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Hacker Modifies Facebook Home To Work On All Android Devices

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the take-that-social-norms dept.

Facebook 124

An anonymous reader writes "That was quick. Mere hours after Facebook Home arrived on Google Play, the launcher has been modified to remove the device-specific limitation. This means you can use the latest Facebook service on any Android device. The brilliant hackers at XDA Developers have done it again. This particular hack was performed by XDA Senior Member theos0o; who provides details and download links."

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Great! (5, Funny)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43444441)

Thanks hackers, now Facebook will be able to more effectively track all Android users equally! It's so thoughtful for you to effectively to their crummy job for them...

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43444479)

FaceBook is still voluntary, as far as I can tell.

Re:Great! (4, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year ago | (#43444509)

So is an Address, but yet I must have one.
Now I get a bunch of shit in the mail, people knocking on my door, and cars driving by with loud bass.
Clearly, life is voluntary.

Re:Great! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444611)

> So is an Address, but yet I must have one.

YOU must have one. It's voluntary.

> Clearly, life is voluntary.

Life is voluntary. Clearly you ran out of ways to flamebait.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444645)

Really? Life is voluntary? You mean if someone blows their own brains out in my country, they are not breaking any laws? As in, it is voluntary and they are "allowed" to do it?

Who woulda guessed...

Re:Great! (3, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#43444949)

You mean if someone blows their own brains out in my country, they are not breaking any laws?

If I blow my own brains out, you're welcome to stick my corpse in jail. The other inmates, however, might object.

Whereas if you were to blow your brains out, you would have to aim very carefully. ;-P

Re:Great! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43445401)

i wouldn't be surprised if you were arrested for blowing your own brains out in america... then they lock you up, force feed you gruel and water-board you till you give away the secrets of your suicidal terrorist cult

Re:Great! (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43444525)

Until you've got a friend who moves way out of town, loses or gets a new phone/number, and can't be found on traditional instant messaging services (Yahoo, Google Talk, etc.)... then it starts becoming somewhat of a necessity.

This has happened to me, although after all these years I have still not caved into the pressure. But it is getting increasingly difficult to get in contact with people using traditional and in general non-Fecesbook methods.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444535)

Perhaps a "friend" that moved out of town, and didn't provide you with their new contact details, doesn't want to be found by you ;)
Thanks Facebook!

Re:Great! (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43444563)

Nah--he has been having some real troubles in life and it seems more likely that he is struggling to get things straightened out again, and thinks that "starting fresh" and avoiding all of his past in the only way he can solve them.

I'm sure that his own dad has a better idea and knows more about what is going on with the situation than some random anonymous coward on Slashdot who I don't even care to know. But nice try.

Re:Great! (1)

kenbo11 (1097593) | about a year ago | (#43445407)

Doesn't "starting fresh" = "doesn't want to be found by you" ? So anonymous was correct!

Re:Great! (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about a year ago | (#43445459)

You'd think his own dad would get a phone number or an address. Just saying is all...

I live over a thousand miles from my dad, and talk to him weekly. Either he picks up the phone and calls me, or I pick up my phone and call him. No facebook is needed.

Re:Great! (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43446231)

All I'll say is: You don't know him. He's not on the greatest terms with his dad either, but if anyone knows what's going on it should be him. But his dad seems almost as confused. Not everyone has perfect relationships with their parents.

Re:Great! (1)

LulzAndOrder (2667597) | about a year ago | (#43445825)

yeah, he's been having some real troubles in life (owes money to loan sharks) and it seems more likely that he is struggling to get things straightened out again (hold down a job and hide from the loan sharks), and thinks that "starting fresh" and avoiding all of his past in the only way he can solve them (which I, being his loan shark, disagree with) I'm sure that his own dad has a better idea and knows more about what is going on with the situation (and that's why I broke his legs) than some random anonymous coward on Slashdot who I don't even care to know (but I will break your legs if you get in the way). But nice try (though I will be undeterred in my pursuit of this deadbeat who is going to find himself dead and beat)

sounds like YOU are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43446833)

...one of the "troubles" he's trying to escape.

