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  1.    #1  
    In the interest of maintaining good homebrew application installation, non-interference, and security standards, I recently paid $14.95 to gain access to the commercial version of MyTether for the purpose of doing a review of it's installation practices, interference with other unrelated webOS functions, and overall security, and giving feedback on those aspects to the author with the hope that any discrepancies can be corrected before the next public release.

    Please note that this is a review of the installation, non-interference, and security of MyTether only. I intentionally make no comment about any other aspects of the application itself or the way that it is distributed or sold, or it's relationship with cellular carriers, and would prefer that this thread is not used to discuss the various viewpoints held about those other aspects of MyTether. There are plenty of other threads where you can voice your opinion on those matters.

    In my opinion, the importance of making sure that every homebrew application is using best practices for correct installation and safe removal, non-interference with unrelated webOS functionality, and general security, outweighs any other considerations about the functionality or distribution of the particular application itself. "First, do no harm".

    As you may know, previous versions of MyTether up to and including 2.0.x installed a service directly using the Palm ipkg database in /usr/lib/ipkg (the same database that Palm uses to manage the built-in webOS operating system files during the initial installation and subsequent OTA updates).

    This is not in line with best practices for homebrew installations, and is generally considered to be a contributing factor to the recurring OTA update syndrome.

    I can report that Aonic has accepted my suggestions regarding the installation techniques and in version 2.1.0 of MyTether has changed his installation method to use the ipkg database in /media/cryptofs/apps/usr/lib/ipkg (the same ipkg database used by other homebrew installers), and to use standard post-install and pre-remove scripts to safely install and remove non-colliding filenames in the root partition.

    This means that the underlying installation techniques used by MyTether are now done in the same manner as all the other services and plugins from various homebrew authors including WebOS Internals, Canuck Software, Vertigo Studios, TheBitGuru.com and others, according to best practices developed by WebOS Internals for homebrew packaging standards.

    Aonic has also accepted my suggestions regarding the upstart script and java service filename, which also brings MyTether in line with the best practices for naming, starting and stopping services. This should remove the possibility of "service respawn storms" which are considered to be a contributing factor to device freezes in certain circumstances.

    Previous versions of MyTether also interfered with unrelated webOS functions, such as the camera and SDL games.

    I can now report that the version 2.1.0 of MyTether that I reviewed no longer interferes with other unrelated webOS functions. The camera and SDL games operate correctly when MyTether wifi operations are enabled.

    I have also done an initial visual scan of the security of the MyTether service from the point of view of whether a rogue webOS application could use the service to gain root privileges on the device (this is a common mistake made by service authors trying to bridge the gap between webOS and the underlying Linux operating system).

    On this matter, I was not 100% comfortable that the service is calling shell scripts without explicitly sanitising the input given to the service, but the author proved to me that trivial attacks on the service were not successful in the manner that I had suspected. More investigation is needed by some of our security experts in WebOS Internals before I will be 100% comfortable, but it's certainly not trivially vulnerable.

    So, in summary, again with regard specifically to the installation, non-interference, and security aspects of MyTether, it seems that version 2.1.0 has now reached the point where it should safely install and uninstall in accordance with homebrew best practices, not interfere with other unrelated webOS functions, and not trivially compromise the security of the device.

    Again, I intentionally make no comment about any other aspects of the application itself or the way that it is distributed or sold, or it's relationship with cellular carriers, and would prefer that this thread is not used to discuss the various viewpoints held about those other aspects of MyTether.

    -- Rod
    WebOS Internals and Preware Founder and Developer
    You may wish to donate by Paypal to donations @ webos-internals.org if you find our work useful.
    All donations go back into development.
    www.webos-internals.org twitter.com/webosinternals facebook.com/webosinternals
  2. #2  
    This is greatly appreciated. Last week I pretty much gave up on My Tether, uninstalled it and installed MHS with Jason's patch. It's nice to know I have an option if that doesn't quite work as I would like. However, one question: in the past, OTA OS updates have broken My Tether every time. Can you comment on the likelihood that the same will happen with the next one, in comparison to the MHS/freetetherd/patch approach? And secondly, although I do not have the new My Tether installed, would there be complications if both apps are installed at the same time?
  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    This is greatly appreciated. Last week I pretty much gave up on My Tether, uninstalled it and installed MHS with Jason's patch. It's nice to know I have an option if that doesn't quite work as I would like. However, one question: in the past, OTA OS updates have broken My Tether every time. Can you comment on the likelihood that the same will happen with the next one, in comparison to the MHS/freetetherd/patch approach? And secondly, although I do not have the new My Tether installed, would there be complications if both apps are installed at the same time?
    What I can say is that irrespective of whether an OTA update affects the functionality of MyTether or not, it will now be able to be safely uninstalled due to it now using homebrew installation best practices.

