Take chains off, take rings off. Maemo is the MOP.
All jokes aside, I have come to the conclusion that Maemo is currently the most open mobile platform out of the “smartphone” contending OS list. The only platform that currently attempts to claim this, is Android.
Okay, so a slew of devices that do not ship with full level root access, aren’t able to get root access officially and require semi-serious hackery in order to get half-pants suid shells. Bringing old 2009-11 local kernel exploits in order to leverage a privilege escalation vulnerability? G1’s shipping with pipe redirections to a terminal running as root? If my face could fall off from laughing, it would.
How easy is it to get root on the Nokia N900? Install “rootsh” from the extras repository and type in “gainroot” or “root”. You’re now super user. You have unfettered device access. It's like running with scissors. So exhilarating.
How about an HTC Droid Eris? Find a locally (or remotely, good luck though) exploitable vulnerability, most likely from within the kernel, as Google has stripped down and replaced modules and a hectar-ton of binaries, using an x86 advisory – find PoC or fully functional code, port it over to ARM – including shellcode and required assembly, try to debug shellcode being jammed into a stack ON the device and then execute the payload. You can use many exploits that been patched or you can luck out with a simple race kernel priv-drop or a much more complicated kernel hole.
So, which would you rather futz around with? I’d rather be developing stuff for my device and enjoying it. Top props go to all the unofficial Android devs who are making the rooting happen, but it’s a real shame that Google doesn’t find a way to secure their platform and still provide “open access”.
If Maemo had a mascot, I’d insert the obligatory picture of an Android being smashed/eaten/peed on by it. This will have to do.