Re:Great! (2)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#43444539)

You don't have your "friends" email address? Because I've had my main email account for 9 years, my account that's now my spam catcher for 13, and can still get email forwarded from my dads account that he's had for 19 years. All of those dwarf having to find someones facebook account in convenience.

Re:Great! (0)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43444587)

I do not know if he uses either of them any more, but I do know his Yahoo! and Gmail addresses. At some point I will probably give one (or both) of those a try, if I don't hear anything from my other friend who does use Facebook... but I really doubt that he checks his e-mail. I have kept my e-mail address for years, and I know many other people do, but I also know that many others go through e-mail addresses like underwear (just like phone numbers... but maybe not quite as bad). If his complete lack of presence on both Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger are any indication, then chances are good that--aside from Facebook--there really is no sure-fire way to find him.

Re:Great! (1)

kenbo11 (1097593) | about a year ago | (#43445417)

If he wants to start fresh and leave his past behind. Shouldn't you, as a friend, respect that and leave him alone?

Re:Great! (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43446213)

Shouldn't I, as a friend, try to find out exactly what's going on--straight from him--instead of just assuming my own predictions to be correct?

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444997)

People using FB are not friends! They are FB's products trying to get more products for FB.

Re:Great! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43445405)

even products need friends... don't be discriminating against products... that's product-ist... mark my words there will be laws against that soon

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445005)

Until you've got a friend who moves way out of town, loses or gets a new phone/number, and can't be found on traditional instant messaging services (Yahoo, Google Talk, etc.)... then it starts becoming somewhat of a necessity.

This has happened to me, although after all these years I have still not caved into the pressure. But it is getting increasingly difficult to get in contact with people using traditional and in general non-Fecesbook methods.

It as very big step from "I want to get in touch with people and this tool can help me" to saying that using Facebook isn't voluntary. With that definition using Slashdot isn't voluntary either, if we want what we find here (for some reason..). I use Facebook for much of the same reason you describe, it is a convenient way of staying or getting in touch with people, even when they move around and you don't keep up on contact details. And I find it a bit strange that people here are so concerned about privacy at a place where it is voluntary what you choose to reveal (and I also find it strange that tech savvy people seems to have so much trouble with Facebook privacy settings, I've never found them difficult to control at all).

Re:Great! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43445411)

slashdot isn't voluntary... i'm literally unable to stop posting bullshit comments... i just can't do it captain... i just don't have the power

Re:Great! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43446117)

Until you've got a friend who moves way out of town, loses or gets a new phone/number

And they wouldn't keep the same cell number because...?

I'm assuming if they have a new cell number these days it means they are in witness protection, and I'm better off not knowing it anyways.

Re:Great! (1)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | about a year ago | (#43445127)

My guess is that this new skin/face will become a new Facebook upgrade that will either install itself and take over your phone or nag you to upgrade until you bend over and acquiesce. I decided I didn't need Facebook on my Android so I uninstalled it. Happily I have the option to do so -- my previous device had it in crapware where my only choice was to uninstall upgrades.

Re:Great! (2)

vlueboy (1799360) | about a year ago | (#43447001)

We are never given a chance to judge the app's invasive permission schemes when it's already on a brand new phone. I would not download it on the Market if given the choice.

Happily I have the option to do so -- my previous device had it in crapware where my only choice was to uninstall upgrades.

Same here with cheap Android 2.2 device. If your device is rootable, you could had a choice of killing FB. Once rooted, you can use a root terminal to find the standard bin folder and move out or delete the facebook APK file. It disappears from the App list.

I wish I had done that much earlier: A friend quickly signed in to check their facebook messages when I lent them the device, the masses don't even dream of using HTTP when there's a juicy app icon they can easily find. They must have hurriedly OK'd the first-run defaults, synching MY Phone contacts with THEIR FB login. I later found random people in my adress book led me to discover the problem.

