While a significant chunk of G1 owners still await the RC29 update that started rolling out a few days ago, Google has already queued up another one. While people generally welcome updates with open arms, this ones got a few folks upset.
Last week, an eagle-eyed tinkerer realized that you could gain root access to the G1 by using telnetd, essentially “jailbreaking” it. Now, this isn’t jailbreaking in the “install just about whatever you want” sense most iPhone owners would think of — the G1 already does that. Instead, it gives you full admin abilities down to the very core of the handset’s filesystem. While this allows for modifications both beneficial and malicious, Google has decided that the risks outweigh the benefits. With RC30, root access via telnetd is blocked.
Google’s word on the matter:
We’ve been notified of this issue (Jailbreaking of Android) and have developed a fix. We’re currently working with our partners to push the fix out and updating the open source code base to reflect these changes.
Root access via telnet was, by all means, a security flaw. While Android is completely opensource, the G1 is not – and this exploit allowed access to areas that HTC, T-Mobile, and Google didn’t intend to be open. However, as we’ve learned from the iPhone’s cat-and-mouse jailbreak history, there are some incredibly talented developers out there who really don’t like to be told what they can do with their devices. We’ll keep an eye out and see where this goes next.