Dec 20th, 2010

When the Nexus One launched, it took a mere three words typed into the appropriate command line to root the device. Those words were “fastboot oem unlock”. If this were something that was unintentional, not only would it have been patched in a firmware update within hours, it would have never made its way onto Google’s next Developer’s Phone the Nexus S.

But it did, and will only solidify Google’s loyalty to the openness of Android. You may counter with “If they love ‘open’ so much, why didn’t they just ship it with root enabled?”. Valid point but the truth in the matter is that some people just need that protection from themselves. And to posses the knowledge and drive to download the necessary tool and type in the appropriate words provides enough of a barrier that if a user does it, they did it intentionally and know what they are getting themselves in to.

One of the reasons behind the Nexus line is to give 3rd party modders easy access to the guts of the Android OS and see where they can take it, without having to resort to exploits. After all, the heart and soul of the open source world is driven by the outside world; the ones who are not paid to deliver, but do it for the joy and hope that their contributions can make the world a little better.

While security will always be a concern no matter what operating system you are on (and I mean this), it isn’t a reason to go “walled garden” by any means:

Android has a strong security strategy, backed by a solid implementation. By default, all Android applications are sandboxed from each other, helping to ensure that a malicious or buggy application cannot interfere with another. All applications are required to declare the permissions they use, ensuring the user is in control of the information they share. And yes, we aggressively fix known security holes, including those that can be used for rooting. Our peers in the security community have recognized our contribution to mobile security, and for that, we are extremely grateful.

Cry “Havoc!”, and let slip the dogs of war!

[via Android Developer’s Blog]