Comments on: Hacks Not Going Away in OS 5

One of the areas people are concerned about in the new Palm OS 5 is that all the current hacks will no longer work. For a while there was some confusion over whether OS 5 would supports any kind of hacks. Fortunately, this isn't the case.

Hacks are small applications that change the way the operating system works which, with the rewrite of the OS to move to ARM-based processors, will no longer function. However, these are too popular to be allowed to go away so PalmSource has created a new system-extension mechanism that can be used to create mini-apps that perform many of the same tasks as hacks and developers are working to come up with replacements.

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PLEASE rewrite Phlegm Hack!

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 10:40:49 AM #
Gawd I hope the developer of the original will re-write for use in OS5.
RE: PLEASE rewrite Phlegm Hack!
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 11:26:14 AM #
I wouldn't hold your breath.
RE: Disagree with Mr. Linke
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 12:23:29 PM #
Hacks are the only way to add new functionalities to the OS. You can not convert all the OS4.x hacks to OS5.0 notifications. It isn't possible. There are only a dozen of notifications that a developer can use. Even the documentation states that feature OS may not support these notifications. So what does the developer do then?

Even if notification works you can not guarantee that your app will be the first to receive the notification or even worst if it ever receive the notification.

RE: PLEASE rewrite Phlegm Hack!
drac @ 9/23/2002 4:06:30 PM #
It's been rewritten by Mike McCollister as McPhling. It's free for the download (though $12 for support), and he has said that he will be producing a PalmOS5 version.

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1819-1892)

d r. a. c h a r l e s

Speed Tweaker

Wenda @ 9/23/2002 10:53:30 AM #
I hope there is some overclocking utilities. I heard first batch of devices running OS5 will be powered by 175 Mhz ARM processor. It will be good if we can adjust that clock speed.

Silence is Golden

Love my hacks, but...

Altema @ 9/23/2002 10:57:06 AM #
Agree that it would be better to do it properly. I have most of the PopUp suite and am hooked on McPhling, but a rewrite is better in the long run than trying to bandage up the old hacks.

The Hack I Want

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 11:39:46 AM #
I've got a Treo 300, and one obvious feature is missing: I want to be able to look in the call log and find the length of that call.

There's space in the display that can be used, and the information is in the call database, which is amply documented.

RE: The Hack I Want
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 1:17:56 PM #
Alright thanks for sharing!
RE: The Hack I Want
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 6:56:01 PM #
I'm looking for a Hack that will add catagories to my address book. does anyone know of anything?
RE: The Hack I Want
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2002 9:07:36 AM #
I have categories in my address book. Don't you? Just tap in the top right hand corner.

What are hacks?

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 12:52:26 PM #
Im not to sure what "hacks" are. Can you explain them to me...
RE: What are hacks?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 2:19:08 PM #
Read the article
RE: What are hacks?
higgy @ 9/23/2002 4:38:45 PM #
> Im not to sure what "hacks" are. Can you explain them to me...

Hold on, the community will be sending someone to that nasty dirty apartment you call a home but is really a condemned closet to explain to you what you want to know because you are too lazy to RTF article. Have a nice day.


RE: What are hacks?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 5:54:52 PM #
Or you could just be nice and spend a minute to help the guy out instead of taking a minute to flame him...

Hacks are basically a "system extension" that you can install on your PalmOS handheld and manage them with a program such as HackMaster or X-Master. These "hacks" make it able to do many things with the system that a normal program cannot do. They can go into the core of the system and edit even some of the main functionality by bypassing main system functions and rewriting their own. Some examples are a "recently used" program menu(McPhling), TealEcho, which displays your graffiti stroke on the screen, and TealFlag, which displays an American flag on the screen on power-down.

Programmers---forgive me if that is incorrect in any technical aspect and please correct me, but i think that is the general idea.

RE: What are hacks?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 7:32:13 PM #
I vote with the "Read the article" person. Don't coddle people who ask questions and clearly haven't bothered to even glance at the article. For pete's sake, the second paragraph begins with "Hacks are..." If the person won't take that effort to so much as look at the article, you probably wasted your time explaining it to him. He probably looked at your answer, saw it was more than 15 or 20 words, and decided it was too much work to read.
RE: What are hacks?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 7:34:04 PM #
screw that, let's taunt and ridicule the guy. sounds like more fun.

not to mention, what kind of newbie dip**** doesn't know what a hack is?

RE: What are hacks?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2002 1:48:07 PM #
Whatever kind of rock did this bunch of twats crawl out from under? Get the hell back under it and do the world a favour. So the guy didn't know what a hack was, you obviously haven't got the slightest idea what manners are.
RE: What are hacks?
higgy @ 9/24/2002 8:33:39 PM #
My wife says that all the time.


Even with notifications, a ''Hack'' manager is still necessary

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 2:57:18 PM #
Even if developesr rewrite their Hacks to use notifications, there still should be programs such as X-Master to manage them.

Do you want a separate Launcher icon for each Hack? Sounds cluttered.