Even though I went back and decoupled his profile from my phone, Facebook will forever have my phone number, snapshots of my private contact list, location and whatever else researchers demonstrated is fair pickins for bad apps. I suspect that even if nobody ever ran the app on my phone, the SNS FB service had already given up all that info. Could be done periodically between the day I unboxed my phone and the day I uprooted it out of the phone.

New business plan (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43445311)

1) develop software for one platform only
2) loudly trumpet that to maintain IP rights and control the product will never be developed for other platforms
3) sit back and let hackers port it for you
4) ...?
5) Profit!

Re:Great! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445947)

If you are using Google's Android, you obviously don't care about privacy anyway.

Re:Great! (1)

The Last Gunslinger (827632) | about a year ago | (#43447417)

Exactly my thinking. After reading the device permission requirements demanded by the most recent update for the Android app version of FB, I uninstalled it entirely. There's no good reason I can think of for Facebook to have visibility and control of the apps running on my device.

As E.T. would say (4, Insightful)

toygeek (473120) | about a year ago | (#43444443)

Face-book-phooone-Hooome

Malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444447)

It's got malicious code in it, that downloads all the private information from the phone and publishes it for the world to see!

IT'S A TRAP!

Hackers.. (1)

Cyphase (907627) | about a year ago | (#43444451)

Those darn hackers..

I'd like to see this guy's hat. (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43444455)

It must be the biggest, blackest hat in the history of the world.

Re:I'd like to see this guy's hat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444507)

Zuckerburg's is bigger and blacker; after all, he's socially engineered all these hackers to do his advertizing and development work for free, as though spreading Facebook was a worthy cause for expending effort.

Re:I'd like to see this guy's hat. (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year ago | (#43444823)

Zuckerburg's is bigger and blacker [...]

Once you go Zuck, your privacy's fucked.

Re:I'd like to see this guy's hat. (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#43444755)

Has the guy actually made any modifications to it?

When I need to install a non-supported app on my Google TV, I just download the app on my rooted phone and email it to myself.

That's it, most tablet apps run fine on my Google TV even if their manifest says it does not support it (and my Google TV itself is not rooted, it doesn't have to be since it's just receiving the apk). Now the usability of those non-GoogleTV apps may not be that great, but that's another story. My point is that nothing on the TV itself prevents the installation of anything if the user bypasses Google Play.

Re:I'd like to see this guy's hat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445555)

And its not hard to modify the accepted devices to all.

I think the reasons it took this long are:
Needed to download the app
Needed to modify the file
Needed to find someone who cared
Needed to find a "tech website" to care.. the same one that just had a posting about the huge security concers with facebook home.

Erh... oooooo ... kaaaay? (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43444487)

Wake me when he manages to remove every trace of phone-home crap in there, then it's maybe news worth mentioning.

Re:Erh... oooooo ... kaaaay? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#43444887)

Then how would it work?

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | about a year ago | (#43444939)

when he manages to remove every trace of phone-home crap in there, then it's maybe news worth mentioning

Then how would it work?

As a "leech-only client to Facebook" for the few who do actually care about their own privacy, but are nosy enough to want to read up on everybody else's every move (from the phones of all those to whom it couldn't matter less as they use an unpatched very verbose version).

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43445061)

If someone's not willing to share their own life but still want to peek into the lives of others then they're a bit of a peeping Tom in my book. I guess that's what two decades of reality TV has turned people into.

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43445449)

Heh. I dare you to write your Congressman that.

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43445677)

I don't have a Congressman. I do have a queen though does that count?

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43447587)

They really prefer to be called homosexuals or just gays. No need for hate speach!

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about a year ago | (#43445477)

So if the peeping tom is willing to share (getting naked) he should be allowed to see others getting naked. Because personally I would still classify that as a peeping tom. If we reapply this upgraded standard to facebook terms, everyone is a peeping tom on facebook.

lxs why are you a peeping tom?

