Came across this article talking about progress being made with the new Apple TV in regards to jailbreaking and adding new functionality. Jailbreaking was recently ruled as legal. I think this is a big win for consumers who want to be able to use their hardware devices for whatever they want. For example, I think it’s ridiculous that Apple is allowed to force me to join their developer program if I want to write my own iOS application for a device I own. It’s perfectly reasonable that if I want to distribute my software using their App Store platform but beyond that I should be faced with such restrictions.
Also, just because jailbreaking has been deemed legal doesn’t mean pirating software is suddenly legal as well. There are still plenty of other existing laws protecting against that. In the next few months or years I think we’ll see additional clarifications with the DMCA and jailbreaking. For example, although the iPhone was specifically mentioned in the ruling, I actually don’t think it should be ok to jailbreak an iPhone for security reasons as it pertains to the cell phone network. The iPhone is part of a bigger infrastructure that is not owned and operated by the owner of the phone and in that case it’s a lot like a business PC being connected to a business network. At the same however, such a ruling will hopefully coerce Apple into providing a toggle on the phone allowing end users to install software outside of the App Store. This would satisfy what some end users want while still protecting the security of the cellular network.