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Kindle Fire and Nook Upgrades Kill Root Access

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the bug-fixes-are-nice dept.

Portables 275

jfruhlinger writes "The Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook tablets are similar enough and close enough together in price that they ought to be fighting market share and one-upping each other in terms of features they offer users. But the latest OS upgrades to both gadgets claims to be an 'upgrade' while actually taking functionality away: both remove the ability to root the device." A more balanced way of looking at it is that the updates fix known local privilege escalation vulnerabilities. This might be more of an issue for people wanting to hack on the Nook Tablet: its bootloader is confirmed locked, but reports lean toward the Kindle Fire having an unlocked bootloader letting anyone flash their own software without needing to gain root first.

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Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448756)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449068)

Confidante*

The word you are looking for is confidante.

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449170)

The word you are looking for is Whoosh!

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449348)

Lurk Moar

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449708)

This is one of the best trolls I've seen a while. People fall for it every damn time!

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449974)

Nope. The reply almost certainly came from the same A.C. who posted the original comment.

Neither advertise Android as a selling point (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448762)

Neither device advertises Cndroid as a selling point or has access to the real android market.

Maybe you should take that iCock out of your mouth and go buy a real Android tablet...

Re:Neither advertise Android as a selling point (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448924)

Anonymous Coward wrote, in a slightly more inflammatory wording:

Neither device [...] has access to the real android market.

Maybe you should [...] go buy a real Android tablet...

Which affordable, certified "real Android tablet" in the 7 to 8 inch range do you recommend instead of a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet? Or are Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet like game consoles, sold at razor-thin margins or even at a loss to get people onto the manufacturer's store, and that's why they're so much cheaper than Google-certified devices?

Re:Neither advertise Android as a selling point (4, Interesting)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449102)

I have a real faux Android tablet called an HPTouchPad. It's sweet!

Re:Neither advertise Android as a selling point (4, Informative)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449264)

I have several FlyTouch pads from China. The new ones are dual touch with 1ghz processors in a 7" format and are running around 80$ including shipping. They are google Android and they will send you the android image. Re-flashing is as easy as putting the image on an sd card and booting the unit with the sd card in it.

Not the greatest in the world but they are very good for around the house network access, book reading, hacking, etc.

Re:Neither advertise Android as a selling point (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449668)

What is the relevance of an affordable, certified "real Android tablet" to the Kindle Fire or the Nook? Just because there isn't a product on the market that satisfies your desire to not pay anything doesn't mean that Amazon and B&N have to satisfy your thriftiness by opening up their tablets.

Re:Neither advertise Android as a selling point (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449914)

What is the relevance of an affordable, certified "real Android tablet" to the Kindle Fire or the Nook? Just because there isn't a product on the market that satisfies your desire to not pay anything doesn't mean that Amazon and B&N have to satisfy your thriftiness by opening up their tablets.

Absolutely right. If B&N and Amazon want to sell you hardware that you don't 'own' in the traditional sense, there is nothing forcing you to buy it.

Re:Neither advertise Android as a selling point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38450080)

http://www.dealextreme.com/c/tablets-1409

Any of those should do. I just bought a couple of these myself in preference to the Fire:

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/7-capacitive-screen-android-2-3-tablet-pc-w-dual-camera-wifi-bluetooth-hdmi-tf-1ghz-4gb-107665

Good (3, Insightful)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448780)

Root access was a security risk. I'm glad Amazon fixed that.

Re:Good (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448862)

It didn't come with root access, so they aren't fixing a security risk. They are just removing the ability for some people to voluntarily accept the risk.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449354)

Actually, a privilege escalation exploit IS a security risk.

The unlocked bootloader means that on the Fire, this is at most a small speedbump in the process of modifying a device. However this prevents malware from gaining privilege escalation. (Most of the easiest Android rooting techniques like psneuter and rageagainstthecage relied on exploits that could and WERE also used by malware such as Droid Dream.)

Re:Good (1, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449446)

And how would this magic malware manage to reflash the boot loader in the first place since it requires a hard reset and a 2nd device plugged into the USB port to do it?

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449614)

That's the point.

That isn't what was removed. What was removed was a security flaw that let a non-root app running on the device get root priveledges.