In case you hear a woosh noise I'll break it down: Analogy fail.

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#43445199)

The classic bit-torrent problem.

These systems only work when you share as much as you receive. Kind of like people who are dead set against Google knowing minor anonymous details about their life yet at the same time are happy for live traffic feedback in navigation apps.

If you're the type of person who is interested in leech only, then this is most definitely not even remotely the product for you.

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

TCM (130219) | about a year ago | (#43446777)

These systems only work when you share as much as you receive. Kind of like people who are dead set against Google knowing minor anonymous details about their life yet at the same time are happy for live traffic feedback in navigation apps.

What. The. Fuck.

So for live traffic feedback I should have to provide back my live GPS location or even totally unrelated information? What a completely retarded argument. You just pulled a totally unrelated analogy out of your ass.

Re:remove phone-home crap - Then how would it work (1)

WillDraven (760005) | about a year ago | (#43447373)

How do you think the service knows where traffic is backed up at? If nobody shared their GPS data there wouldn't be any traffic feedback. I'll admit comparing it to Facebook status updates is a bit of a stretch, but I wouldn't call the idea of a service pooling GPS data so users can see where traffic jams are "a completely retarded argument."

Re:Erh... oooooo ... kaaaay? (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a year ago | (#43445007)

This is in the other XDA thread, the one about OpenPDroid (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2098156). You may also look into the autopatcher (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1719408) for an easier install.

Well, maybe he has removed the phone home stuff,.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445895)

Well, maybe he has removed the phone home stuff, to an extent, and replaced it with his own source of advertisements? Instead of people seeing facebook's advertisements, you see advertisements where the hacker gets a commission. It's not like this would be obvious, just about every android app has these types of ads in them. Seems like a lot of comments here are "why would anyone want to do that." I think "money" is a damn good answer.

In the end, it comes down to the spyware where you know who is getting your private information, versus the spyware where you don't know.

I never ask this, but.... (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43444559)

Usually I am happy to admire the skill and ability of hackers in doing something interesting, and never ask "Why?" or what practical purpose it might help with. I am satisfied to admire the hack for the hack's sake.

But here, why? Do you really want Facebook Home? This hack is like saying, "oh, the Sony Rootkit only ran on Windows, let's port it to OSX so macboys can enjoy it too." Why would you do that? There are much more interesting things to do with your time. Like vacuuming your floor or something.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444577)

Because some of us have wife/girlfriends. We don't want facebook home, but as techie husbands do we hook up our wife's phone.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year ago | (#43445267)

And when she wants to inject heroin, you hold her hair, right?

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about a year ago | (#43445479)

I hate facebook, but comparing it to heroin is a bit much don't you think?

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445527)

Clearly you've never dealt with a FB addict (especially a teenage girl). They have to post their crap, read their friends' crap, play their games, etc, etc, etc. It is beyond their control.

If you want to 'ground' a teenager these days, take away their phone and block FB, Twitter, and the other sites they thrive on via a Hosts file. If you have any questions about using a Hosts file just as "apk" three times and he'll provide more information than you ever thought possible.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about a year ago | (#43446677)

Is that like saying Beetlejuice three times?

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43446813)

Worse.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (2)

rjr162 (69736) | about a year ago | (#43445569)

Honest to god, no.

I have a neighbor whos older (late 60s) and she is an absolute wreck when she cant get on facebook. Her daughter and the daughters husband live next door and I always know when shes having issues with her PC because they tell me "please fix her pc! Shes driving us crazy with the coming over to use our pc to get on facebook deal"

She'll even tell you how crazy she goes waiting to get on facebook. She paces around, cant sit still etc just like she might as well be a junkie waiting for her next fix of heroin

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about a year ago | (#43446689)

I do have to admit that I do not have that much experience with facebook addicts. I was under the impression that as people got older they tended to drift away from such inane places. I could be wrong though.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

pregister (443318) | about a year ago | (#43446155)

Where, exactly, are you injecting your heroin?

