T-Mobile has released its official response to the G2 "rootkit" controversy with a very short press release. It doesn't really say anything the development community hasn't already figured out -- the G2 was built in a way that provides a safety rollback in case the system gets corrupted. The response does state that it's a software issue, and the buck was passed along to HTC. You can read the mini-presser after the break, but one question I feel a need to ask -- if the "subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level" is so small, why spend the money to prevent them from owning the hardware they paid $499.99 plus taxes for?
In the interest of being fair and balanced (and a little smarmy) I'll also present the response of one highly respected member of the Android development community:
Seriously, @HTC @TMobile your little G2 "omg no hackers" thing is a joke, we're very close. Just need kernel source, GPL ring a bell?
The G2 is a great phone. In fact, I think it's the best Android phone I've ever used. T-Mobile customer care went above and beyond to help me get everything switched over. Don't make me regret buying it. [T-Mobile, @ChrisSoyars]
Code Level Modifications to the G2
Bellevue, Wash. — Oct. 7, 2010 As pioneers in Android-powered mobile devices, T-Mobile and HTC strive to support innovation. The T-Mobile G2 is a powerful and highly customizable Android-powered smartphone, which customers can personalize and make their own, from the look of their home screen to adding their favorite applications and more.
The HTC software implementation on the G2 stores some components in read-only memory as a security measure to prevent key operating system software from becoming corrupted and rendering the device inoperable. There is a small subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level, known as “rooting,” but a side effect of HTC’s security measure is that these modifications are temporary and cannot be saved to permanent memory. As a result the original code is restored.