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Cellphones Debian Handhelds Hardware Hacking Build Linux

Debian Running On the T-Mobile G1 127

Posted by timothy
from the teaching-the-android-to-fetch-and-sit dept.
chrb writes "Following hot on the heels of the G1 root exploit, Jay Freeman now has Debian ARM running on the G1. The RC30 update has fixed the root hole, but with utilities and images already available to replace the flash image with your own signed code, it looks like the manufacturer-hacker arms race is on."
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Debian Running On the T-Mobile G1

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @06:58PM (#25754279)

    i.e., to enable hackers to experiment and thereby improve the platform further.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)

      Well sure, within the context of running applications in a Java sandbox and doing things in emulators.

      Once you bring in carriers into the mix, "open" goes out the window because it gives people the ability to step around your nickel and diming.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Brian Gordon (987471)
        Yeah but regardless of the politics, it's still possible to make your phone open. All that means is that Google's phone isn't open out of the box like some people expected. Which means it's just another phone- it has to compete fairly based on features instead of hopping on the "Free" train towards moneyville. But you can still jailbreak it just like anything else. Also some people would argue that giving a reasonably powerful java sandbox is pretty much all you need. You can't really change the hardware a
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chyeld (713439)

          Instead of using $10,000 per gigabyte SMS, use email

          I understand your point, but my fingers still have sympathy blisters and my wrists ache thinking about actually sending a gigabyte's worth of SMS texting....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by chrb (1083577)

          it's still possible to make your phone open... But you can still jailbreak it just like anything else.

          Not anymore, at least not with such a simple root exploit. I guess we'll have to wait for another exploit to come along... wouldn't it be nice to be given root access to hardware that you own? And if a java sandbox were really all we needed, then why are so many people trying to get (and keep) root access on the G1?

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by inKubus (199753)

          Google releases a Beta phone on a carrier network, so they had to bait the carrier a little bit.. Once Google or a subsidiary gets the spectrum they are trying to get, this thing will be so open you'll not believe it. And Google's business is search, so you'd better believe they are going to dominate mobile search also. The ads thing is secondary, just an evolution. The marketplace demands ads on everything, and when they are ready to move into mobile, Google will already be there with a solid database

      • Speaking of which, does Debian ARM have a A2DP driver for Bluetooth? I ask because that's the one thing I use on my Wing that the G1 is missing, stereo sound over Bluetooth.
        • by Eric Smith (4379)
          Unfortunately not. Maybe in a future firmware release.
        • by urlgrey (798089) *
          OT, I know, but speaking of Bluetooth, I remember not long ago there seemed to be worries-aplenty about security issues with Bluetooth itself, but I've heard nary a peep about this in ages.

          Maybe I've missed the press releases about it, but isn't this still the case? Aren't there still major concerns about Bluetooth being insecure?

          This Security Focus article on bluetooth [securityfocus.com] in particular is one on the subject that seemed to be widely referenced, but it's quite old: 2005.
          • Back on my purposes- yes it's insecure. But the knowledge that it is insecure, is power in and of itself.

            I don't care if somebody with a bluetooth riffle from a mile away can hear my listening to GK Chesterton's "New Jerusalem", for instance. I just want the ability to do it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mikiN (75494)

        Well I told people so, also here on Slashdot, when the media was all abuzz about Android and how it would revolutionize phone software hacking.

        At great risk of sounding like a broken record and repeating myself over and over again:

        • Grab a fr.. (nah leave that word out already) GSM module.
        • Hook it up to your favorite SC/SoC evaluation module
        • Bootstrap your favorite OS
        • Start hacking already

        Much better than carrying your carrier's ball-and-chain around your neck always, anxiously waiting for the next OTA provision

      • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday November 14, 2008 @02:49AM (#25757929)

        Once you bring in carriers into the mix, "open" goes out the window because it gives people the ability to step around your nickel and diming.

