Apple’s Stance Gets Sterner on Jailbreaking in Latest Developer License Agreement

jailbreak

We know they don’t like it, since they recently took steps to try and make it illegal, but now Apple is letting developers know directly that they won’t stand for any jailbreaking funny business on their part, either.

The news from Ars Technica comes via changes to the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which is part of signing up for the iPhone Developer Program itself. Updates to the Agreement now prevent developers from jailbreaking their own phones, assisting in jailbreaking efforts, and developing apps for use with jailbroken devices. The exact wording of the new clauses are as follows:

(e)You will not, through use of the Apple Software, services or otherwise, create any Application or other program that would disable, hack or otherwise interfere with the Security Solution, or any security, digital signing, digital rights management, verification or authentication mechanisms implemented in or by the iPhone operating system software, iPod touch operating system software, this Apple Software, any services or other Apple software or technology, or enable others to do so; and

(f) Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement.

Basically, Apple’s now gone and drawn a line in the sand. It’ll be interesting to see how high-profile developers like Ars Technica’s own Erica Sadun, who has a foot planted firmly in both the legit and the jailbroken community, react to this latest development. Apple has the advantage of commerce on their side, but can they really twist the arm of independent developers who are only developing free apps to begin with? It’s still not clear whether they can do much beyond booting people out of the Developer Program for any violation, which it seems to me will only serve to strengthen the ranks of the jailbreaking community.

Apple’s probably hoping that this will curtail insider knowledge of development builds and SDK updates, which would hopefully hamper the ability of the DevTeam and others to jailbreak new OS updates so quickly (the newest version of 3.0, for instance, can already be jailbroken on Windows). I seriously doubt the effectiveness of the new clauses, however, until Apple shows that they have some teeth by providing a real-life example of what the consequences of violating the new rules are.

Rather than trying to close their fist on this issue, Apple should really be looking to address the problems that drive developers to the jailbreaking community to begin with. That means making serious changes to the app submission/review process, and taking a look at the strict set of rules they impose on anyone who wants to develop legitimately for their devices.

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