Author Topic: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown  (Read 25729 times)

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Offline critor

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New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« on: October 13, 2013, 10:16:47 am »
Last night, new TI-Nspire 3.6 OS files were found on TI servers.

The complete version number is 3.6.0.543, and it was built on Sept. 11th, 2013.

The OS is available for :
  • TI-Nspire
  • TI-Nspire CAS
  • TI-Nspire CX
  • TI-Nspire CX CAS
Let’s notice that we couldn’t find any release for the chinese TI-Nspire CM, which already skipped OS 3.2.4. Are those models discontinued?

The TI-84+SE version for TI-Nspire calculators remains the same 2.56MP.

This OS sets the minimum installable version to itself (3.6.0.546) and thus forbids any possibility of going back to any prior version - which is actually counter-productive since several bugs were found in the recent releases that weren't there before, in versions that worked better….

The OS does include Boot2 3.2.4 for the TI-Nspire CX and Boot2 3.0.1 for the TI-Nspire ClickPad/TouchPad.

Let's note that there is a new quite evil protection. The OS installation files contain new ‘manifest' files with the signed list of all files included and their signatures ! As a result, it is impossible to make any changes to these files: they can not be deleted or replaced.

As a result, it becomes impossible to use our TNOC utility to remove the useless Boot2 in 99% of cases and furthermore harmful, as well as sample files.
This means in practice that if you install the OS 3.6, the available space on your TI-Nspire ClickPad / TouchPad, for example, will drop to 14.3 Mo, and the update to nLaunch-incompatible Boot2 is mandatory.

Remember that at the time of the OS 3.0, the update to the 3.0 boot2 could destroy your TI-Nspire ClickPad / TouchPad, and TNOC helped limiting damage and therefore the number of calculators exchange for Texas Instruments. Such an attack against the tool, ignoring the past, is not acceptable.

If you remove the Boot2 from the 3.6 OS file, the system will devilishly pretend to function normally at first. But after the first start, it will change the minimum installable version to 3.6.0.546 and will self-destruct, reporting a discrepency in the RS232 log visible here. You are now condemned to stay with an unusable calculator until you accept to install the original version of the file OS 3.6, now the only accepted version. :banghead:

The home screen directly indicates the availability of the CAS engine, allowing a quick check during exams that forbid it:


We can also notice the new designs of the main calculator application, graphs, spreadsheet and Vernier :



Changes on the Lua scripting side will be detailed later.


We therefore do not recommend installing the OS 3.6 if you've got a monochrome TI-Nspire, or a TI-Nspire CX still running a nice 3.2.3 release or earlier. We may find a software-way to use the 3.6 OS in a controlled manner from these versions. But if the OS 3.6 is installed the normal way, that is to say, with all its protections, it will remain uncontrollable and going back will be very difficult because it will require external hardware, or may actually be impossible in the current state of our knowledge.


Source: (and downloads...)
http://tiplanet.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13206&lang=en
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 10:28:01 am by critor »
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Offline Streetwalrus

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 10:21:34 am »
* Streetwalker grabs shotgun and waits patiently for next lockdown
Also since we have Nlaunch we could patch out this new restriction. First true use of it's powerfulness ! :D
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 10:23:03 am by Streetwalker »
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Offline ElementCoder

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 10:25:54 am »
* ElementCoder joins Streetwalker
Well look at that. I wasn't surprised to find new protection stuff but I am surprised by how far they have gone this time.

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Offline critor

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 10:26:30 am »
Yes, but only *before* installing OS 3.6.

There is no software way of going back if you've allready installed OS 3.6 - you won't be able to install Nlaunch anymore.


Note: for the moment, Nlaunch doesn't support OS 3.6.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 10:27:37 am by critor »
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Offline Roondak

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2013, 11:55:06 am »
I hope ndless 3.2 is coming along well.

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2013, 12:01:27 pm »
Don't wonder why the TI-Nspire development community went the same route as the 68K community did. TI has pretty much done everything to discourage people from continuing developing for that platform. Granted, the Z80 community has slowed down in recent years, but nowhere as bad as the Nspire one.