        Yes, but T-Mobile is better than most other US Carriers in this regard. They use GSM phones so just about any phone that takes GSM should work on their network. They don't play games like Verizon does with bluetooth connectivity and ringtones and they gave me the unlock code for my phone three (3) months into the contract. My only real complaints are that their coverage is not as good as Verizon and the prices on their data services are a bit higher, but with all of the restrictions that other US Carriers place on their "unlimited" data plans you have to wonder whether there really is a difference in price relative to what you get.

        • by PitaBred (632671)

          Seconded. That's the whole reason I went with T-Mobile... no penalty for using my phone as a modem, and since I travel for work, I do that a lot when there aren't free access points sitting around.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      Yeah, I don't see the purpose in trying to lock it out. Trying to lock evil code out, sure, but well, whatever.

    • The whole "it's your phone you can do what you want with it" paradigm comes from *free software, not an "open source" software.

      As for "shut up and show them the code" this G1 is a great example.

      "Look, we're an open platform! Look at the code, isn't it neat! Don't TOUCH it!!!"

  • I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maestro371 (762740) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:08PM (#25754419)

    I thought the whole point of the G1 was that it was an open platform. Why on earth is there a "manufacturer-hacker arms race"?

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Facegarden (967477) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:12PM (#25754469)

      Why on earth is there a "manufacturer-hacker arms race"?

      There isn't, it's BS, and none of the blogs seem to get is. So far as we can tell, google only fixed the root exploit because it was a serious security concern, because of how it worked. I don't think they are going to make a real effort to stop people from hacking their device aside from fixing security flaws. Even if they do, this is so far not an indication of that, contrary to what most sites say.
      -Taylor

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)

        It's not Google's device. It's T-Mobile's device.

        • It's not Google's device. It's T-Mobile's device.

          It's Google's OS though.
          -Taylor

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Toll_Free (1295136)

            And that's the problem.

            You pay for the "device".

            Google OWNS the operating system.

            Duetch Telecom OWNS the device.

            You only pay for it to rent it while you use it, and then pay a monthly fee for network access on top of that.

            And this is open, how?

            --Toll_Free

            • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Informative)

              by Facegarden (967477) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:53PM (#25756145)

              And that's the problem.

              You pay for the "device".

              Google OWNS the operating system.

              Duetch Telecom OWNS the device.

              You only pay for it to rent it while you use it, and then pay a monthly fee for network access on top of that.

              And this is open, how?

              --Toll_Free

              Umm... it's open because the entire OS is released under the Apache or GLPv3 (depending on which part of the OS) licenses. I'm not well versed in which licenses are or are not "really" open, but i am under the impression that both of those are supposed to be. Android is based on version 2.6 of the linux kernel, and the framework on top of that was written by google, and the source code was released under Apache and heavily documented.

              That's way more open than any other successful phone out there.

              And I don't know if you're exaggerating or if it's different in your country, but in the U.S. you OWN your cell phone. And i fail to see how paying a monthly fee to access a network has anything to do with whether or not the phone is open - no one is going to let you use their multi-billion dollar network for free, and i'm fine with that.

              Why is everyone so bent on hating android, even with no facts to back up what they say? Google fixes a security bug and everyone flips out, but the countless times google and the t-mobile CEO have said they will keep the device open? No one seems to remember or care.
              -Taylor

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by chrb (1083577)

                the countless times google and the t-mobile CEO have said they will keep the device open? No one seems to remember or care.

                I guess it's like politicians: don't judge them by what they promise, but by their actions. One thing is not like the other.

                • by PitaBred (632671)

                  Even with non-open devices like my Blackberry 8800, T-Mobile doesn't lock down any of the features like Verizon does. The GPS and bluetooth modem features of the phone are perfectly available, and I don't have to pay any extra to T-Mobile to get them to work. T-Mobile has given me no reason to think they won't keep their word BECAUSE of their past actions. If I had the money and I could be reasonably sure the Exchange support was solid, I'd get a G1 and start hacking.

              • by afidel (530433)
                It's not open if I can't modify the software and use it on MY device, that's less open than even MS's shared source stuff!
              • by mikiN (75494)

                Firt off, I don't know much of the architecture of Android (flame me for that but I've karma to burn), but what's the point in calling a platform 'open' when you can't get root?

