ChevronWP7 tool sparks piracy debate

Windows Phone

Windows Phone

There is no better way to kick off the weekend than with a rousing discussion on jailbreaking and piracy. This current round of discussion focuses on the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool which hit the Windows Phone community earlier this week. At the heart of this issue is a camp of people who see the tool as the first step towards piracy and theft of Windows Phone apps. An extreme member of this vocal group has taken to the blogosphere in full force with scathing accusations:

“Jailbreaking” is just a euphemism for “helping criminals steal from developers who depend on the software they write to help pay their rent, feed their kids, buy clothes, and meet the other ordinary expenses one incurs in life”. But calling it “jailbreaking” makes you sound like less of a monster who is making people’s lives worse and more of a freedom fighter (who is aiding criminal organizations, but let’s leave that part off, right?).

No, all your tool does is provide one of the planks for the bridge to piracy. But if it helps you feel like less of a monster, go ahead and post the pages and comments condemning the very thing you have helped to enable. Call it “jailbreaking” and ignore the fact that developers WILL lose money as a result of this, with all the consequences that a reduction of income entails

This particular blog post on Bob Taco Industries is inflammatory in its tone and will bristle the feathers of those who enjoy hacking their handset to expand its capabilities, not to pirate mobile software.

In response to this written attack, Long Zheng of the popular Windows-oriented istartedsomething blog defended the tool which he helped create. He used this opportunity to re-iterate his stance against piracy and outlined the reasons he created this unlocking tool. He addresses many of the accusations leveled at him by the Bob Taco post and explains why his tool is not meant for pirating.

Regardless of which camp you support, both posts are worth a read as they summarize the ongoing battle between the hacker community and phone owners on one side and the developers, hardware manufacturers, and carriers on the other. The battle for control over what can be put on and what can be removed from a phone will continue to heat up for the foreseeable future.

[Bob Taco and i started something]

  • http://www.nds-gear.com DS Flash Card

    I’m not sure I agree with everyone’s “Use this product for exactly what we feel like you should use it for, shut up and beh appy” policy that we’re seeing everywhere these days. Companies cannot control the imaginations of the public, however much they try – just let us create our own software if we want to!

  • FreeSpirit

    We are used to freedom.

    On any desktop PC or Mac, you can load in whatever software you choose. You can buy it from wherever you choose. That doesn’t mean you are a software pirate. It just means you have the choice to buy software from whatever store you want.

    On Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, you no longer have any freedom. You are only permitted to obtain software from Microsoft’s own Marketplace store. It stops you getting software from anywhere else. This is what many tech people call a “walled garden”, because once you are in, you cannot get out.

    What the jailbreaking hack does is gives you a door out of Microsoft’s walled garden, so you can then get your software from other places. It doesn’t mean you are a pirate. You are just escaping Microsoft’s monopoly over your software purchases.

    For anyone who doesn’t like the sound of this closed walled garden, phones that run Google’s ‘Android’ software allow you by default to get your software from wherever you choose.

  • James

    Sorry “Bob” but you’ve lost this arguement. Library of Congress excempted cell phone jailbreaking from the DMCA (http://www.cellphone-mag.com/?p=14730) so that consumers can use their devices as they see fit. However software theft, as always, is still illegal as it should be. (Side rant: Why bother making it a crime to break DRM when copyright piracy is already illegal?)

    Look Bob, I’m all for paying devs. I wrote for a magazine for several months, living on my articles. But you’re completely whackadoodle. The warez community is a small subset of the world, even in PCs. Be more concerned Windows will screw up WP7. That’s more likely than your app being warezed to death.

    I want my phone to do what I want my phone to do. If I want to reskin my phone dialer to look like a Star Trek communicator, I ought to be able to do that, regardless of what Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer want.

    That’s why I’m happily a WebOS user. Yeah, the HP buyout stalled hardware releases for 5 months, but when the 2011 hardware comes out I’ll be gleefully modding my new phone with hacks and tweaks to make the phone work the way *I* want.

    And I’ll still be buying apps.

  • James

    Sorry “Bob” but you’ve lost this arguement. Library of Congress excempted cell phone jailbreaking from the DMCA (http://www.cellphone-mag.com/?p=14730) so that consumers can use their devices as they see fit. However software theft, as always, is still illegal as it should be. (Side rant: Why bother making it a crime to break DRM when copyright piracy is already illegal?)

    Look Bob, I’m all for paying devs. I wrote for a magazine for several months, living on my articles. But you’re completely whackadoodle. The warez community is a small subset of the world, even in PCs. Be more concerned Windows will screw up WP7. That’s more likely than your app being warezed to death.

    I want my phone to do what I want my phone to do. If I want to reskin my phone dialer to look like a Star Trek communicator, I ought to be able to do that, regardless of what Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer want.

    That’s why I’m happily a WebOS user. Yeah, the HP buyout stalled hardware releases for 5 months, but when the 2011 hardware comes out I’ll be gleefully modding my new phone with hacks and tweaks to make the phone work the way *I* want.

    And I’ll still be buying apps.

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