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Tony Mobily [opinions]

Android phones need to give root access. Now!

I wanted to make an impression with my title. I hope I managed. I am writing this article as Gingerbreak's wheel spins aimlessly runs on my Galaxy S phone. I have little hope that I will actually be root on my phone. Here I am: I intended to write an article about Busybox, in order to turn an Android phone into something that really resembled a GNU/Linux system. I failed, twice: as a user, I failed gaining control of my own phone. As a free software advocate, I failed warning people about what could have happened -- and indeed I let it happen.

Android devices need to give users the choice of booting as "root". I bought this phone, it's mine, and I absolutely have to be free to do whatever I like with it.

I don't want to have to install a custom ROM. I don't want to go through complicated procedures, commands, etc. I don't want to install the Android Developers Kit. I want to click on a button, have a disclaimer, say "yes", and be the master of my own ship.

Android has recently bought Motorola. It was a huge step: Google is now, officially, a hardware manufacturer. They are blessed by being in a unique position.

I realise I can't expect much from a company that is, after all, hostile to free software (where is my filter to only view software that is truly free in the Android market?). But, I hope I can at least expect to be able to use the device they will sell me.

I won't give up without a good fight.

(If you want to know, the Gingerbreak wheel is still spinning, and I doubt the rooting will be successful)


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