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#43444585)

Why would you do that? There are much more interesting things to do with your time. Like vacuuming your floor or something.

And there's much more interesting things you can do with a vacuum. Hm.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444689)

Actually the Sony Rootkit had great uses to hide things from hard drive scanning tech. Like Warden.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444757)

There are much more interesting things to do with your time. Like vacuuming your floor or something.

Maybe it's a prelude to something much more interesting? I don't know the xda guys at all but getting this to run on any device massively increases the pool of people who can run it or, possibly, massively increases the pool of people who can use ther own devices to check for vulnerabilities, add stuff, remove stuff, etc. Baby steps and all that.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#43444805)

why?

That was my first thought reading the headline.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year ago | (#43444807)

This hack is like saying, "oh, the Sony Rootkit only ran on Windows, let's port it to OSX so macboys can enjoy it too." Why would you do that?

Your analogy has inspired my hypothesis that this is was an act of comedic performance art.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444895)

Simple they guy(s) probably did it on commission or for a family member for a specific device and notice the general hack and made it public. Donte if you like my hack. Ta DA

Re:I never ask this, but.... (5, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#43444897)

But here, why? Do you really want Facebook Home?

Me? I don't. My sister? Her friends? Hell some of my friends? Yes.

While you and I may disagree with Facebook, how it works and what it stands for there are people out there who use it for everything. I mean EVERYTHING. You're not on their Facebook list? They won't call you to invite you to a party. SMS? How quaint, just use Facebook messaging from any device and talk to multiple people at a time.

There are literally people I can only talk to via Facebook because that is their mindset. They will line up to try Facebook Home.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444961)

That sounds a lot like aliens taking over our world...

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a year ago | (#43445391)

There are literally people? Two things, first go back to school and second, get some new friends.

Bottom line, you're a twat.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445925)

There are literally people?

You're a fucking idiot. The "literally" applies to "people I can only talk to via Facebook" not "people", you stupid dipshit. Troll harder.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445911)

You're not on their Facebook list? They won't call you to invite you to a party.

Consider it a blessing. They'd not talk with you face-to-face anyway in that party, even if you were invited.

They would be too busy bragging their "delicious drinks" and "what a great party with the coolest people on the planet" in their status updates.

SMS? How quaint, just use Facebook messaging from any device and talk to multiple people at a time.

No thanks.

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43445059)

you really think that _nobody_ would want it?
if you're going to use this you're likely already running the fb app for android and already using fb quite a lot.

that it's hacked isn't that big of a deal though, since fb would have had to do some extraordinary hacks to make it hard to hack..

Re:I never ask this, but.... (1)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#43445375)

But here, why? Do you really want Facebook Home?

Actually, I wasked "why" myself. It's in Facebook's best interest to make Home run on every stinking device out there, including Blackberries via whatever Android-to-BB magic they're using, so it's just a matter of time before they release a works-on-every-device version. So why in the world would anyone bother hacking it to allow what's inevitable?

Almost too quick (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year ago | (#43444581)

If the program was such a quick "fix", it would indicate that the device-specific limitations were either intentionally added by the higher-ups, or Facebook Home was written by a complete idiot (considering how buggy it is reported to be, this might be the more likely possibility)

Re:Almost too quick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444671)

it wasn't a hack, it was a leak.

Re: Almost too quick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444947)

A mixture I think. I've seen apps written by large companies do that before.. They don't code to an API they have a meeting and say 'we'll write it for devices x y and z' then hard code checks to make it run only on those devices.

My favourite example of the genre is the Sky+ app that's locked not only to devices but specific minor OS versions... Phone updated from 4.1.1 to 4.1.2? Too bad.. They'll get around to an update in a month or two...

