Motorola locks down Android

A Millstone indeed

ACCORDING TO the MWC 2010 Milestone awareness campaign, Motorola has taken a step back into the dark ages. A step that might just be a violation of its license agreements.

The benefits to a service provider for using Android are numerous, including such perks as a share of the ad revenue from Google.  The benefits to the user, that human being thingy on the other end of the purchase, include a wide range of apps and the ability to modify the public code to their own needs.  Pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing.

However, the fly in the ointment is that Motorola has locked down the bootload process with a known to only it in the Motorola company digital signature. This is the kind of behavior we expect from Microsoft, so why is Motorola taking one step forward and two back? Even its tech support seemed to have difficulties understanding the problem when users brought it to their attention. The solution? Purchase a Milestone Development phone, which isn’t available.

“For whatever reason and without telling anybody Motorola decided to depart from this approach and started to deploy a technique which is generally known as Tivoization. Tivoization means that each and every Linux file on the Milestone is protected with a secret digital signature that is only known to Motorola itself, effectively preventing any modification to the Milestone Linux system by anyone but Motorola.”

This is a problem but what is more worrisome is that Motorola advertises the Milestone device as being open source. We wonder how long it will be until someone files an FTC complaint for false advertising?

More details can be found here.

If you’re set on getting a Motorola Android phone we’d recommend you stick with the Droid until they get rid of this evident millstone.We won’t say more than that.S|A

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