"A group of Xbox hackers called "Free-X" claim to have broken all security measures on the games console without any hardware modifications whatsoever, prompting Microsoft to threaten a legal attack against its members."

So its finally been done - a hack for the Xbox that alllows you to get Linux onto the machine without any hardware mods at all.

Free-X claim to have been trying to negotiate with Microsoft for some time, requesting the release of a "signed" Linux boot loader, which would permit Xbox users to run Linux on the machine in much the same way that PS2 users currently can - i.e. without any hardware modifications. Microsoft refused to listen.

A signed boot loader won't allow the console to run pirated games, whereas the exploit they have developed will. Free-X say piracy is not something they wish to encourage. The exploit in its released form will not directly allow "backed up" games to run, but from what I have read from the documentation this is a matter of a simple fix.

"If Microsoft had agreed to sign Linux then it would have been possible... to prevent the illegal use of pirated software," the statement said. "It is a shame that Microsoft appears to not share our concerns about protecting the intellectual rights of those who develop software for their console".

Somehow, I think that all Microsoft are dealing with here are some disgruntled games developers who just want to use open source tools to develop games for the Xbox. If only they had listened.... But now, I think we will see Xbox games piracy galore. And all the legal action in the world will not change that.

Full story here.

Full details of the exploit here.