Re:Good (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449778)

Voil8s point was the the exploit was not a remote one and required local physical access.

The difference between lets say the on the iPhone jailbreakme (high risk remote website remote exploit) and redsnow (difficult local direct access exploit).

However once rooted and code signing is dissabled you are right nedlohs the devices are less secure.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449980)

are you sure physical access is required? rageagainstthecage was said to be USB-only for months, until someone discovered that ADB could be exploited via the local terminal. nobody had thought to check the stock ROM for an ADB-client binary.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448872)

Sort of like being able to open the hood on your car is a security risk.

Re:Good (3, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448918)

It is. Most cars have the hood release inside the (presumably) locked cabin... and are hooked up to an alarm system.

I agree with your sentiment; I just could not resist shooting at your analogy!

Re:Good (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449010)

But in this analogy, you'd be allowed inside the cabin because it's the expected and normal usage of the car - you don't generally change/upgrade things from within the cabin beyond those the manufacturer/dealer approves (IE: swapping out a radio is pretty simple on most cars and doesn't usually void warranties). To "lock the cabin" of a tablet would be like the update changing the password/PIN and not letting the user in at all.

Re:Good (1)

Almandine (1594857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449544)

I think of it as removing the ability to unlock the hood from inside the cabin. You'll still be able to enter the cabin and operate the car (use the device). You can even get a new radio (downloadable approved apps) but opening the hood to add a turbocharger is forbidden as it can significantly change the performance of the car.

Re:Good (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449948)

Boats have cabins, cars have interiors.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449018)

Then let's roll with the analogy: why don't more Android devices have a legitimate hood release of sorts?

Re:Good (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449762)

Because the manufacturers don't want them to. Sheesh, this isn't hard.

If you want a $10 Android tablet with root access and an open bootloader, build it yourself.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450006)

And yet if the car companies removed your hood release and required a special key or tool only available at the dealerships, you'd be screaming bloody murder and so would the mechanic's unions with good reason - in fact, several times there were class action lawsuits against GM, Ford, and Toyota due to their refusal to sell the appropriate adapters and codebooks necessary to troubleshoot or reset "check engine lights" and computer warnings to the 3rd-party mechanic shops.

Imagine if the car companies wanted to take away your RIGHT to have your car fitted out with a turbocharger, or an aftermarket performance chip [servicemix.org] , or a better flywheel [americanmuscle.com] , or any number of other changes.

Now why is it that people don't scream bloody murder when they have a computing device in their hand, personal property they purchase, and they're told "but you don't have admin rights to change anything so there"???

Re:Good (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449768)

I'd like to think innocent shortages of clues. Emphasis on like.

Re:Good (1)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449194)

Yeah, let's weld the bugger shut, so that nobody, including the imaginary bad guy can get in. And if you need to change the oil then just buy a new and upgraded car, that will come with brand new oil.

Re:Good (2)

atisss (1661313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449420)

It's advertised as "Manufacturer will have the lock to hood, and come at night time to change the oil if it's necessary". But that rarely happens.

Re:Good (1)

Almandine (1594857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449452)

For that analogy, it would be like forcing to driver to use only the dealer to change their oil. The dealers would love that. In reality, this reminds me of the "Right To Repair" law being proposed in Massachusetts.

Re:Good (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449742)

You mean "running over", not shooting.

This is a car analogy.

Re:Good (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450000)

Regarding your sig, which you could expound on...

Muslims are rewriting history to conceal the truth.

The Jews are doing that as well.

Re:Good (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450052)

And yet if the car companies removed your hood release and required a special key or tool only available at the dealerships, you'd be screaming bloody murder and so would the mechanic's unions with good reason - in fact, several times there were class action lawsuits against GM, Ford, and Toyota due to their refusal to sell the appropriate adapters and codebooks necessary to troubleshoot or reset "check engine lights" and computer warnings to the 3rd-party mechanic shops.

Imagine if the car companies wanted to take away your RIGHT to have your car fitted out with a turbocharger, or an aftermarket performance chip [servicemix.org] , or a better flywheel [americanmuscle.com] , or any number of other changes.

Now why is it that people don't scream bloody murder when they have a computing device in their hand, personal property they purchase, and they're told "but you don't have admin rights to change anything so there"???