    I would not recommend using two different tethering solutions at the same time. They are likely to conflict.

    -- Rod
    WebOS Internals and Preware Founder and Developer
    You may wish to donate by Paypal to donations @ webos-internals.org if you find our work useful.
    All donations go back into development.
    www.webos-internals.org twitter.com/webosinternals facebook.com/webosinternals
  4. #4  
    Excellent write-up. I'm pleased to hear that mytether sounds like it has come a long way. Are there any efforts from the internals group on making their own tethering solution? Even with these improvements, I'd prefer to use more open software given the depth of the functionality of this code.
  5. #5  
    I'm glad somebody cares about this enough to do the vetting for us.
  6. PiroAR's Avatar
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    #6  
    Thank you very much for the time you put into this. I had given up on the app as well. Now I see hope!
  7. #7  
    Thank you Rod, your review is thoughtful, balanced and once again represents the intelligence we have come to rely on you to provide, with maturity and professionalisme.

    May I just say, once again, I for one am so glad you are a part of this community.
  8. #8  
    Rod, thank you for this review. I had been using MyTether (I had donated, and it had worked quite well) when it first came out, but when it got to the point that it broke the camera and caused other problems, I had given up on it. Its good to know that I can go back to it should I ever have the need, especially since I have already "paid" for it, and not worry about things getting screwed up.

    Honestly I don't know what the Palm community would do without webOS internals guys and especially Rod. I think the next time any user of any other smartphone asks what does the Pre have that my xyz doesn't, we all need to simply respond "Rod Whitby".
  9. #9  
    Thank you for your efforts Rod. Much appreciated.
  10. #10  
    Rod, thanks for taking the initiative to work with Raja and to set him on a more cooperative course with the remaining WebOS community.
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  11. #11  
    Rod, just putting in my explicit thanks because sometimes that 'thanks' button isn't enough.
  12. #12  
    Very nice to know... if (probably when) MHS is rendered inoperable by Sprint/Palm, it's good to know there is a stable alternative available.

    Also very nice to see the different "branches" of the homebrew community setting aside differences to come together and ensure the products available are safe for all.
    Follow me on teh Twitterz
  13. #13  
    Rod, thank you again for helping me catch up to the latest best practices and testing my changes to the installation process. In the fast moving world of WebOS it can be difficult to stay updated on all the latest developments and findings.

    As the name WebOS Internals might suggest, Rod not only did surface checks of the My Tether installation and code-base, but he also went deep into the internals to find any issues or conflicts with the recommended best practices.

    And as a note to everyone else, I'll be continuing to mature My Tether, and do my best to keep it working as promised with new WebOS updates and any attempts to stop non-subscription tethering functionality. I've also started taking My Tether development and support more seriously by incorporating my own development practices and keeping better documentation of bugs, fixes, UI, and code revisions.
    My Tether - version 2.1.0 now live. No patching, no ad-hoc, more features!
  14. bakerja's Avatar
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    #14  
    Can you feel the love!!!
  15. #15  
    This is why i love my pre & this community. Great work to Rod, Webos-Internals, & Aonic. Thank you.
  16. cujoe's Avatar
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    #16  
    i can feel the love as well :P Thx Rob... i now feel super comfortable with installing the latest Beta of my Tether. I too gave up when it started breaking the camera. Having to install a patch to use wifi made me very uncomfortable, so your assurance means alot. Also wow, had no idea the donation price went up to 14.95. I wonder why he didn't ask for 15 bucks... like .. why would you want all that change .. haha. Thx again.
  17. Maturin's Avatar
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    #17  
    Thanks Rod and aonic for working together on this. You guys put the good of the community ahead of your personal projects.
  18. #18  
    Lol, if only you had accepted my multiple offers to help, rather than publicly ridiculing the idea, we might have had a proper installing MyTether months ago, lol.


    In all seriousness, I am extremely glad MyTether is shaping up. It's obvious v2.1.0 is a large milestone from previous versions. And I must say it's a version I'm excited about and will probably buy one I get a Pre on a carrier.

    Best of luck to Aonic and MyTether for the future.
    If you've liked my software, please consider to towards future development.

    Developer of many apps such as: WebOS Quick Install, WebOS Theme Builder, Ipk Packager, Unified Diff Creator, Internalz Pro, ComicShelf HD, LED Torch, over 70 patches and more.

    @JayCanuck @CanuckCoding Facebook
  19. cdjh's Avatar
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    #19  
    Rod,

    can I just say, you are awesome. I've read many of your posts around this forum and I think you are one of the most professional and trustworthy people I've come across in an environment like this. The community is lucky to have you. Thanks for this and all you do for us. If you ever find yourself around wisconsin, your first beer is on me!

    sorry for going off topic, but lets hear it for this guy, huh
  20. #20  
    Thanks!
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