Do you want to run each Hack separately to enable or to disable them? Sounds tedious, especially if you want to turn all on or all off.

Do some Hacks behave better when run before other Hacks? You need a manager to control the notification priorities.

The trap-patching-based Hack system is on its way out, and even though Hack managers were a necessity for well-defined behavior in previous versions of Palm OS, they're still a good idea.

What we need is for developers to agree upon some standard that notification-based "Hacks" should follow. It could even be a revision to the original Hackmaster specification; it's not too difficult to have the same PRC file support both notifications and trap-patching.

RE: Even with notifications, a ''Hack'' manager is still necessary
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 3:30:10 PM #
I totally agreed with you. I've written many hacks from small to complex and I can honestly tell you that notifications is not enough or even replace hacks. There is no guarrantee that your app will ever receive the notification. With hacks the manager handles this for you.

If PalmSource whats to eliminate all hacks then they should add more notifications or write their own manager to handle this.

I want hacks back in OS5!!

RE: Even with notifications, a ''Hack'' manager is still necessary
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/23/2002 6:55:06 PM #
One more thing I have to mention here!

The notifications does not always equal to hacks.

In hacks, you can supress or bypass the original system functions. With notification, it broadcasts the notification to every registered program who is interest in this system function, including the system itself in sequencial order. And this is not every hacks out there are convertable.

Be careful when you say I can convert my hack to notification...

RE: Even with notifications, a ''Hack'' manager is still necessary
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/25/2002 1:10:13 PM #
Perhaps you can't convert a Hack to a notification. However, it should still be possible to _really_ hack the OS. Good grief, it's possible to hack any machine. Even if the OS actively tries to prevent itself being hacked, there's always a way to get around and under it. Palm didn't intend hacks in previous OS versions. They don't intend them in OS5, but they can hardly definitively prevent them from being possible, not without some rather extreme hardwired software solutions that could disrupt usability, especially if hacks were attempted. Somebody will come up with it, and real hacks will be back in business, if wanted.

Of course, it might break security, etc., but that's exactly what we're talking about, right? Doing things that were not intended. Just depends on some developers going out and doing it.

RE: Even with notifications, a ''Hack'' manager is still necessary
Kevin101 @ 1/23/2008 3:39:24 PM #
I am currently developing a manager and standard for "notification hacks". Hack developers will be able to create code resources that the manager will execute at notification or launch code time. With notifications, the OS hadle all conflicts internally!! Also, the code resources will only be locked while they are being executed. That means that users would be able to safely delete hacks with the Launcher at any time (that is, if the hack itself is coded properly).

Kevin Phelps

Hacks or security?

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/25/2002 1:40:40 AM #
The key point with hacks is security.

In the old system, a hack is a diversion of an operating system call. In former Palm OS versions, you could map *your* code to any system call. Usually, you would take advantage of this to be notified (because your code is called when the system call is performed), and then to perform some operation, and finally to give back control to the initial implementation of the system call. Or else, your code could do anything you wanted, even the worse...

With the newer version of Palm OS, your code can ask the operating system to notify it when some condition occurs. This is very different. First, you no longer divert the system call. Secondly, you get less information than before, since a notification is just an event, whereas a system call was not only an event, but also parameters, memory context, variables, etc. Moreover, the conditions which can trigger a notification are quite seldom (a dozen, compared to hundreds of system calls).

As a result, what do you get ?

1) Fewer features, as the newer mechanism is far more limited and restricted than the former one.

2) Better security, as the newer pseudo-hacks will be somehow restricted to their "sandbox" and won't be able to mess around as easily as they would before.

As far as I know, PalmSource has been concerned about hacks for a very long time, especially when users expectations went to better security, digital wallet, electronic payment, cellular phone integration, etc. PalmSource had to choose between keeping hacks (and allowing big security holes), eradicating hacks (and frustration of many users and developers), and a compromise. They opted for the latter, which led to notifications.

Even if two apps of mine will die with Palm OS 5, because they rely of a deep (and fair) use of hacks which is in no way compatible with notifications, I do think that PalmSource made the right choice. I only regret they didn't made notifications wider and more flexible: more events and more information provided. However, I still expect they will in a further version.

RE: Hacks or security?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/26/2002 3:20:45 AM #
The fact that hacks aren't available in OS5 has *nothing* to do with your perceived security aspects of them - it was just too difficult to make them work under PACE. Maybe it could have been done, but would have delayed the release (again).

The notification manager has been around well before OS5 - it was not invented to replace hacks - it's simply the best way to handle the most common most hack scenarios which are/were "when something happens tell me". So now you get a notification instead of a trap call... From my perusal of the available notifications I'd say if you can't make your existing hack work with them then you were probably either a) doing it the wrong way to start with, or b) doing something you shouldn't have been doing in the first place.

Treo 300 Requested hack

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/26/2002 3:47:32 PM #
I'm looking for an auto-answer hack. Every phone i've ever owned has had this. When I'm in my vehicle driving, it was nice to have the phone automatically answer after a few rings. I'm suprised this funtionality wasn't built into the phone in the first place...



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