Forbes has an article about how 7 millions phones have been jailbroken. It's got a video with the typical freaky long-haired geek whose handle is @Saurik explaining how to jailbreak your phone and justifying it by showing all the neat little thingies you can do with it, like jumble your icons.
Seven million. Or maybe it's already 10 million by now! But some people have multiple phones.
Seven million. That's the number of people who signed the Google-orchestrated anti-SOPA petition. But some people used bots and alts and proxies to jack up the signature numbers which Ars Technica would be the last to admit. Sure, beyond Google, there were maybe a half million or something more.
But let's call it seven million for jailbreaks and anti-SOPA today. That's the operative number for the active geek population today in America.
So is this number stabilizing now? Or is this population a growing threat to society and the rule of law with its ethics-free hacking or the justification of same by power users?
Is it, as one man says in the comments, that "we are all" becoming a little bit geeky and more people jailbreak their phones even if not geeks. Or is it really mainly the core of the geek population?
Given the deplorable state of education in this country and the lagging behind of other industrial nations in STEM, I think likely that number is stabilizing, and only increased through immigration, which is indeed a good reason to encourage entrepreneurial visas and the rest in immigration reform.
What effect will this have on the stability of society in general?
In theory, if there was good will and ethics (there aren't), what Tim Berners-Lee prescribes (no angel he) would work to mitigate the Internet of Things:
“The right to have root on your machine is the right to store things which operate on your behalf,” Tim Berners-Lee told the audience at a Linux conference in Australia last month. Without that right, the creator of the world wide web contends, users are subject to agendas they can neither control or, in many cases, even be aware of. He acknowledges the need to devise better security protocols to make sure that users with such access do not inadvertantly instal malicious code, but it is clear that he sees this as a smaller threat than that of the ubiquitous opacity. Linux is the language of Android, so clearly his remarks were addressed to Apple. Why couldn’t root access be an expert setting for iOS? Only the geeks will use it anyway.
In other words, if you, instead of a proprietary company can completely control your gadget, they can't control/watch/modify you etc.
But, even so, it means being under the control of code and coders and their lack of ethics, amply demonstrated everywhere. That is, if to jailbreak your phone you need to go get something like RedSn0w, or then install Cydia aps, or get hooked up to other websites and services you are still in the hands of coders and code-as-law.
Where will it stop?
Oh, as you can see from this screenshot I found on Flickr, what this is all about is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Surprise, surprise! They're happy to stick it to the man and harass Apple by inciting jailbreaking, which people endlessly argue about being legal or illegal.
Cydia was a bit secretive in this interview. Scoble asked three times for a website address. They wouldn't give one. Why? Well, because it doesn't really describe much about jailbreaking or this company, says Saurik. He has just hired a community manager, which makes it sound like a company! But he admits the company really just consists of him and her, and, as he says, a vague network of "other people working on other things".
Why, so secret, Saurik? Both he and his community manager (who stays humbly in the background while Saurik pontificates although Scoble does his damnedest to try to include her as a woman in the conversation) claim that jailbreaking causes no harm and doesn't de-stabilize your phone. Oh, watch out when you upgrade the OS as you could lose all those cool aps.
The website is indeed ultra-spare. I guess what you have to do is hit up Saurik on Twitter, where as an ancient oldbie (like me on @Prokofy lol), he has 330,000 plus followers (I only have like 2000 lol, but then, I don't jailbreak phones or code cool aps!).
Or...maybe not. Saurik says he gets so many replies that he physically can't even scroll through them! Well there's (finally, as he says) his website.
But mainly his work and customer support for his aps has been on Twitter.
So...jailbreaking and the aps you can then add with it is...one of those things where you have to hunt around a little and find a guy who knows a guy or go in the IRC channel or Google around links to you get it eventually.
Would you rather have your phone under control by a company that has customer service, stores with customer service agents in real life, a board of trustees, fiscal responsibility, financial reports, stock, etc. etc. Or would you rather have your phone jailbroken and entrusted to nested variants of various shadowy aps made by people with nicknames that might or might not see your tweet? And do whatever with your information?
That really is the question. The geeks NEVER put it that way. They just assume that *as* geeks, they will jailbreak, control the actions of other geeks through peer-to-peer pressure, and that's it.
But the rest of us who don't want to bother to fish around in roots and whatnot will be at their mercy. And then it really is a question of trusting them or Apple. They don't trust Apple. We do. That's why they have two people in their company, and Apple has thousands.
h/t Robert Scoble who did the interview featured on the Forbes article and whose Facebook feed is where I picked up the Forbes story -- and all of this is actually stuck on something called Newsle which is tracking every article and share...