Although I dig the response from +mike smith
, I'll admit you've got a point here - but I think you may have stumbled onto something here by accident. The line is blurring between PCs and consumer appliances driven by microprocessors.
Recently I moved my Xbox 360 up from my basement because it is being remodeled. I hooked it up in my office to the HDMI port on a wide-screen LCD. When I powered it up and got to the Metro-style dashboard and saw Bing, Nextflix, Facebook, Twitter... I realized that with a keyboard, if there was a full-fledged browser and an e-mail client (although arguably, your XBox account IS a form of web based e-mail) - that the Xbox 360 could replace a traditional PC for MANY users.
Later on, I was in my living room, watching Netflix on my Samsung Blu-Ray player. When I exited, I thought to myself, "I haven't really checked out the Samsung App Store for this player". So I did. Twitter, Facebook, and other apps, including a web browser and games. Not only did I realize, "Wow, not only my iPad and my Transformer - nor my Xbox and my Wii, but even my Blu-Ray player," - they are all really potential PC replacements for the majority of PC related tasks many consumers do today.
So the line becomes blurred, and your question does have value. I've asked for an opinion on this in this thread, though - What IS the harm in having these devices easily hacked? How does it make them less suitable for other people? How does an unlocked bootloader make it more expensive to produce, or what other effects does it have? I don't think anyone has answered my questions. If I am informed and I acknowledge that hacking my TV's firmware, ROM and processor voids my warranty and may disable features - who is harmed by that action? If I want to softmod my original Xbox - what is the problem? Honestly, who is soft-modding original Xbox consoles to pirate GAMES at this point? They're doing so to enhance FEATURES and increase lifecycle on a platform that would otherwise be wasting in basements and landfills.
Isn't that REALLY where the harm comes from? Consumers who can do something like soft-modding their Xbox extend
the useful life of that device, causing a disruption of the artificial
life-cycle that vendors and manufacturers want to enforce on those products. The harm is to corporate profits - not to end-users. The harm isn't caused by "bypassing security measures"
. The harm is caused by users empowering themselves to utilize their own hardware to its limits - rather than the arbitrary and unnaturally low limits that vendors have designed into their devices.
Ultimately, I think you argument deserves consideration here - but I think that allowing users to access their devices in the way they see fit is still the best policy. Locking them down and making it illegal to get around those locks only serves the interests of corporations and corporate profits. The supposed "end-user benefits" seem dubious, at best.
Sorry for the long response. I hope you had the patience to read it all.