Re:Good (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449756)

The issue is if someone opens the hood in their car and says replaces their oil with anti-freeze or does something stupid, the automotive industry is mature enough to tell the user that what they did was wrong and will cost them an arm and a leg to get it fixed. And the end user will not get too much sympathy on the internet for doing such a stupid thing. However for these consumer devices if someone who really doesn't know what they are doing roots their device then does something stupid, they will post and state how bad their product is and there will be a bunch of supporters ready to jump to support him in his quest to say how bad the product is because he did something that messed up the device that he couldn't fix. The information is passed on to other people and over time they forgot all about the rooting business and it will sound like the product is just an insecure junk that randomly breaks.

The PC's and Laptop's were able to mature before the internet where anyone who complained or in the right enough will get noticed. So we are able to get PC and Laptops that we can do advanced stuff with... The new products are ultra secured not really because the company doesn't want people to be creative with their product, but because their market stance is so thin right now that bad PR from a small sets of idiots will kill their business. And the fact right now it is hip and cool to hate those evil money grubbing corporations, who are trying to innovate and make some cool new products, that bad news and problems spread like wild fire, and anyone who tries to support the company sounds like one of those apologizers or sell offs.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448956)

Yeah, seriously. When you have a security flaw that allows root privilege escalation you don't just decide not to fix that because the homebrewer's were using it as a convenient way to get access to the machine. If this was on an (open) desktop platform, such a flaw wouldn't really be tolerated for long.

It's like when people are upset that an exploit in a game was fixed that people were using to win / get free stuf / etc, yet they don't get upset when a bug is fixed that was actually preventing them from completing a game.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449122)

If this was on an (open) desktop platform, such a flaw wouldn't really be tolerated for long.

Which is why the user should simply be given root access to begin with. Instead of having to use privilege escalation attacks, users should just be able to hit a button or flip a switch to enable root access for themselves. Quick, easy, and perhaps voiding the warranty (but I think anyone who wants root access is willing to have no warranty).

Why is this so hard?

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449210)

bu..but........My t-shirt says "I void warranties".....how can I void warranties if THEY DONT LET ME?!?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449216)

(but I think anyone who wants root access is willing to have no warranty)

I'd be willing to waive warranty on the software, but I'd still want to have warranty on the hardware (which cannot be damaged by rooting the device). But I guess you'd lose the complete warranty.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449242)

"Why is this so hard?"

If Android is actually open, go make that.

Re:Good (2)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449270)

I don't always applaud Google, but when I do, it's for a Slashdot post. This is one thing I liked about the Chromebooks - the ability to flip a switch on the bottom to unlock the bootloader.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449352)

Bingo. One can just look at the Nexus line of devices and the "fastboot oem unlock" command and the warning given as the right way to go about doing this. This is enough of a hurdle to keep Joe Sixpack from doing it so he can see the dancing bunnies, but allows people who are willing to trash their device (and not bother calling hardware support) to do what they feel free to.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38450056)

OEM unlock == bootloader unlocking != root access.

Kindle Fire: unlocked bootloader, no (legitimate) root login.
Nook Tablet: locked bootloader, no root login.
Droid x2: locked bootloader, no root login.
Nexus (S): unlockable bootloader, no root login.
Android/AOSP: no (stock-programmed) root login.

Re:Good (1)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449490)

In this case simply because Amazon wants you to buy their stuff.
Remember, Amazon makes no profit on the Fire -some even claim it comes at a loss-, they're a company and not your local welfare!

If you expect your tablet to be rootable then you must be prepared to pay somewhat more for a device that the manufacturer makes money on...

Re:Good (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449772)

Do the pundits who claim this have access to the actual contracts? Do they know what Amazon is actually paying? as opposed to prices advertised on some website?

Re:Good (2)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449846)

Once I've bought the thing it's no longer "their stuff", it's now MY stuff and I should be able to do what I want with it. If they agree to provide support for a certain time period as part of the purchase contract I would expect that the support will **NOT** break MY tablet. If it does (and isn't simply a mistake or incompetence) then they're not keeping their part of the deal.

For the obligatory car analogy . . . If GM sells you a car and throws in a year of free oil changes and tune ups, would you be a bit annoyed if during one of the oil changes they also installed a governor that prevented you from driving faster than 50 kph? I would be.

