updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed July 25, 2007
iPhone Open Source Hacks
Coders working to break the iPhone's restrictions have successfully run open-source programs from the device, according to reports from the developers' #iPhone IRC channel. Recent efforts have built and executed several programs that can be easily compiled to run on the cellphone's ARM processor, including a functional Apache web server for hosting sites. More narrowly-focused tools such as the Python programming language, the vim text editor, and other small utilities are also functional and have been compiled into binaries that can be launched by knowledgeable users.
The development has also allowed the iPhone to work as a tethered modem providing EDGE access to an Intel-based Mac or Windows PC by running a proxy server on the iPhone that relays information to and from AT&T's EDGE network and a local Wi-Fi connection between the iPhone and a notebook or other Wi-Fi devices with the option of manual settings.
More has also been learned about the phone's approach to locking out non-AT&T service and SIM cards, according to channel members. Trying to change the code, which allows phone features only to work on an officially-sanctioned provider, is difficult as an attempt counter actively shuts down certain unlock techniques and is hard to track due to "odd behavior" on the part of the code, the team said.
While a potential barrier, the discovery helps reveal the mechanisms the #iPhone group says it will need break to unlock the phone for any carrier. The same participants were able to bypass activation in iTunes as of last week to provide all but phone service and have recently announced the existence of a streamlined Mac program, dubbed iActivator, which will perform the bypass procedure without requiring the computer expertise otherwise needed for the hack. (websites not linked due to traffic concerns)