                If your idea of having fun is playing in a (Java) sandbox while Big Brother is watching, then enjoy your kids' dreams. Grown-ups like to do some real hacking on a real open platform.

            • Duetch Telecom OWNS the device.
              You only pay for it to rent it while you use it, and then pay a monthly fee for network access on top of that.
              And this is open, how?

              Across Deutschland's southern frontier, you arrive in Switzerland.

              Here in Switzerland, you DO NOT rent the phone. You own IT, because you paid it. Simply if you happen to buy the phone while signing a new deal or prolonging an old one, the phone provider you picked up will give you a set rebate (base on the plan you signed for) that you can use for buying the phone of your choosing.

              That's it, that's all. The phone IS NOT locked. The phone IS NOT branded. The phone doesn't have any non-stock software in it (

          • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by chrb (1083577) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @10:04PM (#25756267)

            It's Google's OS though.

            No, it was written by Linus Torvalds and thousands of other contributors, and released under the GPL. It's our OS. Google just borrowed it for a while.

          • by aliquis (678370)

            I'll just wait for the chinese people to make a phone which uses the same OS. Done :)

        • by aliquis (678370)

          It's my device, if I could buy it that is.

        • It's not Google's device. It's T-Mobile's device.

          No. If I'm paying for it, then it's MY device.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Toll_Free (1295136)

            Really?

            Every major phone company and vendor would argue with you.

            The only way it's your device is if you pay FULL retail for it, and get the unlock code, or if you purchase it fully unlocked (legally) at the time of purchase.

            Otherwise, you own the plastic. The actual bits of code (I HATE that MS buzzword) is owned by Google, and the network you operate it on is owned by the telco.

            Shame, as I would LOVE to agree with you, but the fact of the matter is, I doubt very much most of us actually paid RETAIL cost

            • by RMH101 (636144)
              In the UK, you DO own the phone. Whether you pay full price and go pay-as-you-go, or get it subsidised when tied to a monthly contract (the more expensive the monthly package you pay per month the less the handset costs) - you own the phone. If you go the latter route, then you are tied in to a 12 or 18 month contract, most likely, but you own the handset outright. The network won't unlock it for free until your contract expires, but you aren't renting the handset - it is yours.
      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:22PM (#25754553)

        There isn't, it's BS, and none of the blogs seem to get is. So far as we can tell, google only fixed the root exploit

        The root exploit is unrelated to the ability to flash the ROM. The question then is, will there be attempts made to stop user flashing of updates to the device...

        I do not think there will be, it's just that Android fixes should not be confused with openness of the device itself.

        • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:44PM (#25756061)

          The root exploit is unrelated to the ability to flash the ROM.

          From what I've heard, you need root access or the T-Mobile private key to flash the ROM.

          The question then is, will there be attempts made to stop user flashing of updates to the device...

          Err, yes, the head of the Android team at Google has actually confirmed that only the manufacturer or the cell network provider have the cryptographic keys required to flash the G1 (via OTA updates or otherwise).

          I do not think there will be, it's just that Android fixes should not be confused with openness of the device itself.

          When root access to the G1 is denied by default, and exploits that allow root access are quickly patched, how would you interpret this? The fact is that you do not get root access to the G1 by default, and as of this moment, there is no known way to get root access, or to flash your own kernel, on a RC30 G1.

          • Thanks for the information, it seemed to me that flashing the device would be something outside the domain of the OS (much like you would not need a working OS to format a HD, or like cameras do firmware updates via a file built to update internal storage).

            The root aspect still seems like more of a hack, so the real question still boils down to what the phone maker lets you do independent of the OS (which is more locked down than I thought).

            So I guess it boils down to being similar to jailbreaking iPhones a

          • by BountyX (1227176)
            I own a g1 with debian on it. You can sign your own packages effectivly killing the OTA update. Theoretically, you should be able to downgrade your phone to RC19 since they are signed with the same key.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jelizondo (183861) *

        One needs to be aware of where the money is made. The actual phone manufacturer makes money by selling a locked version to a telecom, the telecom makes money by selling the phone and the phone service to retail clients.

