Owners of Sony‘s newest family of devices – the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact have banded together to offer a bounty for a developer to obtain root access to their devices through the XDA-Developers forum.
Having root access on your device is nice, but in recent years it’s become less important as manufacturers and even Google implement features which have historically required root access. There are definitely still legitimate reasons for having root (getting double-tap-to-wake working on the Nexus 6 is one) but there’s a number of risk and reward considerations.
At the time of writing, the bounty value currently stands at a little over $2700 … in “some” currency. It’s quite a sweetener… or is it? We’ve spoken to a couple of developers about the bounties and found some skepticism, mainly surrounding the balance of effort vs reward. There’s quite an effort which can go into achieving root on a device, or in this case a series of devices and issues with bounties for root access are two-fold.
Firstly, there’s a possibility that a developer could spend a considerable amount of time gaining root access, only to be pipped at the last minute by another developer who achieves root faster and claims the pot.
Secondly, there’s an organisation issue around payment. Getting paid for achieving root access to a device could be more complicated than actually doing it.
There’s no guarantee that everyone who pledges will pay up and no real centralised way to arrange payment of the bounty. This isn’t Kickstarter or IndieGoGo – even XDA says that payment is to be sorted out “between each member and the bounty collector via PM on an individual basis”. We’ve been told that it’s not unheard of for only 20% of people pledging to pay up. Looking down the list, people add caveats like deadlines, and exchange rates from different currencies as well as new crypto-currencies like Bitcoin muddy the waters as to exactly how much money is on offer.
Many developers with the skills required just don’t seem interested in these bounties, most saying they’d do it just for the challenge and the fact they like the device enough to care.
Still, if you think it will help, head over to XDA and pledge.
Would you pledge money to encourage a developer to unlock your phone? How much would you pay? Tell us in the comments!