Skype iPhone application delivered some minor improvements and fixes, but the biggest update involves a new warning message directed at the owners of jailbroken iPhones. After launching the updated version of Skype (v 1.0.2), you'll see a message that reads "this version of Skype is only supported on unmodified iPhone OS." Why is Skype doing this?The latest update to the
Skype + Jailbreaks = Crashing
After the highly anticipated Skype application was released a couple of weeks ago, it quickly became one of the most popular applications in the iTunes App Store and has already been downloaded over 2 million times. However, for jailbroken iPhone owners, the Skype application was unstable, often freezing up and crashing on a regular basis.
The problem has to do with a jailbreak package called the "Mobile Substrate," reports the iPhone Hacks blog. This package is used by a number of jailbreak applications including Winterboard, Clipply, Lockdown, Five Icon Dock, and more. The solution is to download the latest update for the Mobile Substrate package which the developer and Cydia creator, Jay Freeman, has now released.
The Problem with Jailbreaking
It's apparent that Skype didn't want to be blamed for the problems that only affected the jailbreaking crowd. Since they obviously can't stop people from downloading or using their app, they put in the disclaimer to cover themselves from any complaints or liabilities.
This issue, however, highlights the problems of having the jailbreaking community underground and unsupported. Although the EFF is pushing the U.S. Copyright office to grant a DMCA exception so users can jailbreak their phones without fear of penalties, they have not yet been successful in doing so. If that was to pass, it would legitimize jailbreaking and that would mean iPhone developers would have to consider how their applications worked with the others outside of the App Store.
An issue like the one Skype had could possibly even have been discovered prior to launch by testing the app on jailbroken devices, then working with or simply alerting the developer of the app that caused the issues. But because jailbreaking is still considered this "naughty thing" some people do to their phones (instead of the incredible thing it really is), app developers don't have to test their apps or support apps running on the hacked devices. Is that OK? We guess that it is, considering the situation, but we're not happy about it.