Microsoft gives Phone 7 Mango jailbreak its blessing
If it's good enough for ChevronWP7, it’s good enough for hobbyists
Microsoft has shifted its stance on the jailbreaking of its Phone 7 operating system, and seems to be embracing – rather than trying to crush – such developments.
Redmond has had an ongoing feud with the developers at ChevronWP7 ever since the group put out a jailbreak for Phone 7 a year ago, allowing users to run applications that haven’t been signed off by Microsoft. Phone 7 users can do this anyway by paying Redmond $99 a year for the developer program, but ChevronWP7 offered the ability for just $9 per handset.
Last December, Microsoft blocked unlocked handsets from receiving updates, but said it wouldn't brick them. In May of this year, Phone 7 director Brandon Watson said: “Unfortunately for those customers out there who acted on information from sources outside of Microsoft, the rubber meets the road today.” But the exact relationship between said rubber and said road remained somewhat murky.
But Microsoft now appears to be changing its tune. The latest version of the ChevronWP7 code, released this weekend, has Microsoft’s blessing, and requires a Windows ID to use. The price remains the same, and it looks as though Microsoft will support the code.
“Microsoft is collaborating with the ChevronWP7 team in its efforts to create tools for the Windows Phone hobbyist developer community,” Redmond told The Register in a statement. “We are working with ChevronWP7 team to help ensure that their tools are safe for hobbyist developers while respecting the intellectual property of our developer community. Microsoft believes in enabling as many developers and enthusiasts as possible, empowering them to learn, grow, and get the most benefit on our platform.”
From the text of the statement it looks very likely that Redmond is changing its thinking on the subject of jailbreaking. This could be no bad thing, given that it’s looking to get the maximum number of developers working on the mobile operating system, and it will please many in that community. ®
Not sure that that is quite the case.
"Redmond has had an ongoing feud with the developers at ChevronWP7 ever since the group put out a jailbreak for Phone 7 a year ago, allowing users to run applications …"
AFAIK Redmond's relationship to ChevronWP7 has been reasonably constructive for quite some time. They released a hack (8 - 10 months ago perhaps?) that meant WP7-phone owners could download and install a pre-release version of MS' "NoDo" update and Redmond warned (I believe it was language files issues although I am not sure) that it might result in the phone being bricked when the "real" update arrive OTA. Chevron's people had some meetings with MS engineers, went away and built a fix for those who had installed unofficially and provided it OTA with Redmond's blessing. I am not saying that they invite each other to family reunions but the expression "ongoing feud" seems a little too creative.
Damn them, damn them to hell
How dare they give support to jailbroken phones and encourage more developers and hobbyist to use their platform. It's clearly a scheme to improve the user experience and make them more popular - a typical plot of a corporation.
It's almost like they're in the business of trying to sell phones or something, the bastards!
"Once they have gained enough attention from developers, how might they change their position?"
I share your concerns in that sense that we should never forget that in the end Microsoft is a corporation which does what a company usually does: making money. However, I also think its important not to endlessly continue to hold their reputation against them. I'm not saying we shouldn't keep it in mind, but we also shouldn't completely focus on it either.
And I think something important has changed when you look at the past. Back then MS philosophy seems to have been "here's our product, take it for what it is!" and as soon as someone got too close they got on the offensive part, at least it sure appeared that way.
Take projects such as Samba; trying to get Linux "Windows network compatible" (to put it /very/ easy). It became apparent from multiple sources that Microsoft was at the very least worried about the project development. Yet nowadays they even started to contribute to the project itself by donating source code (so I've read anyway).
What to think about Mono? .NET is a very important asset for Microsoft, its totally intermingled with their operating systems as well as their Office environment. .NET is to Microsoft what Java was to Sun (at least that's how I look at it). Now some "open source hippies" try to "steal" the glory by trying to "push" .NET onto environments which it was never intended to ? Heck; it even "targets" Windows itself.
What does MS do? Promises not to take it out on Mono through patent issues (granted; such promises can be changed on a whim). Heck, in several ways they even seem to encourage its development. The reason why I think this to be mention worthy is the origin of Mono. While it is an open source project it wasn't merely started by a group of .NET fans who wanted more out of it. Instead, it was heavily backed up by several companies. And companies, as we all should know, /always/ have their own agenda in the end: Making more money.
Yet MS didn't go out on the offense. Even though they probably could have; take a look at how they use Linux to "attack" Android with their patent claims.
SO summing up I think you're right that we shouldn't forget about the past. But we also shouldn't ignore the changes within Microsoft either.