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449232)

Welcome to the real world, the property you own isn't yours.
You're not buying a product any more you're buying a service. You can't lend others your books (look in the copyright notice at the front if you doubt me) You can't

It is not your music, it is licensed from those who own it.
Oh you're a band and think you own your music? Nope, it belongs to your record label.
Oh you're not signed to a record label? Since 7 notes is enough to copyright a riff then that gives you just over 5000 original works of music so there is no original works anymore. You cannot produce your own works of art anymore.

Okay maybe you have an idea for a cool new machine, nope that's almost certainly covered by someone else's vague patent. Your ideas aren't yours.

Okay what about your house, I bet it's mortgaged so the bank owns it.
Oh, you own your house outright, fine but who enforces it? When someone tries to take it from you it's a government giving you a licence to live there as long as you pay property taxes.

Actually you know what I started writing this as a parody post and now I'm not sure anymore, exactly what do we own anyway? What has anyone ever owned? Did those 200 years ago have more property rights than we currently have?
Moving forwards should we have more property rights? Should I be allowed to sell you a device that is designed to break, or at least rely on updates to keep doing the same job? Machinery has always worn out, selling with a contract that requires a service contract has always been legal (AFAIK) so why are we annoyed about this now?

Re:Good (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449344)

What has anyone ever owned? Did those 200 years ago have more property rights than we currently have?

Check with the Massachusett. See how that worked out for them.

Re:Good (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449702)

You can't lend others your books (look in the copyright notice at the front if you doubt me)

"No part of this book shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher."

"transmitted by any means.... mechanical"

How do I get it home from the store? Did Amazon violate the copyright when they shipped it to me?

Re:Good (1)

HungryMonkey (1887382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449894)

I would guess the answer is in your own post:

" without written permission from the publisher."

Amazon undoubtedly has a contract with the publisher allowing the sale and distribution of said sale.

Exhaustion (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450044)

How do I get it home from the store?

Once a copyright owner has authorized the making and distribution of a particular product embodying a copyrighted work or patented invention within the United States, the exclusive distribution right is considered "exhausted", and further distribution of the same product within the United States is not an infringement of copyright. For copyrights, see 17 USC 109; for patents, see Keeler v. Standard Folding Bed Co., 157 U.S. 659, 666–67 (1895). The only exception for copyrighted works is when a for-profit entity lends a phonorecord (copy of a sound recording) or a copy of a computer program, unless the program is for a game console or embedded in an appliance.

Re:Good (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449840)

Oh, you own your house outright, fine but who enforces it?

That's the problem for any form of property. As John Philpot Curran (not Jefferson, as commonly thought [wikiquote.org] ) pointed out, the price of liberty "is eternal vigilance."

Should I be allowed to sell you a device that is designed to break, or at least rely on updates to keep doing the same job?

As long as you make this clear in advance. The problem comes when advertising does not mention restrictions on a device or buries them in a page of legalese. For example, where on a video game console's box does the manufacturer mention the restrictions on who qualifies to develop games for the platform?

Re:Good (1)

Nanosphere (1867972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449912)

Americans don't own anything anymore because Americans don't *make* anything anymore.

Eminent Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449934)

Don't forget about "eminent domain". Government can seize your home for any reason, whenever they please.

accessory mode please then I won't need to root it (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448876)

I'm just annoyed that they have not implemented all of Gingerbread. They claim they have Android 2.3.4 on kernel 2.6.37 and yet they don't support the ADK (accessory development kit). It's just a couple of already written classes in the kernel, a framework jar, and a permissions file. It would take an hour to implement and 3 to test. Hook us up Amazon! Then I wouldn't even want to root the thing.

Re:accessory mode please then I won't need to root (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448948)

That's not what ADK means. ADK is the Android Development Kit.

Classes in the kernel? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449350)

The linux kernel is written in C, not C++ so how did they manage that?

A class in C++ is a fancy name for a struct (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449626)

It's just a couple of already written classes in the kernel

The linux kernel is written in C, not C++ so how did they manage that?