        If you get a free phone with a low monthly service charge and then you hack it, you could make expensive calls over IP and pay the telecom, nothing more than the monthly rent.

        Thus the telecom needs the phone to be locked to make (more) money and the manufacturer has to lock the phone in order

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Timmmm (636430)

          "you could make expensive calls over IP and pay the telecom, nothing more than the monthly rent."

          Bullshit. At least in the UK the monthly line rental usually includes more than enough minutes/texts for most people. The vast majority of their income must come from the base line rental (which isn't cheap!).

          They're just used to being able to control everything and don't want to give that up. Hopefully it will change eventually.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jrumney (197329)
            The phone companies themselves don't understand their own economics. I was turned down for a free upgrade a few years ago, because I was "not a good customer, you don't make enough calls". On asking how much I'd need to make to qualify, the level was still less than the number of bundled minutes that I was already paying for, so the phone company would be making no more money out of me, at an extra cost to them.
        • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Facegarden (967477) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:45PM (#25754797)

          One needs to be aware of where the money is made. The actual phone manufacturer makes money by selling a locked version to a telecom, the telecom makes money by selling the phone and the phone service to retail clients.

          If you get a free phone with a low monthly service charge and then you hack it, you could make expensive calls over IP and pay the telecom, nothing more than the monthly rent.

          Thus the telecom needs the phone to be locked to make (more) money and the manufacturer has to lock the phone in order to please the telecom, who is, after all, its client.

          Yes, there will be an arms race because its about controlling the money making process.

          The CEO of T-Mobile straight up said they will allow VOIP apps, and will do nothing to stop them. That's the entire point of android being open, but everyone keeps assuming it will be more and more locked down.

          In that same interview the CEO also said they won't stop unlockers. Why would they anyway? You agreed to a contract and they can charge you an ETF if you leave, so if you want to unlock it and use it on business, there is no reason not to let you.

          The _ENTIRE_ point of android is that it is open, and i wholeheartedly believe that google will stick to that.
          -Taylor

          • The point of android is to provide a new platform to compete with winmo, that isn't hampered by unstable, limited capability closed code and poor interfaces.

            They are concerned with users being able to use google services on mobile devices, not catering to hackers.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by spisska (796395)

              The point of android is to provide a new platform to compete with winmo,[...]

              Windows mobile is not the target. That platform got an early start and is still at the back of the pack in terms of capability and adoption.

              The competition is Symbian, RIM, and Apple.

              And hopefully what Google is doing with Android will make the platform less and less relevant, and make the content and capabilities really shine.

              All the same, I'm hanging on to my Nokia candy-bar at least until the second generation of Android, or unt

          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)

            The CEO of T-Mobile did not say how much he's going to charge Android users for data, or how certain data might just be given a low priority.

            Now assume the position.

            • The CEO of T-Mobile did not say how much he's going to charge Android users for data, or how certain data might just be given a low priority.

              Now assume the position.

              WTF? They PUBLISH how much their data plans cost, what the hell are you talking about?

              And no he didn't say if they'd throttle their data or not, but i also never heard YOU say you weren't a douchebag, so i'm going to assume that's the case. Google would flip out if T-Mobile started throttling certain Apps, if anyone is FOR net neutrality it's Google.

              Where the hell is all this mistrust coming from! What is wrong with you people?

              "Assume the position"? Yes, your random baseless suggestions about android really

              • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

                by ceoyoyo (59147)

                I'm sorry. I never would have replied to you if I knew you had such a profound emotional involvement.

                Where is the distrust coming from? You're perfectly right... the poor telecom companies, most especially the mobile providers, have NEVER done anything that would justify anything but the utmost trust and dedication! Why, I'm sure they'll be delighted to surrender much of their revenue stream!

                • I'm sorry. I never would have replied to you if I knew you had such a profound emotional involvement.

                  Where is the distrust coming from? You're perfectly right... the poor telecom companies, most especially the mobile providers, have NEVER done anything that would justify anything but the utmost trust and dedication! Why, I'm sure they'll be delighted to surrender much of their revenue stream!

