System Overlord

A blog about security engineering, research, and general hacking.

iPhone Lawsuit: What are they thinking?

For anyone who knows me, they know I'm all for Open platforms and open source. So it probably comes as a surprise to hear me supporting Apple when they're being sued over bricked iPhones. But I am.

When a customer buys an iPhone, they AGREE not to attempt to modify it. The warranty SPECIFICALLY excludes modifications, as does the software EULA. They also agree to a 2-year contract with AT&T.

Apple does not have a monopoly on the smart phone market, so this hardly amounts to an anti-competitive practice. You can buy a Treo, or any number of Windows Mobile devices, or even the upcoming Neo 1973.

These people make a mockery of the American civil courts system. Essentially, they agree to a contract, knowing the terms of the contract, and then they run to the courts asking them to invalidate the contract.  Perhaps some people are just too stupid to own an iPhone.  I hope they get kicked out of the courtroom with nothing but a bill for Apple's attorneys.

Comcast's Torrent Filtering: Criminal Acts?

According to an article on, the manner in which Comcast is filtering BitTorrent traffic may, in fact, be criminal.  Comcast is sending forged RST (reset) packets to the end-user, which may qualify as impersonating with the intent to profit.  (Criminal Impersonation in the 2nd Degree).  Whether or not this plays out in court remains to be seen.

Windows Vista = BSoD

My brother just got a new HP notebook computer running (what else) Windows Vista. (Home Premium, if anyone cares.)  He was forced into the purchase after his previous notebook (and only computer) crashed on Sunday.  Within the first 24 hours of use, Windows Vista had already presented him with the infamous Blue Screen of Death.  Despite all of Microsoft's best efforts, it would seem that Windows Vista (running on Vista-certified hardware) still has stability issues.

He's since obtained a copy of the AMD64 build of Ubuntu Linux from me.  Seems like a decent solution to me.

AOL and KaZaA to blame for file sharing?

While I think that the RIAA lawsuits over filesharing are downright despicable, I also think that the Santangelo family really needs a reality check here.  According to this arstechnica article, they are alleging that the makers of KaZaA and AOL, their ISP at the time, are partly culpable for their file sharing.  They allege that Sharman Networks failed to warn them that using the application could allow them to violate the law and that AOL did not block the infringement.

Pirated Software -- A problem for Free Software

According to ZD Net, Free Software (Linux et al.) may need to be worried about pirated copies of commercial software.  Apparently your average user would prefer to run an illegally obtained copy of a commercial application than run legitimately free software.  There's an interesting discussion on this here.  My thinking: it doesn't matter.  Linux isn't terribly concerned (yet) about home market share: the business place is where it really excels.  The lack of games and completely legal MP3/DVD/etc. implementations is a bigger hindrance to Linux at home than the availability of pirated copies of Windows.