2.5G in the US on AT&T's network.

    Except that you're wrong, in that it does work on 3G in the US and Canada. They don't have huge amounts of coverage, but they're the only ones in the US that actually share frequencies with European carriers (and Japanese, and Chinese, and Indian...)

    So he's wrong. And you're wrong.

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:49PM (#33815388) Homepage Journal

    I'm writing from my laptop tethered to a myTouch Slide running CyanogenMOD and Barnacle wifi tethering, so I'm getting a kick out of these comments.

    Getting about 1Mbps HSDPA from inside a building. I really notice when it drops down to 64kbps EDGE, though.

    I try to be responsible with me tethering though... I'm not running any streaming music or anything. I've generated about 5MB down, 1MB up in the past hour.

    I don't see why they would get so upset about tethering when people running Google Navigation on cross-country drives or Youtube vids would burn through much, much more. Aside from if they want to charge extra for that feature (like SMS, yech... charging extra to use low QoS?)

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:50PM (#33815410)

    When I rooted my Droid X, all it took was a replacement of the Busybox executable to give me all the tools I needed. It isn't Maemo, but I have pretty much everything but gpg and mutt available [1].

    An iPhone just doesn't require just an exploit to UID 0, it requires one to get out of the BSD jail() with root. It also requires the jailbreak to install a complete userland including an install system (dpkg), shells, an app (Cydia) to manage everything. Even worse, the jailbroken Mobile Terminal app is barely usable, and has to be hunted down from a repo, as the one that comes as default from Cydia does not work on iOS 4.

    This doesn't say that the iPhone is bad; it means that a jailbreak on this device is a lot harder to do elegantly than rooting an Android phone.

    [1]: Even in the days of Web applications aplenty, there is no faster mail reader than mutt on a decently responsive system, especially if the spool file is local.

  • Re:Define "ironic" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:08PM (#33815692) Homepage

    By the hardware manufacturer, of course. This has nothing to do with Google.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:14PM (#33815794)

    I'm surprised at the hate people get for mentioning the N900. It's almost as if people are incensed at the mention of a non-Android, non-iPhone device.

    Uh, no, that's not it. It's the same reason nobody wants to hear anybody blindly mention how the iPhone solves everybody's problems.

  • Re:I'll Ask (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @04:27PM (#33816026) Journal

    and how long until verizon locks you out of the android market and substitutes the v-cast market instead?

    That's be a neat trick, since they don't control the software on my phone. I rooted it and removed their ability to push software updates to my phone.

    Besides, unless you have evidence that they intend to do that (and I highly doubt they would) it's all just rumor and innuendo.

  • Re:The Reason Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:54PM (#33817440)

    This is why I'd like some type of thing akin to a seal and a printed notice, "warranty void if seal opened". The N1 had this when flipping on OEM unlock.

    Installing a different OS on my PC doesn't void its warranty; why should installing a different OS have to void the warranty on my phone?

    I think what's lacking here is enforcement of consumer protection laws. Cellular manufacturers/carriers are screwing around with phone owners' personal property rights, and should be punished for it!

  • Re:Wut? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shish (588640) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:52PM (#33818114) Homepage

    For anyone under misapprehsion that Google does not have the propensity for evil, or is not already evil, this should remove any remaining doubt.

    Because a third party added a nasty feature to the third party's phone, without Google's knowledge or consent, and once public the Google CEO makes a statement of being against it? Yeah, proof of being evil right there

  • Re:The Reason Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:05PM (#33818228)

    The right to own and do what I want with my owned property. This software is meant to prevent the owner of his property using it in the way he sees fit.

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