Linux's New Digs: The iPhone - InformationWeek

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12/2/2008
10:06 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Linux's New Digs: The iPhone

So now the latest iteration of the iPhone hasn't just been "jailbroken," it's snagged a visa to another country entirely. A project named OpeniBoot lets you boot Linux on the iPhone -- admittedly with little more than a command line, but for Linux that's more than enough to begin with.

So now the latest iteration of the iPhone hasn't just been "jailbroken," it's snagged a visa to another country entirely. A project named OpeniBoot lets you boot Linux on the iPhone -- admittedly with little more than a command line, but for Linux that's more than enough to begin with.

So why do this, especially when the iPhone (and iPod Touch, which this also runs on), have perfectly good operating systems as is? 1.) Because it's possible. I've long thought of running Linux on closed devices as something where the utility of the whole thing is in the doing of it -- you do it because you can do it, like climbing a mountain.

And, 2.), because it opens doors to things that the fine folks at Apple never imagined themselves. One the ideas being tossed around in the comments on the page above is dual-booting between the iPhone's native OS and the Linux-based Android OS -- the latter of which is far friendlier to third-party development. I don't believe for a second that Apple would ever legitimately allow Android to be used as the OS of choice on their hardware -- but then again, if you can run Windows through something like Parallels on the Mac, why not this?

I'm especially curious to see Apple's response to all this. At some point it has to accept the fact that its hardware is going to become fair game to a hacker somewhere. Maybe it's about time it started accepting such facts with a bit more grace.


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