If a new report and call to arms is to be believed, Sony's worst nightmare may be coming true. Apparently a PS Vita exploit might open the doors for a native homebrew loader for the pricey handheld (and hence open it up to the homebrew crowd), though the project is still in its earliest stages and its founder is seeking help from other coders.
Developer Yifan Lu has allegedly discovered a weakness in the Vita's firmware, leading to the genesis of the "Usermode Vita Loader for loading unsigned executables on your Vita." However, only a "few lines of code" have been written as yet (available on Github), and he's calling for other developers to assist him.
"As of right now, I have not tried compiling the code yet," Lu explained in an extremely technical forum post. "It’s mostly just pieces of code for things like the ELF parsher, resolving NIDs using module exports and syscalls from both imports and exports and etc. I am basically looking for people with experience in HBL to help me finish this. Currently, I am missing code to clean the memory (releasing heap pointers, unloading all modules, deleting threads, etc). But mostly, I want critiques on the current code and how things could be improved or if any of my assumptions in the code could prove false. I have tried to make the loader very portable (for other future exploits) by having lots of error checks and only using functions imported from sceLibKernel (which should be loaded by every game). If you want to help, just fork the code and send me a pull request when you’re done."
Homebrew applications would likely include custom firmware and customisation options, though the potential for emulation and piracy has lead Sony to aggressively combat any attempts to jailbreak their portable consoles through frequent firmware updates and litigation. Rampant piracy crippled the PSP's viability for third party publishers, and it's likely that this project may never make it out of the planning stages.
That said, we'll keep an eye on things. [via lolhax]