GreenPois0n vs. Limera1n

To jailbreak or not to jailbreak — that is the question?

I, trying to be on the bleeding edge of technology, tend to take the risk of using early firmware, software revisions and hacks, before recommending them to readers and followers.

The latest iterations of iPhone unlocks to hit the streets are already causing much conversation amongst the iDevice community, and they haven’t even been out for a full 48 hours.

On Sunday, 10.10.10 at 10:10, the Chronic Dev Team was scheduled to release their jailbreak for iDevices, but out of the blue, George Hotz (GeoHot) preempted them with the release of his limera1n jailbreak.

Without going into a ton of back-end technical stuff, the limera1n jailbreak utilizes a separate exploit in Apple’s code than does greenpois0n. What that means is that, should Apple patch the limera1n hole, they may not get the greenpois0n vulnerability, allowing users to still jailbreak their devices (it gets hard to keep up with this stuff).

Both jailbreaks work with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the iPad; however, see below for the firmware revs each supports:

  • limera1n – use for iOS 4.0, 4.0.1, and 4.0.2 devices
  • greenpois0n – use for iOS 4.1 devices only

That being said, I have iOS 4.1 on my iPhone 4 and still tried limera1n yesterday, and NO, it did not work (I’m stubborn like that and still had to try).

With that failure behind me, I tried greenpois0n today. This is NOTHING like the PDF exploit that brought us the seamless mobile Safari jailbreak. With greenpois0n you have to manually activate DFU mode and then witness the unsettling linux boot screen scroll across your iDevice.

After what seemed liked 30, but was only 5 minutes, you’re presented with a blank white screen (scary stuff!!), but then you’re device comes up with a loader app installed, allowing you to move forward and load and configure Cydia.

So, after all the sweating and heartburn, it took me no more than 10 minutes to jailbreak with greenpois0n.

Note: at present, these jailbreaks only have a Windows installer, so if you don’t have a Microsoft system sitting around, you’ll want to wait until the Mac version is released. There are reports out there that you can run the jailbreak through a Mac with a Windows virtual instance — that didn’t work for me. I’ve got a MacBook running VMWare Fusion and a Windows 7 partition and the jailbreak would not complete; it just hung in DFU mode (go figure).

In summary folks, do this at your own risk. True, the technology and testing behind taking advantage of the various exploits within Apple’s iDevice security is pretty solid; however, going through the steps on a device that you may rely on for much, if not all, of your mobile and social communication could cause a bit of anxiety.

That disclaimer in place, if you are still inclined to jump into the land o’ jailbreak, you can get limera1n here and greenpois0n here.

Update: a linux installer was just released for greenpois0n.

James has been in the information technology field for nearly 20 years. He is the founder of HicksNewMedia, a technology consulting firm based in Northern California. He focuses on social media integration, cloud computing and yes, all things Apple (since… Full Bio