Facebook is unlock the bootloader of its discontinued Oculus Go headset and give users full root access. That means the headset will remain usable long after official support has ended. The move was: announced by Oculus’ consulting CTO John Carmack, who stepped down from his full-time role as CTO in 2019 to focus on his work as an independent AI researcher.
Root access is achieved by sideloading a future software update, opening the door for anyone to modify and improve on Oculus’ original standalone all-in-one VR headset. Facebook originally released the Oculus Go in 2018 before being replaced by the Oculus Quest the following year. The Go has been officially discontinued in 2020.
This opens up the possibility of reusing the hardware for more things today, and means that a randomly discovered shrink-wrapped headset will be able to update to the final software version 20 years from now, long after over-the-air update servers are up and running. closed down.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) September 24, 2021
“We are going to make available an unlocked OS build for the Oculus Go headset that can be sideloaded to get full root access,” Carmack wrote on Twitter. “This opens up the possibility of reusing the hardware for more things today, and means that a randomly discovered shrink-wrapped headset will be able to update to the final software version 20 years from now, long after over-the-air update servers have been shut down. .”
In response to questions from his followers, Carmack said the initiative only pertains to the Oculus Go, but that he “hopes it sets a precedent” for other devices. The unlocked OS will likely be made available via the Oculus website, says Carmack, but an official release plan has yet to be finalized. It will consist of the latest Go update but with root access.
“I’ve still heard a lot of arguments about the bad things that could happen if users had full control over their legacy devices, but I’m clearly in favor of user empowerment,” explains Carmack. The developer has long been a fan of opening his work on titles like demise and earthquake crafting for hobbyists. Most notable was the release of demise‘s source code in the late 90s that allowed the classic shooter to be hacked on dozens of unusual devices from ATMs until digital cameras. This open-sourcing tradition continued until the Downfall 3 engine, whose source code was released in 2011.
It’s worth noting that Carmack previously said that Oculus planned to bring support for USB storage on the Oculus Go with an upcoming update that never came out, as reported by UploadVR. Prior to the headset’s release, the developer said support would come “relatively soon”, but a year later he had to admit that a “hardware problem” prevented the arrival of the feature.