                  I'm just getting irritated at all the people making all these BS statements when the facts show that the opposite of what they're saying is true.

                  From the beginning i've thought Android was an awesome idea, and maybe i'm just optimistic but i see no reason to think otherwise today, yet everyone else seems so pessimitic. Telecom companies have been shitty but Android belongs to google, not the telecom companies. All i need is a nice open handset and i can run Android on it all day long. The G1 is their first

                  • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                    by ceoyoyo (59147)

                    I'm not disputing that it would be great to have a really open smart phone. Nor am I disputing that Android, in concept, is a great idea.

                    The problem is, no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.

                    All you need is (1) a nice open handset, (2) a nice open platform like Android and (3) someone to provide you connectivity.

                    When Google manages to finagle some open spectrum and builds out a network they control (or nobody controls), MAYBE you'll get something approximating the ideal. In the meantime, th

                  • Sorry, Taylor .. I've got some of the more cynical/paranoid posts in this thread, but I think I'm actually like you.

                    I loved the potential of Android when announced, and was very excited. But this G1 seems a halfhearted commitment to openness at best. My optimistic bit hopes that a couple phones later things will get better.

                    >"Why do people not see this?"

                    Instead of trying to analyze to death what Google/TMobile is actually doing, you might understand our frustration if you imagine what they *could have don

            • The CEO of T-Mobile did not say how much he's going to charge Android users for data...

              And to be clear, he SPECIFICALLY said users could use any program on their unlimited data plans, as long as it wasn't malicious, so there is definetely NOT some clause or something that says the unlimited plan is only for "certain" programs or anything like that. After your unlimited plan is paid for, they charge NOTHING for data, period.

              Check your damn facts.
              -Taylor

        • by xant (99438)

          With Android being an open platform, though, there's an extra wrinkle. Google isn't making (much, if any) money from HTC installing Android on their phone. So T-Mobile isn't really Google's client. Google has to sorta play ball so they can keep wireless vendors from blacklisting android, but they have a lot more leeway.

          Also, there's another reason: regulatory. With a certain level of access to the phone hardware, you can change signal strength and frequency and do things that the FCC doesn't like. So e

          • Google isn't making (much, if any) money from HTC installing Android on their phone. So T-Mobile isn't really Google's client.

            since when do you have to be paying to be a client?

          • by mikiN (75494)

            Also, there's another reason: regulatory. With a certain level of access to the phone hardware, you can change signal strength and frequency and do things that the FCC doesn't like. So everyone involved has to take reasonable steps to prevent that from happening.

            Well, why not turn the GSM controller/radio part into a black box only accessible via a serial link using a standardized protocol not much unlike the ole' Hayes command set and a few GPIO/audio lines?

            Huh, that's already here (GSM modules)? Well, what are we waiting for?

            • by RMH101 (636144)
              I thought they did, for pretty much all current smartphones. The radio's a black box with an API to interact with it. This is a sensible solution - people can't mess about the regulated spectrum with homebrew software radios, and your calls are handled by a dedicated module so you won't find your calls getting dropped when you have too many apps open etc.
        • ..about what the telcos need.

          One needs to be aware of where the money is made. The actual phone manufacturer makes money by selling a locked version to a telecom, the telecom makes money by selling the phone and the phone service to retail clients.

          If you get a free phone with a low monthly service charge and then you hack it, you could make expensive calls over IP and pay the telecom, nothing more than the monthly rent.

          Thus the telecom needs the phone to be locked to make (more) money and the manufacturer has to lock the phone in order to please the telecom, who is, after all, its client.

          I don't care what the telecom needs. God did not grant them the right to profit from any specific buisness-model. I never have, and never will, own a locked phone, it's as simple as that. All phones I have owned could be used on any GSM network with a prepaid card. And if some telco was dumb enough to subsidize me buying it, well, thanks for the freebies.

          I know, what we are talking here is a different meaning for the word "locked". Most phones I have owned were primitive enou

      • by chrb (1083577)

        It's BS, and none of the blogs seem to get is. So far as we can tell, google only fixed the root exploit because it was a serious security concern, because of how it worked. I don't think they are going to make a real effort to stop people from hacking their device aside from fixing security flaws.