Facebook does not need help (2, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a year ago | (#43444591)

What self respecting hacker would donate their precious time to helping out a Mark Zuckerberg and his company. Facebook does not need this help. Facebook are the only real winners of this little feat. There are better alternatives for people who dont want to support a shady company like Facebook

Re:Facebook does not need help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43446035)

FB doesn't have to support this software (it's a hack!), but still gets the users. Zuck wins again.

Re:Facebook does not need help (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43446093)

What self respecting hacker would donate their precious time to helping out a Mark Zuckerberg and his company. Facebook does not need this help. Facebook are the only real winners of this little feat. There are better alternatives for people who dont want to support a shady company like Facebook

Not necessarily. Maybe some guy just noticed it wasn't supported on his phone, got curious and said, "Well why not?" So he picked apart the app, found out where/how it enabled certain phones, rebuilt that part to verify that was truly how it worked, and then published his findings on XDA-developers, adding the obligatory, "this may brick your phone" that goes on every hack on XDA-developers. As it should. You install not-thoroughly-tested mods on your phone at considerable risk.

Still Using Forums (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444603)

I see that the XDA community is STILL doing EVERYTHING in a god-damn forum. Nope. No code repositories here! Just download this link from this thread on this forum and have fun!

Re:Still Using Forums (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43444613)

Said the AC posting on a forum... RSS exists.

Re:Still Using Forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444641)

Said the AC posting in comments... RSS has fuck all to do with code sharing and versioning.

Re:Still Using Forums (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444843)

That's because much of what gets accomplished by the developers at XDA falls into the uneasy demilitarized zone where the manufacturers pretend it doesn't exist and look the other way, but technically much of what would be hosted would have at least bits and pieces that could be considered infringement of their respective trademarks, copyrights, and/or patents (example: tweaked & modded Samsung and HTC firmware).

Due to the way trademark law works (vigorously fight all infringement, or risk losing it altogether), if XDA openly hosted files a-la-Github, they might as well paint a target on their metaphorical forehead. Likewise, as long as the files get hosted by services that are slightly shady, the manufacturers can rationalize it as an act of anonymous piracy that's largely beyond their control. If it were hosted at XDA itself, their lawyers would be firing off DMCA takedown notices (or worse) within minutes of posting.

Manufacturers are more willing to look the other way when obtaining and flashing modified firmware involves jumping through a half-dozen annoying hoops. The more convenient it becomes, and the more likely less-technical end users are to use it, the more they (or at least their lawyers) feel compelled to fight for the sake of liability- and tech-support avoidance.

It would be nice, of course, if we could just go out and buy best-of-breed Android hardware with open drivers and unlocked bootloaders, but the sad fact is that Google's Nexi haven't been bleeding-edge best-of-breed devices since the Nexus One (the GNex could have been, had they not squandered 6 months of exclusivity on Verizon, but by the time the GSM GNex came out, the S3 was just a month or two away), so if you want best of breed hardware with hackable firmware now, there isn't really an alternative to buying the latest phone from Samsung or HTC & using hacked and tweaked variants of the official firmware for 3-9 months until Cyanogen, AOSP, and AOKP catch up & have fully-working versions (as opposed to versions with broken Camera, GPS, 4G, or other subsystems that seem to inevitably break with every new version of Android).

Re:Still Using Forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43445865)

Face it, XDA developers love their forum threads. How else would they get android plebes to worship them for work done almost entirely by other people?

Re:Still Using Forums (1)

caseih (160668) | about a year ago | (#43446415)

Even something that ought to be as simple such as installing CyanogenMod on my i9000m phone is buried in pages and pages of forum posts, some dating back a long time. It's virtually impossible to track down the latest information. Sometimes people update the beginning post with the latest information and links, many times not. And installing from random file sharing sources? What a great way to get malware on my phone.

As the other poster put it, they do seem to want to keep this phone hacking stuff a fairly exclusive little club. It really doesn't make the phone hacking scene attractive to legitimate developers and Linux enthusiasts.