A class in C++ is a fancy name for a struct. The only difference between the two keywords is whether the first member is public or private, and best practice overrides that anyway. So allow me to rephrase: "It's just a couple of already written structs in the kernel."

In practice, C++ programmers use the keyword struct to denote that a particular class is plain old data [wikipedia.org] , and they use class to denote that a particular struct has virtual methods, such as a non-empty destructor, and thus can't be used in a union or in a C++ module's C API.

Re:A class in C++ is a fancy name for a struct (3, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449994)

Thanks for the heads up but I've done C++ for the last 15 years. A C struct is NOT the same as a C++ struct because it can't inherit and it doesn't have methods , only the option of function pointers, but thanks for playing.

Re:A class in C++ is a fancy name for a struct (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450100)

A C struct is NOT the same as a C++ struct

I didn't say it was. The first paragraph was about C++ and C++ only. The second paragraph mentioned that people use class to denote such types that use features not in C.

thanks for playing

What exactly is this supposed to mean? Am I on a game show?

Re:Classes in the kernel? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449802)

There are lots of classes in the kernel. Learn something about CS before assuming that C can't do classes.

Haha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448908)

Sounds like some parties are moving towards a walled garden... but but but... it's teh Android!!!onehundredeleven!!!

If you want a rooted tablet... (1)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448922)

Get those that cheap "shanzai" tablets from China. They come with pretty good hardware and quite a few already have ICS firmware released. Best of all, you need not worry about not being able to root the tablet.

...then pirate the Gapps (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448984)

Get those that cheap "shanzai" tablets from China.

Are they certified by Google? If not, then what market do they come with?

They come with pretty good hardware

Does "pretty good hardware" include a capacitive digitizer so that 1. I can run applications that require Android Market, and 2. I don't have to either borrow my DS's stylus or press so hard I feel like I'm running the risk of breaking it?

I don't know how I ended up typing that (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449082)

1. I can run applications that require Android Market,

I don't know how I ended up typing that and missing it on preview. I meant "1. I can run applications that require multitouch,"

Re:...then pirate the Gapps (2)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450020)

Are they certified by Google? If not, then what market do they come with?

Almost all are not, but there are some exceptions, e.g. MIPS-based Ainol Novo 7 is Google certified (running ICS) and costs around 100$

Does "pretty good hardware" include a capacitive digitizer so that 1. I can run applications that require Android Market, and 2. I don't have to either borrow my DS's stylus or press so hard I feel like I'm running the risk of breaking it?

Yes, most 100$+ tablets are using capacitive 5-point multitouch screens. Their resolution is usually quite low though, but it's going to change soon - there are several new 7" tablets with 1024x600 resolution.

Re:If you want a rooted tablet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448996)

Yea, you also don't need to worry about having a functional device with an accurate and decent multitouch screen.

Mmmm, movies (3, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448954)

Since the last update to the Nook Color let me watch Netflix (it works really well, although subtitles could be slightly larger) and fixed a few oversights like not being able to read books in landscape mode, I really don't have a reason to root it anymore. It may just be my perception, but overall performance seems to have improved slightly as well. Does anyone know if this affects dual-booting the Nook Color off of a microSD card?

Re:Mmmm, movies (2)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449332)

It will always attempt to boot from microSD first. The boot order is hardwired on the board.

Follow the money (4, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449056)

First off, is anyone surprised? As a business, I'm making sure:
1) That people don't try to return the product when they screw it up doing something that the product wasn't intended to do (and it costs me money)
2) That I eliminate a potential attack vector for malware which would lead to decreased sales and increased returns (which costs me money)
3) That people are locked into using my products (which makes me money)

This is all about the money people. This isn't about trying to screw over the 0.1% of people who buy the tablet - It's about maximizing the profits. And let's be realistic here - they will be recracked in short order.

Re:Follow the money (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449168)

That people don't try to return the product when they screw it up doing something that the product wasn't intended to do

It is a computer, not a hammer. Since when do we declare that a computer is "not intended" to do something in software? If people were complaining that their Nook could not solve the Post correspondence problem, you would have a point.

Re:Follow the money (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449204)

Also, I do not mean to come off as rude or angry, but phrases like "the computer is not supposed to be used for this software" are problematic.