        We'll see. The fact is that the only root exploit discovered thus far was closed within a few days. I really don't think Google has that much to do with it - let's look at what they actually do: provide an open so

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Facegarden (967477)

          It's BS, and none of the blogs seem to get is. So far as we can tell, google only fixed the root exploit because it was a serious security concern, because of how it worked. I don't think they are going to make a real effort to stop people from hacking their device aside from fixing security flaws.

          We'll see. The fact is that the only root exploit discovered thus far was closed within a few days. I really don't think Google has that much to do with it - let's look at what they actually do: provide an open source software stack to the telcos. T-Mobile control their network and the devices using it, they control the cryptographic keys for the G1, so if an OTA update is rolled out that fixes some issue, obviously T-Mobile didn't like that issue. What power does Google actually have in this arrangement? They're just an upstream provider of source code.

          Bottom line: if Google wanted the G1 to ship with root access, and they had the power to do so, they it would've happened already.

          It was closed because it was a huge security hole! Did you never read the description of the issue? EVERYTHING that was EVER typed on the device also went to a command line as root. That is not good. Just because google closed that has nothing to do with whether or not they *want* you to have root. The point of being open is not to give you everything, but just to make it possible for you to do anything. They don't need to ship the device with root, but everything that runs Android has source code published

          • by chrb (1083577)

            They don't need to ship the device with root, but everything that runs Android has source code published for it, so anyone with sufficient knowledge of code should be able to make it happen.

            That's like saying that "everything that runs Debian has source code published for it, so anyone with sufficient knowledge of code should be able to make it happen." The fact is that root exploits don't just grow on trees - the only way to make it happen is by discovering a new root exploit. If Google/T-Mobile wanted to,

      • by GiMP (10923)

        Well, true, except that they removed the setuid permissions on the copies of 'su' that we created on our phones. If they weren't actively trying to prevent root access, they would've just closed the vulnerability rather than removing root access from those that obtained it for themselves. I was naive enough to accept the update without reading about it first, and I lost root on my phone. However, I updated with the thought that I'd rather be stuck without root than a vulnerability as huge as that was.

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:21PM (#25754547) Journal

      It depends on your definition of "platform," I believe.

      Android is open software platform in that you can do whatever you want within Android. But that doesn't make the G1 an open hardware platform, where you could install a different operating system.

      OpenMoko is an open hardware platform.

      Now, personally, I see no reason why T-Mobile would care whether you're running Android or Debian. Google might care because they want you running those nice Android apps which interface with Google because that's how they're paying for Android development. But I'm not sure that they have any kind of agreement which would require the makers of the G1 to make sure that the phones are tamper-proof.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Show me where I can download schematics to generate gerber files to actually print the pcbs for openmoko. All the large scale "open hardware" projects are actually just open down to the point where people looking for information they need in the software stop being interested (generally a pdf of the schematic). A hardware engineer needs schematic and board layout files to actually replicate the device, they don't provide these. Even if they did, they require costly (>$1000) closed source programs to edit
      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dlevitan (132062) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @08:08PM (#25755067)

        Now, personally, I see no reason why T-Mobile would care whether you're running Android or Debian. Google might care because they want you running those nice Android apps which interface with Google because that's how they're paying for Android development. But I'm not sure that they have any kind of agreement which would require the makers of the G1 to make sure that the phones are tamper-proof.

        I doubt even Google will care. How many people will actually install Debian on a G1? How many people will actually install it and keep it on there? I doubt even 0.1% of users will do either. But these are also the people who will praise Google for an open platform and for not locking it up like the iPhone. They're also the people who'll probably create apps for Android that bypass Google. Will Google notice the drop in revenue? Probably not, and certainly not enough to offset the bad PR.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by chrb (1083577)

          Now, personally, I see no reason why T-Mobile would care whether you're running Android or Debian.

