When the iPod nano 2G was was released late 2006, the first thing we found out was that the firmware was encrypted. Past generations of iPod had unencrypted firmwares/bootloaders that we were able to more or less dump and reverse engineer and eventually understand enough to port iPodLinux to, but this time around, Apple wasn’t so nice. And so went on a long period where no one had made any progress on the platform. In the meanwhile, a few (misguided) users decided that the best way to hack the encrypted iPod nano 2G would be to try to brute force crack the encryption. Except that 128-bit AES is far from brute-forceable even by the most powerful mainframes of today, let alone by a small handful of basement PCs. But of course that didn’t stop them from trying.
During this time, the iPL forums was being spammed daily with “when is iPod nano 2G support going to come?”, “wtf are you lazy iPL devs doing?”, and other general rudeness. While most of these threads were ignored/locked/spam-bin’d, one particular rage thread lead to some surprisingly good discussion/points of views from longterm contributors of the project. To me, it painted a disturbingly accurate picture of the different mindsets of developers, contributors, and users. Here are some interesting snippets from the thread:
iPodLinux forums: http://ipl.derpapst.org/oldforums/viewtopic.php?t=29749