Re:Follow the money (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449842)

You are assuming that just because it can be used as a general-purpose computer that it must be. That's just selfishness and greediness talking.

Go build your own tablet, with your own OS or mod of Android, and call it a day.

I don't in any way support usage of the Legal system to stop you from hacking your own hardware, but I take exception to people expecting companies to hand them their pet desires on a silver platter. If you don't like what's being offered, tough shit. Do it yourself.

Re:Follow the money (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449292)

That people don't try to return the product when they screw it up doing something that the product wasn't intended to do

It is a computer, not a hammer. Since when do we declare that a computer is "not intended" to do something in software? If people were complaining that their Nook could not solve the Post correspondence problem, you would have a point.

Neither company advertises there reader as anything but a reader designed to run their software. Just because it was capable of being rooted doesn't mean they have to continue to allow it to be rooted or that they are taking anything away. You are free to buy someone else's product or not upgrade yours and live with the capabilities and limitations of the current setup.

You are still also free to try to root the device or otherwise modify it - but neither company has any obligation to make it easy to do that. It's their product, their choice on what capabilities to include, and you choice wether or not to buy it based on those capabilities. If you buy it for an unadvertised capability then you're on your own if it goes away.

Re:Follow the money (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449396)

you're on your own if [the ability to root your computer] goes away.

It did not "go away," it was deliberately disabled by these companies. It is a computer, nothing less, and we have every reason to expect the ability to run any software we want on our computers.

Re:Follow the money (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449866)

and we have every reason to expect the ability to run any software we want on our computers.

Why?

Re:Follow the money (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450038)

They modified their software so it only does things they want it to. They did not modify the so-called computer. If you want to pretend a Kindle is a general-purpose computer, then treat it like one. Only load your own software and software you trust. You have zero reasonable expectation that the software provided by Amazon (or anyone else) will do or be usable for anything other than what they say.

Re:Follow the money (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449782)

Neither company advertises there reader as anything but a reader designed to run their software.

Slight quibble - I think Amazon positions the Fire as more than just a reader. It's definitely a tablet.

Re:Follow the money (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450022)

Neither company advertises there reader as anything but a reader designed to run their software.

Slight quibble - I think Amazon positions the Fire as more than just a reader. It's definitely a tablet.

I think they position it as a reader that has access to a wide variety of Amazon content. They don't say it's a general purpose tablet:

kindlefire
Web, movies, apps, games, reading and more

19 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
Thousands of popular apps and games, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and more
Ultra-fast web browsing - Amazon Silk
Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle - same as an iPad
Fast, powerful dual-core processor
Favorite children's books, graphic novels, and magazines in rich color

The only time they even mention Android is:

The Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet that links seamlessly with Amazon's impressive collection of
digital music, video, magazine, and book services in one easy-to-use package. It boasts a great
Web browser, and its curated Android app store includes most of the big must-have apps
(such as Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu)

and

Additional email apps are available in our Amazon Appstore for Android.

Re:Follow the money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449364)

(Posting AC because I'm at work...)

It is a computer...

No. It is not. If you want a computer, buy a computer. The Nook and Kindle Fire are consumer devices in the same way that your DVD player or fridge or XBox are consumer devices - the fact that they have computers and might be hackable to do more than the manufacturer intended is irrelevant and does not make them computers. Want a computer? Buy a computer. Don't buy a consumer device and then complain that it's not a computer.

Re:Follow the money (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449388)

Everything just about is a computer or has a computer in it.
That is where things get fuzzy. Should you have the ability to change the software on all of them. Take cars for example. They have lots of computers. Lots of people will reprogram the ECM but what about the CPU that controls the anitlock brakes?
I am all for the hacking of devices but I can see the manufactures point of view. They made a devices that does xyz and sells it as doing xyz. They never told you that you could root it.
At least the Fire allows third party apps to be side loaded.

Re:Follow the money (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449454)

Should you have the ability to change the software on all of them

Yes.

Lots of people will reprogram the ECM but what about the CPU that controls the anitlock brakes?

As long as they do not make their vehicle unsafe for the road, why would that be a problem? We require cars to pass inspection for this reason. Why should someone be forbidden from hacking their brakes?

Re:Follow the money (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449760)

Allow or make it easy?
The point is that Amazon and BN sold these devices as being abile to do certain things. As long as they do those things they are keeping their side of the bargain.