Re:Still Using Forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43446517)

Went there to read how he did (since summary here says he mention how) and am going thru pages and pages of "thanks" "works great" "don't work because i can't follow very basic instructions" etc

Anyone have the actual link to the post where he mentions how it's done?

I'd love to do the same with several other useful apps that are as dumb in limiting devices for no reason.

It's like grafting a pig's nose onto your face... (3, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43444637)

Great technical feat though that would be, it does not make it a good idea.

nobody cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43444697)

Okay, and this is impressive/useful/newsworthy how exactly?

Why did Facebook limit distribution of their app? (2)

OldKingCole (2672649) | about a year ago | (#43444869)

I think there's a more interesting issue here... Why did Facebook, probably the world's largest harvester of user information after Google, launch their new app for only few selected devices? Perhaps (conspiracy theory ahead) they wanted to create a hype by releasing the app for only those few selected devices, but allow easy port for people with the proper knowledge?

Re:Why did Facebook limit distribution of their ap (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | about a year ago | (#43444985)

For the same reason that European rules would plant potatoes in a "guarded garden for the king" so neighbors would want them too: ;-)
There's no better way than artificial scarcity to ensure accelerated adoption.

Plus, replacing the Home screen and interacting with the system at a lower level than probably e.g. Apple on iOS would allow, given the wide variety of Android versions (and hacks) out there that might be incompatible in unforeseen ways, Zuck probably does not want his company to go down in history as the one that (at least temporarily for Joe Avg. Users) inadvertently bricked a hundred million phones or so.

Re:Why did Facebook limit distribution of their ap (1)

kenbo11 (1097593) | about a year ago | (#43445461)

Maybe those few selected devices paid Facebook to keep it that way. "Buy our phone it has Facebook Home"

Re:Why did Facebook limit distribution of their ap (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#43445715)

I think there's a more interesting issue here...
Why did Facebook, probably the world's largest harvester of user information after Google, launch their new app for only few selected devices?
Perhaps (conspiracy theory ahead) they wanted to create a hype by releasing the app for only those few selected devices, but allow easy port for people with the proper knowledge?

It is much more highly likely that they wanted to limit distribution to the devices they had tested on, since there are two gates on the specific version of Android that a given device runs, and they had not ensured compatibility with all versions:

Gate #1: The tree from which the frozen cut of the Android sources was derived at the time that the version was frozen for productization by the device manufacturer. For some reason, people still want to erroneously believe that Android comes from Google as a finished, productized version (it doesn't), and that it takes little effort to port vendor productization changes forward to new versions of Android (it doesn't), or that the vendors submit their productization changes back to mainline Android (some do, dome don't), or when vendors do submit productization changes back, Google incorporates them into the Android repo (they generally don't).

Gate #2: The carrier generally will not distribute an Android update for the primary reason that it would permit you to ride out your two year contract with up to date features, and they want to use the lack of up to date features to get you to opt for a new device every 18 months on a 24 month contract, which in turn locks you back to the carrier until the next 18 months have passed. The secondary reason for not doing it is that the device might not have enough capability to run the new version. The tertiary reason is that it would require expensive testing which would net them zero return on investment.

Basically this means that you have to test on every device before you let the app run on it, or you're going to look like you can't program when it fails on some device you haven't tested on.

I think one of the reasons Google bought Motorola Mobility was to erase reason #1; this is consistent with them putting the Android development under the same VP as the ChromeOS development, since it doesn't have these issues, but I believe it will be an uphill (with the hill being almost vertical) battle, if that was the intended consequence of the move.

The only way to erase #2 is to force the issue as part of the contract whereby Android is supplied to the devices, as a rider on the carrier contracts. This is an uphill battle for most carriers, both for the reasons already enumerated in #2, and the fact that it requires them to realize the revenue from the subsidy of the device at a different time than they currently do, as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley. They have to pick a different option under the FAS (Federal Accounting Standard).

