07/20/2009, 08:09 AM
There's no such thing as "rooting your Pre". The Pre already runs Linux, already has a root user enabled in the password file from the factory, and already runs all applications as that root user. So your Pre already comes "rooted" out of the factory direct from Palm.
What most people (for some reason, maybe because they've been brainwashed by the closed nature of the Apple iPhone) refer to as "rooting your Pre" is simply accessing the built-in Linux operating system. This can be done by using the official Palm SDK and the "novaterm" program included with the SDK. Before the SDK was released, it was more difficult to access Linux. Now that the SDK is no longer under an NDA, it is easy to do (Palm even provide you with instructions on how to do it on their web site).
Now, what you do when you have achieved access to the Linux operating system on the Pre is up to you.
You can install an SSH daemon, and use that to enable you to access the Linux operating system on your Pre using your wifi or cellular connection instead of being tied to a USB cable. Note that the Pre Emulator already has the same SSH daemon pre-installed, so we're not doing anything here that Palm doesn't already expect developers to use.
You can install the Optware package manager (ipkg-opt) and use it to install over 1300 Linux utilities and command-line applications that have been specifically compiled to run on the Pre. These are installed in /opt, a directory that has been confirmed with the Senior Director of Core OS Software at Palm to not conflict with anything that Palm provides.
You can use the 'quilt' program to install modifications to the standard Palm applications, providing you with new features (and unlocking some features that Palm had already coded but for some reason didn't enable in the first webOS release). You can use 'quilt' to automatically remove all these modifications before you do an OTA update, and automatically reapply them all afterwards.
Or you can simply use it once to install any services that need to be installed as root outside of the /var filesystem (as the org.webosinternals.services package currently does, and as any replacement that can run shell commands will almost certainly need to as well), and then rely on the palm-install command that comes with the SDK to install any applications that depends on those services.
Accessing the Linux operating system does not change your Pre in any way.
It's the things that you install (e.g. the SSH daemon, the Optware package manager, or the shell command access service) that are the lasting effect of your actions. And even those things can be easily reverted by using the webOS Doctor to reflash your Pre.
So be bold, use the SDK that Palm has provided to access the underlying Linux operating system that drives your Pre, and don't listen to people who try and make others believe that there is something dangerous or "against the wishes of Palm" involved here by using terminology (such as "rooting your Pre") that really is only relevant to a closed device like the iPhone, not an open device like the Pre.
Instructions for how to do all the fantastic things I mentioned above can be found on the new WebOS Internals wiki (which replaces the old wiki at predev.wikidot.com) at http://www.webos-internals.org ...