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

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We know they don’t like it, since they recently took steps to try and make it illegal, but now Apple (s aapl) 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.

6 Responses to “Apple’s Stance Gets Sterner on Jailbreaking in Latest Developer License Agreement”

  1. Apple are wasting their time with this one. Whatever they try to do will fail – people will always want to have the freedom to put what they want on their I-phones – and people will always be out there that will carry on writing hacks.

    Large corporations would do well to learn from previous experiences. Remember the music industry backlash against downloading tunes and how it would kill the industry? Now we have a download chart :) Apple would save lots of cash and public face if it stopped trying to curtail the jail-breaking movement, and worked with it rather than against it.

  2. It like trying to put humpty dumpty back together again. “All the kings horse and all the kings men … .” It’s fighting a guerrilla war. You never win in the long run through military might alone. You must win the hearts and minds of the people. The people want an open iPhone. And they shall have it one way or the other.

  3. Gazoobee

    I have to point out that this article repeats the FALSE assertion that the new agreement forbids a developer from jailbreaking their own phone or using a jailbreak on their own phone to assist in their developing.

    Nothing that has been published from the agreement (including the main clauses above) forbids a developer from jailbreaking their own phone. It merely forbids the developer from *creating* jailbreak software, from *promoting* jailbreaks, from *assisting* people to jailbreak their phone, or from *participating* (at least officially) in the jailbreak “community.”

    This is a perfectly reasonable stance and will inconvenience no-one but the jailbreak “community,” such as it is. It means that people won’t be able to write books about how to jailbreak the iPhone or make money off of jailbreaking but it does NOT stop anyone from doing anything with their own phone that they want to including “jailbreaking.”

  4. David B

    I jailbroke yesterday (on a PC, since my uni MacBook has been crippled for me), and I’m really dumbfounded why Apple is so against it. It’s so pleasant and useful. Nothing I’ve done to my iPhone has hurt Apple in any way; it’s actually made me love my iPhone even more, whereas handcuffing my MacBook against jailbreaking makes me resent Apple. I can understand their contractual obligations to keep users on AT&T, but why hate on people installing their own themes or system utilities?