If the only thing stopping you from running out right this instant
and buying Google and T-Mobile's Linux-based Android handset was the silly restrictions the companies have placed on the platform, fear no more: the G1 is officially 'jailbroken'.
According to CNet
's Charlie Sorrel, wily hackers
have worked out a cunning way to bypass the restrictions placed on the Android platform by Google – allowing you full and complete access to the internal workings as the 'root', or superuser, account.
By installing PTerminal
– a terminal application available freely on the Android marketplace – and using it to run the Telnet daemon telnetd
, you are able to create a back door which allows command-line access over a network as the root user – with no authentication required. Needless to say, it'd be a really
good idea to kill the daemon when you're finished.
By allowing access as the root user, this hack basically allows a G1 owner to fiddle with the core OS to his or her heart's content. One of the first uses the hack is often put to is to enable the installation of applications to SD card rather than the limited internal memory – something the Android platform does not allow by default.
Rather more worryingly – for T-Mobile, if not Google – is that this hack paves the way for an 'unlock' whereby the handset will no longer be tied to T-Mobile and will be available for use on any network of the users' choice: something that plagued the original version of the iPhone. With T-Mobile stumping up a chunk of the cost of the handset in the expectation of tying users in to an expensive monthly contract, this is unlikely to be popular.
As it stands, the hack requires nothing more than the PTerminal
application and a computer with a Telnet client installed connected to the same WiFi network as the G1. How long this hole will remain unpatched remains to be see: Google has already proven willing to nag users into installing security patches for other backdoors in the system.
Tempted to get a G1 now you know you can get at its inner workings, or is the rather clunky design still putting you off? Share your thoughts over in the forums