Originally Posted by FrozenPanda
First of all.. what IS the bootloader?
2nd of all.. why is it locked? (what benefits does it give samsung/att)?
3rd just in general.. how does this limit developement/ user freedom on their device?
The bootloader is what loads the system itself and starts up the phone when you press the button, and registers if you want to go to recovery or download mode or normal boot. It is locked by Samsung at the request of AT&T or any other carrier that does (Verizon does, T-Mobile doesn't). It's probably in the terms of their deal to sell the phone and it's mostly just to prevent user tampering. This limits freedom as it checks for modifications in the system and other areas like the kernel and recovery. If either of those two contain something that isn't signed with Samsung's signature key, it throws a flag and doesn't boot.
Sent from my SGH-I337 running GPE