Remember when Apple rolled out the 802.11n patch to iPhones, but there was a charge for iPods and iPads without a cellular modem? This was because they were using the same FAS rule that the carriers used on subsidized devices, which meant that they realized their profit on the subsidy over time, even thought it was paid up front. By doing this, they were able to add new device capability to carrier-connected devices because that didn't violate SOx, but would have been in violation of SOx if they had rolled the same capability out to non carrier-connected devices without charge.

It will be difficult to cause the carrier to change their FAS practices; the typical reaction in this case, to avoid having to do the same thing for all devices, is to create a separate company as a wholly owned subsidiary to operate under the separate FAS rules. AT&T has one of these, which they use to give false ANI information for telemarketers for plausible deniability by shunting them into a number block that is supposedly "reserved" by the subsidiary. The other carriers don't have the internal systems separation in order to be able to do this easily, and would have to do a lot of internal work to get to that point. So legally, the have one FAS choice to rule them all, and it's not the one that allows free updates to the firmware that add features, rather than simply fixing bugs.

In case you were wondering, their current FAS rule choice allows them to take the subsidy amount as a capitol loss, structure it as a debt, and charge themselves interest on the debt, with a tax write-down on the interest as an offsetting capitol loss in order to pay less taxes for the contract period, with a write-off at the end of the contract (early termination by the customer - for which they get penalty fees from the customer as well, 18 month early renewal termination, from which they can get a 25% write-off on the amount, or writedown of the full amount at the 2 year mark, if the customer then goes month to month or even renews the contract without getting a new device).

Gee (1)

virb67 (1771270) | about a year ago | (#43445009)

This "hacker" wouldn't actually be named Mark Zuckerberg, would he?

manifest (1)

hey (83763) | about a year ago | (#43445327)

Could just be a manifest change.

Facebook Homie Security Issue (1)

alreaud (2529304) | about a year ago | (#43445757)

How long has Facebook Home been out? A month? A few? Already it's been hacked in a big way. A false flag hack? Possibly, and wouldn't put it past the organization to be sly like that. Regardless the deal with Android appears to be that it's not a very secure OS already, and it doesn't bode well for security that Facebook Home took almost no time at all to get hacked in the wild. I wouldn't install that shit on my phone if they payed me and gave me a phone.

That leads to the question of why Android is so weak security-wise? I run different versions of Linux on different machines and it's very secure and Android is based on Linux, so why isn't it as secure? Reports say it has become the target of choice for bots, malware, and hackers. So whats up with that and why won't Google fix the security holes?

All I can think of is that between Google and Facebook, and their data-whoring, you may as well implant a RFID tag with remote control interface in your brain, and eliminate the need for carting around a device or wearing GG's...[rolleyes]

Re:Facebook Homie Security Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43446547)

That leads to the question of why Android is so weak security-wise? I run different versions of Linux on different machines and it's very secure and Android is based on Linux, so why isn't it as secure? Reports say it has become the target of choice for bots, malware, and hackers. So whats up with that and why won't Google fix the security holes?

No idea about Facebook Home, but for Android itself, the "security holes" are mostly that it allows apps to actually do things, like sending SMS messages, that the HypnoSteve says are bad.

Wrong hack! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43446047)

It seems like it would be more useful to hack it to be easier to turn on and off via the status bar.

Awesome! (1)

TheRealDevTrash (2849653) | about a year ago | (#43446157)

I can not wait!

Unix and Linux are hardware independent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43446797)

All operating systems that run on top of Unix, as all Apple's operating systems do, wll run on any computer, because Unix is hardware independent since its very beginning since 1970. Microsoft operating systems run on Intel Cpus only. As you can see, they have to put software locks to avoid changing hardware. Thats is why Unix and Linux rules today.

Hack it so it works nowhere ? (1)

stooo (2202012) | about a year ago | (#43447199)

wouldn't it be better to hack it so it doesn't work on a single platform ?

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