1) C/ASM devs face the constant possibility of seeing their audience shrink due to fewer and fewer Ndless-compatible calcs coming out
2) C/ASM devs are forced to update their game everytime a new Ndless version comes out. For example, Ndless 1.1 games will not run under Ndless 3.0.
3) Older Lua games and programs made for older OSes have risks of stopping working in future OS releases, while ones made for newer OSes won't run on OS 3.1.
4) Competition from more powerful, cheaper and open platforms
5) Teachers in United States forcing students to upgrade to OS 3.6 in order to be allowed to use their calc in class or exams.
6) And it seems to get worse, as TI leaked two OSes adding different anti-downgrade protections within less than a year.
7) Higher risks of bricking your TI-Nspire by hacking it for Ndless/Nlaunch compatibility than any other platform.

Currently, there are only two TI-Nspire developer left besides the Ndless/TNOC/nLaunchy team: Jens_K (Minecraft 2D) and Jwalker (WZGlib). And even with an Ndless 3.2 compatible with OS 3.2.4, many people will still be stuck with OS 3.6 and by the time an Ndless 3.6 arrives (in a year or two?), new OSes that adds further protections will have come out. The only way for the Nspire community to survive would be if Ndless versions compatible with the latest OS came out only a few days after the said OS, which is impossible.

Considering people pay for that platform, but that TI is removing all freedom from their users and especially the fact that they blocked Linux, I wonder if anonymous could eventually get involved like they did with Sony a few years ago? One problem is that the majority of Nspire owners could care less about Linux and Ndless, but the new OSes have extra bugs and quirks that could make some people want to choose, which TI is preventing them to do, and the fact that they are blocking Linux can be seen as an outrage by many people from the open-source community.

I still recommend to anyone who can to get an alternate calc instead or switch to a school that lets you choose. There are many other good choices, such as the TI-84 Plus series (including the new color model), the TI-89 Titanium, Casio FX-cg10/20 (PRIZM), HP 50g (lacks color too), HP Prime. I wouldn't recommend the ClassPad II yet, though, because it's also very limited in terms of programmability and expensive. But of course, I know that certain TI-Nspire fanboys will defend the platform against every other calc and bash calculator gaming.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 12:07:15 pm by DJ Omnimaga »
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Offline Streetwalrus

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2013, 12:35:40 pm »
https://twitter.com/Streetwalker42/status/389425869414232064
Please retweet and spread the word ! :D We're calling massive iOS hackers here so if we get their interest then this will spank TI's face very badly. :D
Credit goes to Nikitouzz for the idea.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 12:57:01 pm by Streetwalker »
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Offline TIfanx1999

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 12:42:25 pm »
You know, it's kind of funny. With the 68k series being an open platform and having a CAS it could actually see renewed interest. Wouldn't that be odd? These new changes really come as no surprise. The Nspire continues to be locked down further and further. :/
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 12:42:49 pm by Art_of_camelot »

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2013, 12:46:02 pm »
The issue is that the 68K series have pretty much been replaced by the TI-Nspire CX CAS by TI and they don't advertise it as much anymore. It looks less attractive to younger students too, since they were born in this new age of smartphones. However, with retro gaming and computing becoming more popular, maybe the platform could get a renewed interest as you say.
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Offline Streetwalrus

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2013, 12:47:07 pm »
Well it's likely they drop 68k calcs actually. :(
Also I just got a new 83+se and the more I play with z80 calcs, the more I love them. IMO Nspire lua is plain bullish*it.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 12:48:59 pm by Streetwalker »
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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2013, 01:07:17 pm »
isn't this kinda expected, for ti to lock down more? :(

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Offline Adriweb

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2013, 01:33:37 pm »
Well, yes, for each new version, everyone expects to find patched holes, etc.

Here, though, blocking TNOC because of some changes in the verification process after that, is just not cool. TNOC never did damage (quite the contrary...), for example it allows people to delete stuff they were not going to use (samples etc.), thus gaining space on the machine.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 01:34:10 pm by adriweb »
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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2013, 01:43:50 pm »
Yeah right now they are locking a tool that actually saved many people's calcs (and memory).
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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2013, 01:44:09 pm »
Quote
Credit goes to Nikitouzz for the idea.
He's not the first one to think of relaying TI's attack against Linux outside the community, nope ;)
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Offline Streetwalrus

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Re: New TI-Nspire OS 3.6 with extra lockdown
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2013, 03:45:45 pm »
By the way have investigations on boot2 signing been made yet ? Not talking about keys but the way the code is signed. We could maybe make a self signing utility that doesn't use the keys (like rabbit sign used to do).
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