Mozilla has thrown its support behind the Electronic Frontier Foundation's push to have the U.S. Copyright Office allow iPhone jailbreaking.
CEO John Lilly told Computerworld that "choice is good for users, and choice shouldn't be criminalized," in light of the dispute between the EFF and Apple over whether or not iPhone jailbreaking--the practice of modifying an iPhone to accept software from sources other than Apple--is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Last week Apple declared that jailbreaking an iPhone violates Apple's copyright and can cause all sorts of technical problems for the user in response to a petition from the EFF that iPhone jailbreaking be given a DMCA exemption.
Lilly's motivation would seem pretty clear: a version of the Firefox mobile browser, Fennec, for the iPhone. However, Lilly told Computerworld that he wasn't sure Mozilla would ever want to develop an iPhone version of Fennec even if Apple was forced to open up the iPhone. Apple offers Web browser alternatives to the default Safari browser in the App Store, but they aren't true alternatives since they are all required to use the Webkit rendering engine used in Safari.
"Given the choice, would we work on a platform where the sole company controlling it makes us unwelcome, or would we work on a platform, like Linux, where we are welcome? The answer is going to be easy for us," Lilly told Computerworld.
Two other software developers joined Mozilla in supporting the EFF's petition: Skype and Cydia. Cydia is exactly the piece of software that Apple railed against in its response to the EFF's petition, as it lets iPhone owners install applications from any source, rather than just the App Store. In his remarks submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office, Jay Freeman of Saurik, Cydia's developer, said "Cydia is now installed on 1.6 million devices worldwide, at least a quarter of which are within the United States."