blog breaking the broken

Breaking the broken

Last week, Apple updated its iBooks app for all iOS devices. The world, even the book nerd world, did not break out into flash mobs of the happy dance. But then someone noticed something. That someone had a certain iPhone that said someone had jailbroken using the greenp0ison method. And, whilst said person was attempting read his newly downloaded copy of “The Rules According to JWOWW*,” he ran across a warning that said he needed to restore his device in iTunes to correct an error that prevented the book from loading.

The error was not one of good taste.

No, the “error,” as it were, was that the iDevice was jailbroken. Seems Apple programmed the newest version of the iBook app to run a bit of improperly signed binary code. If the code runs, the device knows (IT KNOWS, MAN!) you’ve been up to shenanigans and refuses to load your tomes until you revert to a non-JB version of iOS.

Dumb. On several levels.

First, regardless of how Apple feels about jailbreaking (and they’re obviously fairly verklempt about the issue), the practice has been deemed legal by the undoubtedly super-hot-without-her-glasses-on Librarian of Congress. Of course, this doesn’t mean Apple has to produce apps that support jailbroken iPhones, but to go out of their way to guarantee something won’t run feels like someone who rhymes with Beave doesn’t like the taste of his Shinola sandwich. Only that ain’t Shinola.

Second, crippling legally purchased iBooks may be a violation in its own right. I’m no lawyer and I’ve never played one on TV, but I’m mildly certain you can’t go out of your way to prevent someone from using a purchased product just because you don’t like how they’ve customized another one of your products. Feels a bit like Ford somehow shutting down my sweet Tempo because I used a Fram oil filter instead of an OEM Motorcraft.

Third, iBooks? Really? I’m sure Apple has a huge list of ways to hose jailbreakers on a holographic whiteboard somewhere. Perhaps they even crowdsourced their angst across the entire Cupertino campus. And this was the best solution they came up with? I mean, seriously, lame. If Apple doesn’t want their phones and pads jailbroken, make them harder to jailbreak. Beyond that, let it go, people.

Fourth, Apple did nothing more than make themselves look like a bully. Pwnage Tool already has a release out that corrects the issue and Cydia is about to release a new package to do the same. How long will it take greenp0ison to release a patch? I don’t know, but not long. Unless they’re just going to wait on 4.3 to be released before updating everything. Regardless, Apple’s attempt failed to do anything more than poke a bear that no one even wants to bother going to the zoo to see. No, I don’t know what that metaphor means. Come up with an original interpretation and post it if you like.

In the interest of full disclosure, my 3GS is not jailbroken. For now.



*Yes, this book is actually for sale as an iBook.

0 responses to “Breaking the broken

  1. Do you own Windows when you buy a Windows PC?

    No. You don’t. But Microsoft isn’t nearly as dickish about it’s (desktop) platform as is Apple on their mobile one.

  2. Exactly- the vast majority of people use a Kindle with their open,non-DRM,non-control freak system.

  3. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many of the people that I know that use their iPhones to read books. I am an avid bibliophile and I do almost all of my recreational reading on my phone. I even know an English professor that uses hers in just the same fashion. I used to carry around two print novels everywhere I went, but now I can carry around an entire library of books that I love and not have any extra weight, or worry about damage to my real books. It’s even more convenient because I’m already carrying my phone. What’s not to love?

  4. I’ll never put anything past a publisher, but I don’t know why they would want Apple to cripple legally downloaded versions of their books.

  5. No one? Really? Are you sure your brain didn’t inadvertently replace “iBooks” with “Ping”? Because I’d believe that.

  6. I have to agree. I’ve used Fram for all of my oil changes since I bought my first car. Fram filters and Quaker State full synthetic are a potent combo!

  7. Mountains out of molehills. Apple does the same thing to iTunes users who muck around with their iPods and you can bet they’ll do the same for people who try to muck around with the Mac apps store.

  8. Mazola? Steve doesn’t like his Mazola sandwich?

    Dunno why, im still turning that one over in my head 😀

  9. The ruling was on the ‘fair use’ principle, and I think preventing you from enjoying content you paid for certainly falls under that principle.

  10. More like “Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? I’m afraid I cannot allow that, Dave. You’re going to find that very difficult, Dave”” (where ‘Dave’ is an Apple customer, of course)

  11. Quit complaining. This is WHY NO ONE USES AN iPad / iPhone for eBooks. Because we are intelligent human beings that know exactly what apple are up to and refuse to give into their DRM/control freak/infested/glossy/BS.

    So this article purely points out your own fanboyism that you expected better? You shouldn’t have. The product was gimped as soon as they stamped on the apple logo.

  12. HP just gave a high end 2u server to the HP webOS jailbrake/homebrew community. Because HP think the webOS userbase is going to grow massively, and it would be to bad if the homebrew community did not have the equipment it needs to keep up. Custom kernels for all!

  13. I also use a Fram oil filter. I get the Toughguard XG2 for my F-150.

    Edit: Fram oil filters for the win! And also I’ve never edited before since the comments went to Metal, and I really like it.

  14. Yes, it’s legal to jailbreak your device. I see how that makes what Sony is doing with the PS3 hackers illegal. What I don’t see is how putting in place measures to prevent the jailbreak from working is illegal, as Apple is doing.

    I don’t agree with Apple’s policy. I think they would be better off letting users do with the device and software what they want. But what they’re doing isn’t even that unusual, it seems every day Engadget has a few posts regarding some company being upset their device was jailbroken/hacked and what crazy actions the company is taking.

  15. You bought it = your property, not apple’s. You aren’t licensing the hardware. Since the os came with the hardware there is no justification for it.

  16. Read the article he linked. “Federal regulators” are much, [i<]much[/i<] different then the Supreme Court. Huge difference. One of them is the bully-looter of the government, and the other is a referee.

  17. I had a huge write-up, but then just decided to distill it down to this:

    I disagree with Fox because I believe that Apple has a right to protect its property.

  18. Hmmm ibooks works just fine with my jailbroken iphone.Even with less than legitimately acquired ibooks.Then again for this very reason. I don’t bother updating the apps on the phone either.When it comes to updating in most scenarios I Like to Stick to the old saying “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it”. The sole exception being with my hardware drivers.

  19. F ’em .. slowly ppl will realize Apple’s shiny stuff has too much of Jobs’ craziness attached.

  20. Comex worked around it pretty much immediately, and there are fixes in the freshly-released Redsn0w. GP should be updated with it shortly, last I heard. ih8snow fixed and released Sn0wbreeze 2.2r2 already, as well. iBooks drops not one, but multiple malformed binaries, with different errors, in an attempt to find most kinds of jailbreaks. One unsigned, one missigned, one with an expired signature, all sorts of fun stuff. Any of the non-blessed binaries running correctly causes iBooks to refuse to fire up the DRM engine.

    I hear that [url<][/url<] implements the fix, but haven't tested, as my baseband leaves me marooned in 4.3 beta land.

  21. I’d like to point out this was likely forced on them by the publishers. Given the fact they haven’t done it to any other apps, this seems the most likely option.

Jason Fox

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