updated 03:35 pm EST, Fri November 12, 2010
WP7 discovery shows jailbreaking possible
Efforts to jailbreak Windows Phone 7 and let it run unsigned apps took a large step forward today with the discovery by Australian programmer Chris Walshie of a file that would let code run without restrictions. After a finding of a Samsung network management app on Windows Marketplace that talked directly to the OS, enthusiasts found an unprotected InteropServices DLL file that didn't have to go through Silverlight like regular apps. Referring to the DLL would let phone owners sideload apps through the usual developer method but give the apps access to hardware functions that wouldn't be allowed otherwise.
The approach is currently mixed and doesn't yet allow sideloading to a phone for ordinary users. Apps themselves are also in an in-between state where they have the same native DLL use as a built-in app but still are running as "managed" code in WP7's point of view. Any unsigned titles will still likely to face limits that are beyond their control, such as being shut down by the OS to switch apps.
Like Apple, Google and others that use code signing for mobile apps, the limitations are officially to prevent malware attacks and remotely remove apps that might pose a risk or run afoul of the law. Microsoft also doesn't have multitasking and thus doesn't have a way to control memory use. Critics, however, have complained that such systems limit the possibility for apps and have taken to jailbreaking, or running unsigned apps, to get what they see as the full functionality of the phone.
Microsoft hasn't said whether or not it will clamp down on attempts to jailbreak, but most techniques exploit security holes that could be risks to normal users. [via istartedsomething]