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Portables Software Hardware

Kindle Fire and Nook Upgrades Kill Root Access 275

jfruhlinger writes "The Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook tablets are similar enough and close enough together in price that they ought to be fighting market share and one-upping each other in terms of features they offer users. But the latest OS upgrades to both gadgets claims to be an 'upgrade' while actually taking functionality away: both remove the ability to root the device." A more balanced way of looking at it is that the updates fix known local privilege escalation vulnerabilities. This might be more of an issue for people wanting to hack on the Nook Tablet: its bootloader is confirmed locked, but reports lean toward the Kindle Fire having an unlocked bootloader letting anyone flash their own software without needing to gain root first.
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Kindle Fire and Nook Upgrades Kill Root Access

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  • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @11:28AM (#38448862)

    It didn't come with root access, so they aren't fixing a security risk. They are just removing the ability for some people to voluntarily accept the risk.

  • Mmmm, movies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @11:34AM (#38448954)
    Since the last update to the Nook Color let me watch Netflix (it works really well, although subtitles could be slightly larger) and fixed a few oversights like not being able to read books in landscape mode, I really don't have a reason to root it anymore. It may just be my perception, but overall performance seems to have improved slightly as well. Does anyone know if this affects dual-booting the Nook Color off of a microSD card?
  • by poena.dare ( 306891 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @11:43AM (#38449102)

    I have a real faux Android tablet called an HPTouchPad. It's sweet!

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rufty_tufty ( 888596 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @11:53AM (#38449232) Homepage

    Welcome to the real world, the property you own isn't yours.
    You're not buying a product any more you're buying a service. You can't lend others your books (look in the copyright notice at the front if you doubt me) You can't

    It is not your music, it is licensed from those who own it.
    Oh you're a band and think you own your music? Nope, it belongs to your record label.
    Oh you're not signed to a record label? Since 7 notes is enough to copyright a riff then that gives you just over 5000 original works of music so there is no original works anymore. You cannot produce your own works of art anymore.

    Okay maybe you have an idea for a cool new machine, nope that's almost certainly covered by someone else's vague patent. Your ideas aren't yours.

    Okay what about your house, I bet it's mortgaged so the bank owns it.
    Oh, you own your house outright, fine but who enforces it? When someone tries to take it from you it's a government giving you a licence to live there as long as you pay property taxes.

    Actually you know what I started writing this as a parody post and now I'm not sure anymore, exactly what do we own anyway? What has anyone ever owned? Did those 200 years ago have more property rights than we currently have?
    Moving forwards should we have more property rights? Should I be allowed to sell you a device that is designed to break, or at least rely on updates to keep doing the same job? Machinery has always worn out, selling with a contract that requires a service contract has always been legal (AFAIK) so why are we annoyed about this now?

  • Right to Read (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mounthood ( 993037 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:02PM (#38449416)

    In-case anyone hasn't read the Richard Stallman story: []

    From the authors notes:

    One of the ideas in the story was not proposed in reality until 2002. This is the idea that the FBI and Microsoft will keep the root passwords for your personal computers, and not let you have them.

    The proponents of this scheme have given it names such as “trusted computing” and “Palladium”. We call it “treacherous computing” ...

    The 1997 prediction, proposed in 2002, is reality in 2011. The big surprise is that the implementation isn't a technical DRM/TC scheme, but a fundamental change in corporations retaining ownership and control of items after they've been sold. Who could have predicted that?

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.