          They probably don't. What they do care about is support calls and returns because someone bricked their G1 whilst trying to flash some fancy new OS image. They may even think that installing a new OS allows users to use other networks, or VOIP applications, more easily. Basically, if you can imagine a revenue stream that might be possible on the G1, and imagine a way in which a completely open platform might re

    • by Timmmm (636430)

      I'm surprised this comes as a surprise to people:

      http://digg.com/apple/T_Mobile_sets_stage_for_Android_iPhone_showd?t=18888103#c18889920 [digg.com]

  • Just because it runs Debian doesn't necessarily mean it can do much else. I don't think they can get on a cell network right now, for example. So if you decide to flash it with Debian you have yourself a really expensive handheld computer with a touchscreen and wifi. Woohoo. There' other options out there for that.
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

      by clang_jangle (975789) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @07:22PM (#25754555) Journal
      Not quite so. FTFA: "This does not replace Android. This also gives you access to the full plethora of programs available in Debian and let's you continue using your phone as it was intended to be: as an Android device with all the capabilities thereof."
  • It's a damn shame and should probably even be a crime that manufacturers at the whim of the telcos (all of whom have bribed their way to gaining an unfair government enforced monopoly on communications) go around trying to make it hard for people to install what they like ON THEIR OWN DEVICE.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tom (822)

      You shouldn't judge the world-wide telecom market by the US "standard". T-Mobile is a german company, and part of the old government-owned telecommunications monopoly, so no need for bribery there. However, the german telecom market is very different from the US one, and there are no local monopolies. T-Com is still the largest player, but they other telcos don't have monopolies and most likely didn't make bribes.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by rickb928 (945187)

        We go around this issue on a pretty regular basis on /. and it isn't changing.

        If you buy a phone and a contract, and you know the terms and conditions, please don't think I'm interested in your 'it oughta be...' complaints. If you didn't read/grok the deal, sorry. This is why I do not consider Verizon when I look at carriers. And why I resist AT&T and Sprint. T-Mobile is the least offensive of the bunch IMHO. Heck, My BlackBerry will run Google Maps, even if it does leak memory worse than a sieve.

        I

        • by Yfrwlf (998822)
          If you buy a phone and a contract, and you know the terms and conditions, please don't think I'm interested in your 'it oughta be...' complaints. If you didn't read/grok the deal, sorry. This is why I do not consider Verizon when I look at carriers. And why I resist AT&T and Sprint. T-Mobile is the least offensive of the bunch IMHO.

          U.S. users shouldn't complain about the lock-in that they face, yet you're facing the same challenges they are, you say your only option really is T-Mobile but even that
          • by rickb928 (945187)

            You're not quite right.

            T-Mobile is ok by me. An entirely not offensive carrier would:

            Charge me half as much as they do now.

            Require no contract.

            Price phones much less than currently.

            In other words, an insustainable business model in the current US market.

            How do European carriers compete for subscribers?

            In the US, it seems to be hardware.

            • by Yfrwlf (998822)
              You don't have to get a contract, you can buy phones outright without the subsidization from a contract, and, um, since they're selling the phones at a price they make money from, they'd make money. Then, since you'd choose a carrier for your service, that carrier would also make money. There should be hardware, software, and service providers, and that's it, and you should have a choice within each of those categories. That's the way both markets work, it's just that the U.S. market has be much slower t
        • by xant (99438)

          I'm ready to buy a G1, just for the sheer novely of it, and I'll deal with having to buy/download apps from the store unless/until it is jailbroken. I might, might run Debian on it for a lark, but I don't run Debian on my mail server... I might wait for Ubuntu...:-)

          Well, good news for you: you don't have to jailbreak it (or wait for it to be jailbroken (again)). You can install apps from a plain old URL, you don't have to go through the (already mostly $0) Market.

          On day 1, I installed an SVN build of Conne

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It's whiny and pointless to complain about contract terms in an open market where you can negotiate.

          Alas, the US cell phone market is not such a market. There are a grand total of four nationwide companies, and a small handful of smaller ones. They have largely identical policies and pricing in nearly every respect. If I want to buy my own unlocked phone separately so I can avoid paying the "phone subsidy" fee written into every carrier's subscription plans... nope! There is basically no choice in the marke

        • by pipingguy (566974) *
          I'm ready to buy a G1

          Still no news on when it's coming to Canada.
      • Well Tom, I admire your confidence.

