Nokia handsets can be hacked too!

If, like me, you listen to the excellent Linux Outlaws podcast then you’ve probably heard about the CyanogenMod, an unofficial firmware for handsets running Google’s Android mobile OS. But did you know there are also firmware hacks for Symbian devices? There are, and perhaps the most famous is HelloOX2.

HelloOX2’s core mission is to circumvent the digital certificates or “signing” required by S60 3rd & 5th Edition apps. Depending on who you ask, Symbian Signed is either:

  • A stamp of quality
  • DRM
  • A Nokia/Symbian tax for developers

Because S60 is a closed OS, the only ways for a user to run unsigned apps are to (1) obtain a certificate and self-sign each one, or (2) hack their device with something like HelloOX2.

Now supposedly the HelloOX2 firmware would also give you the ability to run cracked, pirated software — but I’m not at all interested in that. My only reason for bringing it to your attention is so that you can at least consider whether or not you care to sample the fine work of indie developers who, for whatever reason, have elected to not get their apps signed.

To further demonstrate how confusing this issue of signing is, the HelloOX2 firmware must itself be signed before it can be installed on an S60/Symbian device. Since I had neither the time or the inclination to go the self-signing route, I made a PayPal donation of $5 USD for a signed copy. I got the link to my download about 15 hours after posting my payment, so don’t worry if you don’t get yours immediately.

I’ll be installing HelloOX2 on my new white Nokia N97 this afternoon. I won it in a contest run by the good folks at Qik, so it seems appropriate that I stream the installation live there. So load up my Qik page at 1:30pm Eastern time; once it’s done, I’ll embed it below…

Update: And here it is. The actual install was quite unremarkable, really — save for the bad audio, not helped by me trailing off (sorry about that):

So, um… now what do I do?


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