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Monday, 12 January 2009

Signing .sis Symbian installer files: which programs to use and where to get a free developer certificate?

Avoid Symbian's Open Signed Online. Get a developer certificate and sign Symbian programs yourself
Update: new hacks for Nokia and SonyEricsson phones with S60v3, S60v5, and Symbian^3. No certificates needed!

Most Symbian phones refuse to install "unsigned" software. Programs need to be "signed" with a digital certificate before Symbian allows you to install them on your very own Nokia or other Symbian phone. If computer programs would have to get approved by something called Windows Signed there'd be public outrage, and Microsoft would be flooded with lawsuits. But for some reason Symbian (read: Nokia) gets away with it.

Commercial Symbian software usually comes pre-signed and ready to install on your phone without further ado. But getting software signed for distribution requires a Publisher ID, which costs hundreds of dollars. For obvious reasons most authors of non-commercial software are not going to buy expensive Publisher IDs to sign their freeware.

A year ago Open Signed Online was started to cater for the creators and users of non-commercial freeware, but so far it fails miserably. Open Signed Online is still in beta testing and it shows. The procedure is unnecessarily complicated, especially if english is not your native language. It requires each and every user of unsigned freeware to upload the files to be signed, hand over their IMEI number and email address, wait until Symbian Signed emails back to them, respond to that mail, wait for another mail with a download link, and then return to the Open Signed Online site to download a signed copy of the program. Open Signed Online won't work on large files (the current limit is 4 MB), is not available in any language other than english, and its web site is unsuitable for mobile phone web browsers.

And if you want to install another program, or the same program or another phone, you'll have to suffer the same ordeal again.

As a result, Symbian Signed protects the financial interests of a few commercial software companies at the expense of all the non-commercial programmers and the millions of people that use their freeware. As long as things don't improve, make sure to avoid Symbian Signed like the plague.

So what are the alternatives to Open Signed Online?

You can set your phone free with one of the Symbian hack applications and use the SIS Installer Mod to avoid the inconveniences op Symbian Signed. Unfortunately you can't hack new phones with new firmware, so you can't use the SIS Installer Mod on those phones.

Fortunately there are free programs to sign .sis files without taking the long and winding road of Open Signed Online.

Programs to sign Symbian .sis installer files on your computer:
SISContents
FreeSigner
SignSIS

Programs to sign Symbian .sis installer files on your phone:
FreeSigner
MobileSigner

Of course you'll need a certificate to sign .sis files with these programs. And if you want the signed applications to have enough capabilities to be useful, you need to sign them with a Developer Certificate. Symbian Signed won't give you a DevCert, so you'll need to get one elsewhere. You used to have to struggle with chinese websites to get certificates, but recently they've become available on english sites too.

Not all certificates are equal. The certificates from OPDA can give your programs DiskAdmin capability. Certificates from other places may not give your programs all the capabilities they need.


Places where you can get your own free certificate (these certificates give your programs "17 capabilities," including DiskAdmin, which you need for the HelloOX method):

OPDA forum
OPDA certificates (english language version)
iMobile
guide to getting certificates from iMobile
DevCert Generator, an english language frontend of cer.s603rd.cn (sometimes this site doesn't work, sometimes it hands out certificates without DiskAdmin capability, but sometimes it gives certificates with all required capabilities to sign and install HelloOX)
Nokioteca (italian site)
Nokioteca guide on Symbian Freak (login/signup required)
SIGNSIS
S60 Certificate Key, another english language frontend of cer.s603rd.cn (sometimes this site doesn't work, sometimes it hands out certificates without DiskAdmin capability, but sometimes it gives certificates with all required capabilities to sign and install HelloOX)
If s60certkey.com asks you to download a toolbar, click "cancel." After the page reloads, right-click the cer and key file links and select "save as..."from the menu. This way you'll get the cer and key files without the toolbar.

Publisher IDs get revoked, certificate makers go on- and offline, and sites that work today may no longer work tomorrow.

Keep in mind that your developer certificates are made for you for free by friendly volunteers, so please behave accordingly. If you get your developer certificate from a user forum, don't just go there to grab a certificate but try to contribute something to the forum as well.

Update: new hacks for Nokia and SonyEricsson phones with S60v3, S60v5, and Symbian^3. No certificates needed!


17 comments:

Player01 said...

I use smartget(v2.2.4) as an all in one app. Unpack, pack, sign, design(yeah you need to design sometimes), py2sis and mif edit.

vovvy said...

OK I got a Dev Cert with 17 capabilities, but how do I sign my applications with it?

PLS GUIDE.

symbian underground said...

That depends on where you got the .cer file. If it comes with a .key file, you can use any of the programs listed in the blog post.

Some sites (such as andy.ehandysoft.com/devcert.php) have the .key file built into a signing program that's distributed from the same site.

The site where you got your DevCert is the right place to ask how to sign apps with the cert they gave you. If you didn't get a .key file, you'll have to use their version of their signing program.

Robert said...

http://sign-sis.co.cc/ another site that do it

Valentin said...

I didn't find one place on the internet that explane 100% these hack process, i have to waste hours and hours to find the right way, f these, i don't have time, useless info if it's not a "plug and play" helper. If you do something do it good or don't do it at all.

Deepk said...

i have download .cer and key file but..whenever i use it error message will appear that is encryption error, Cannot read D:\DOWNLO~1\200909~1.CER.

symbian underground said...

>Valentin said...
>useless info if it's not a "plug and >play" helper. If you do something do >it good or don't do it at all.

If you can only make things work if they're spoonfed to you in the form of childproof "plug and play" apps, why don't you just stick with the commercial programs from the big companies instead of complaining that the work of independent programmers is too complicated for you?

Maxim said...

The http://cer.opda.cn/en/ worked for me. Thanks much!

Before that I've used the following script to interface symbiansigned, which is fine but the fact you need to upload the program each time which is slow.

http://blog.wahlig.eu/search?updated-min=2008-01-01T00%3A00%3A00%2B01%3A00&updated-max=2009-01-01T00%3A00%3A00%2B01%3A00&max-results=14

nokia said...

hi friend.
thank you for this amazing article.
very usefull

n.benamara said...

I sign my applications on the site http://www.noubis.com/sign-app-phone.php and it works really well

Adriano said...

Dont use http://www.s60certkey.com/ !!!!!

You have to download a virus, before you can download the certificate!

tammyeran said...

THANKS ! i was looking for an article like this a year before you wrote it, while i was learning how to prog symbian, and couldn't find anything.

symbian underground said...

If you use s60certkey.com, click "cancel" when it asks you to download the toolbar.

After the page reloads, right-click the cer and key file links and select "save as..."from the menu.

This way you'll get the cer and key files without the toolbar.

PaRaNo!D said...

I cant get any C:/sys/Bin folder
even i cant open sys folder i have tried every method to hack my phone but failed to do that

My Phone is Nokia 5320 Firmware version 5.16

cool_trusty said...

thank u dude ...
now ican dwnload anythin ...
u really r awesome....

lonely traveller said...

will a DEV cert applied to x-plorer allow me to delete junk from ROM like "lifeblog"? it keeps corrupting my SD card on N95.

or is DEV cert only for installing new apps?

Σταύρος said...

lonely traveller, if you hack the phone, you will be able to delete things in system folders