Re:Follow the money (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449882)

Why should someone be forbidden from hacking their brakes?

Why should a company be forced to make it easy for someone to hack their brakes?

But more to the point, you aren't forbidden from hacking your brakes/tablet. I mean, was a law passed that expressly forbids the hacking of tablets and other hardware you own? Like someone said earlier, this is the company making a decision about their product because of how it affects their bottom line. Amazon isn't selling Fires at a loss so hackers can get a piece of cheap hardware to do whatever they want with it. They are selling it to get people to buy stuff from them.

To put it another way, should Sony, MS or Nintendo be forced to allow other game formats to run on their consoles? No, they use proprietrary formats so that they can extract licensing revenue from game makers. There is no legal or ethical justification to force them to use an open game format. Apple and MS went through this in the PC market (thought there's a lot more going on there). There are open tablets from Asia that you can buy. Go buy one. Don't complain that every single tablet in the world isn't 100% open.

Re:Follow the money (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449892)

Do you not live in the US? I have never had my car inspected for safety, despite registering each year of the last 18. Perhaps some states require it, but certainly not all do.

Re:Follow the money (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449940)

It is a computer, not a hammer. Since when do we declare that a computer is "not intended" to do something in software?

Well at least since console manufacturers started selling consoles at no-profit or even a loss, in order to make profit on game licenses. And the DMCA provides them with legal backing for that model.

Amazon is using the same model. They are supplying a no-profit tablet in order to make money on media consumed.

If you want a truly open device, you should expect to pay more money for it.

Re:Follow the money (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449290)

That people don't try to return the product when they screw it up doing something that the product wasn't intended to do (and it costs me money)

The proper way to fix this isn't to block all rooting but to provide a working recovery means to reset the operating system to factory state, restore applications from the market, and restore the user's data from automatic backup. Then figure out a way to segregate the user's data so that it doesn't have to be restored as often; the "/sdcard" partition in some Android devices has worked well for this.

That I eliminate a potential attack vector for malware

You can't neutralize malware without first defining malware. This involves enumerating the possible bad things that malicious software can do. Does this list of bad things [laptop.org] miss anything?

Re:Follow the money (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450086)

That people don't try to return the product when they screw it up doing something that the product wasn't intended to do (and it costs me money)

The proper way to fix this isn't to block all rooting but to provide a working recovery means to reset the operating system to factory state, restore applications from the market, and restore the user's data from automatic backup. Then figure out a way to segregate the user's data so that it doesn't have to be restored as often; the "/sdcard" partition in some Android devices has worked well for this.

If you want to start a company to create a hobbyist tablet that is safe for rooting and experimentation, you should go ahead. But don't expect Amazon (or B&N) to sell a tablet designed to sell their own content while at the same time supporting your desire to run a different operating system on it.

They are selling it at close to the manufacturing cost (or possibly below cost) because they are counting on it to bring in revenue. B&N doesn't want you rooting it and installing the Kindle App, or vice-versa.

Had a rooted NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449114)

I had my rooted NC for several months.

I went back to factory a couple of weeks ago, before the 1.4.1 upgrade, because it simply works better.

Re:Had a rooted NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449286)

I installed 1.4.1 this week and have CM7.1 running on an SD Card. I have to say that I like having both options available, though I'd wish that BN would bump the speed up on the Nook Color when Netflix is running, I run at 1.2GHz with no heat problems at all under CM.

Re:Had a rooted NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449672)

I just got tired of having BS phone apps there that couldn't be used, and the greatly reduced battery life.

I'm not worried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449124)

The community will have it rooted again in 10 seconds flat.

Get a tablet - not an LCD eReader (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449222)

If you want an eInk reader, then fine get a dedicated eReader. Otherwise get an Adroid tablet, not an LCD eReader.

A year ago, getting something that you could convert to a decent $250 Android tablet was a BFD. Today, not so much.

There were all kinds of great Black Friday deals: Acer Iconia for $200 and so on. You can still get a Vizio 8 at Costco for $189, or a Lenovo Idiapad A1 at Amazon for $199.

Get a real tablet and you are not vendor-locked. You can read any format you want, without excessive hacking. Plus tablets have way more features, like GPS, and cameras.

