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May 30, 2008 / Marco

Do These Suggestions Improve the Status of Signing Symbian Applications?

Let me clarify a point outright: I’ve never been a fan of the currently used “Open Signed” mechanism. Serious inaccessibility issues which prevent the visually impaired from using the system aside, I don’t think it can really play a role in preventing viruses and malware apps from being installed on cell phones. First and foremost, S60 applications are installed only after receiving a few confirmatory actions on the part of users, meaning users are in full control of what gets installed and what doesn’t. Second, currently there are a good number of self-signing tools floating around the Symbian ecosystem as a consequence of the restrictions imposed by the current “Open Signed” approach. These tools can sign almost all unsigned applications whereas the “Symbian Signed” mechanism allows for the signing of a limited range of applications. At any rate, I just read this interesting article which makes an attempt to offer a solution to this issue. The fact that these suggestions make it easier for end users to get their applications signed or installed more rapidly is quite promising, but I’m not sure how in effect S60 bloggers and activists can ease today’s restrictions, as suggested in the article. In my opinion, application developers (especially those who produce free/non-commercial applications) must be allowed to get their applications signed both free of charge and without any third-party intervention. Just my two cents worth …

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