        But having worked with these guys, I'm not so sure.

        other telcos don't have monopolies and most likely didn't make bribes.

        If you're not a monopoly, all the more reason to use 'alternative' tactics to beat the incumbent.
        There's bribes, then there's 'old boys networks' (traditionally the most powerful of all, especially in Germany), then there's lobbyists...
        Brussels is thick with them.
        Remind me, what job did the former German Chancellor get when he left office?

        • by Tom (822)

          But having worked with these guys, I'm not so sure.

          I should've added a disclaimer. I do work with these guys, and I'm talking CEO level.

          There's bribes, then there's 'old boys networks' (traditionally the most powerful of all, especially in Germany), then there's lobbyists...
          Brussels is thick with them.

          Berlin too (we were talking about Germany), and my company owns one of them. But last I checked, lobby work wasn't the same thing as bribes. I dislike the amount of influence lobbyists have as much as the next guy, but it isn't the same thing as bribery. But yes, there's lobbyists.

          Remind me, what job did the former German Chancellor get when he left office?

          Something in the energy industry. What's that got to do with the current argument?

          • Something in the energy industry. What's that got to do with the current argument?

            Something in the energy industry? C'mon. Let me refresh your memory. When in power, (well, just before losing it) Schroder massively subsidised the Gazprom 'Nord Stream' project. After leaving Government, he then took a major post with...Nord Stream! No corruption there, then...

            What's that got to do with the current argument? Well, I was just suggesting that corruption has many faces, and 'bribes' come in many colours...
            Is it OK for lobbyists to pay for prostitues for MEPs? By their twisted definition

            • by Tom (822)

              Again, we are talking about the telecom industry right now. I never claimed that there isn't massive corruption going on in a different industry. So I still fail to see how Schröder is relevant.

              And yes, corruption is largely the same everywhere. However, the markets differ. The US telecom market was never really opened, the global monopoly (AT&T) was simply replaced by a number of local monopolies. The german telecom market is different, as I pointed out in my first comment. There are no local mono

  • by VValdo (10446)

    but with utilities and images already available to replace the flash image with your own signed code, it looks like the manufacturer-hacker arms race is on."

    For what it may be worth, there's a page set up with succinct instructions [android-dls.com] for flashing the modded RC-30 that preserves root.

    Also, for those who have RC19 or RC29 and simply want to delay/avoid an over-the-air (OTA) update, there are also instructions [android-dls.com] for a simple change that will keep the RC30 from installing in the first place. This will not address

  • I hope (but doubt) that google will get this message, but it's worth a try... emailing direcly is hopeless.
    it must be understood that due to security issues, fully 'opening' the android system is probably impossible.
    however, i'm sure that you geniuses at google can figure out that hackers will ALWAYS defeat hardware.
    therefore, the android should be made completely open, but here's my idea:
    open all access to the hardware and OS installation. BUT also create a series of PAID competitions for the 'best
    • by Fastolfe (1470)

      I think you're misunderstanding something rather fundamental. Google is responsible for Android. Android is 100% open-source, and Google wants to do everything it can to make (keep) Android an open platform.

      T-Mobile is responsible for the G1. The G1 has a proprietary hardware design, and is locked down just as well as any other T-Mobile phone. Google has nothing to do with that. Google isn't locking the phone down, or waging a war against those that want to unlock it. It's trivial to get a root shell

    • i think that's an interesting idea, but it seems to be different from what Google wants to accomplish with Android. it seems to me like they're just trying to make an iPhone competitor that isn't locked into the manufacturer's software distribution model. but that still means only working within the confines of a Java sandbox.

      but perhaps they could develop an alternate version (or fork) of the Android platform tailored for the tech-savvy/hackers. this way the lock the standard Android distro down enough tha

  • Poor Goog, having all of it's painstakingly ported Java standards ignored in favor of a native operating system installation.

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