Re:Get a tablet - not an LCD eReader (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38450042)

I have no idea what the hell the point of 'color' ereaders are.

It's like we live in a world where there are two kinds of vehicles. Everyone either drives a enclosed electric golf cart, which is a good pollution-less short-range cheap vehicle, or a gas-powered car, which is more expensive but has a 300 mile range and is much faster and can carry more.

And then vendors inexplicably start selling cars as 'gas powered golf cars', in the golf cart market. They've crippled these cars so they only have a range of golf cart, although admittedly they can carry more. However, they have all the disadvantages of the cars such as requiring gas stations and polluting, and the price of the crippled cars isn't much less than the price of an actual car. (A price difference that apparently is supposed to be made in the marked up price of accessories.)

I really have to question the market here. The actual market for 'color ereaders' that I see is people who want a cheap tablet.

People who actually want an ereader, as in, a device to read a book on, seem to actually want eInk.

But instead we've decide to have a war where people uncripple their 'golf cart' cars and the manufacturer tries to stop it.

I say this, ironically, as someone who owned a Nook Simple Touch...that I've rooted. (The eInks are much easier to root, apparently. Just need an SD card.) But I didn't do it to make it a tablet, I did it to make it a better ereader.

Right to Read (5, Interesting)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449416)

In-case anyone hasn't read the Richard Stallman story: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

From the authors notes:

One of the ideas in the story was not proposed in reality until 2002. This is the idea that the FBI and Microsoft will keep the root passwords for your personal computers, and not let you have them.

The proponents of this scheme have given it names such as “trusted computing” and “Palladium”. We call it “treacherous computing” ...

The 1997 prediction, proposed in 2002, is reality in 2011. The big surprise is that the implementation isn't a technical DRM/TC scheme, but a fundamental change in corporations retaining ownership and control of items after they've been sold. Who could have predicted that?

Re:Right to Read (1)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449608)

Damn, just lost my mod points. Mod parent UP!

Re:Right to Read (-1, Flamebait)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449924)

Can't. Flamebait and Troll are both downmods, and there isn't one for "bat-shit insane drivel".

Lockdown is good and necessary (2)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449986)

There are a number of exposure vectors for stuff like this. Certainly the average user does not want something that they buy/download to gain additional privileges and do unexpected things. Anything that makes that less likely is going to be required.

I believe these devices are WiFi only and do not have a great deal of radio power, but you can believe anything with a cell radio in it is going to be locked down as tightly as necessary to absolutely prevent changing radio parameters. The first hacker that gets into a cell radio and shows the world how they can disrupt cell communications in their corner of the world will prove the need for this kind of lockdown beyond any doubt. But I don't see how this would apply to these devices.

Certainly both devices are sold either at a loss or at a very, very thin margin with the expectation that they will be used to buy stuff from the parent company and mostly the parent company. Overall, Amazon has been quite generous with the Kindle line - supporting the 3G wireless access for web browsing, email reading, etc. Yes, you can download non-Amazon books through the Amazon-supported wireless access. I suspect with the Fire the capabilities are there to access free and paid content outside of Amazon, but the Amazon stuff is easier to get to. I have no idea what sort of capabilities the Nook has, but I am guessing both have NetFlix access just as an example. So the devices aren't really "owned" by their parent but the expectation that there will be future profits affect the price of the devices. Similar devices are normally priced a bit higher - as much as 50%.

I do not think the parent "subsidy" is the reason for the lockdown as to the average consumer they are no more locked down now than before. If you can still pay NetFlix and watch movies on the device, then it isn't locked to only Amazon or B&N content.

I think the only explanation that is reasonable is the absolute very last thing they want is any sort of downloaded software making its way onto one of these devices and taking it over. Anything that prevents that or makes it less likely is going get pushed out to the user community. Anyone criticizing this doesn't understand the risks or the incredible backlash that would follow from an exploit on one of these devices.

If you want to root the device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38450084)

Then why would you upgrade it? I mean, rooting it sort of replaces the normal software with a new bit of it, so therefore you don't need the upgrade and if you want to root it then just don't upgrade it. Problem solved. The rest of us don't care all that much about that "Feature".

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