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So, iPod classic is OK but iPod touch is not? What about a TV? A TV that can play youtube viedos? A car? The kindle? The drobo? Are they all multi-purpose computing devices? The distinction is actually not as very very clear as you think.

Anywhere minor modifications to the firmware could cause serious injury, it makes sense to restrict access to the firmware, because the firmware is a very small part of a hardware system that has been well-tested for safety. This makes the car and the microwave off limits.

iPod classic, it's not going to hurt anyone if you screw with the firmware, you should be free to tinker to your heart's content. There are also enough obvious deficiencies (lack of support for a variety of codecs) which can be improved.

Same with a TV, the Kindle, the Drobo.

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