XBox Blackmail

Here’s an odd one: a group of Australian hackers are attempting to hold Microsoft hostage with respect to Linux on the XBox. They have cracked keys that will open up the box to pirated software, but if Microsoft will sign their Linux bootloader and allow it to be run on uncracked XBoxes, they won’t release their cracks. If MS fails to do so, they’ll release the cracks into the wild. Crazy stuff, including protecting their code with an EULA so that the Microsoft engineers that looked at it are bound by it – to dispute that is to dispute a core of how MS does business. Also, this practice of modding the XBox has apparently been ruled legal in Queensland, so unless some legal shenanigans can happen, these guys appear to be operating within the bounds of their local laws. Interesting to see how this plays out.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.