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.