A jailbreak has surfaced for the iPhone 3GS, the first available on the net. The creator, a young hacker named George Hotz who originally unlocked the iPhone, has dubbed it "purplera1n".

Jailbreaking is a process that frees up the iPhone so that you can install unofficial third-party apps, like the Synchstep3 app which Pocket-lint featured the other day. Purplera1n doesn't unlock the phone for use on any network, though.

You'll need a Windows PC (though not Windows 7, apparently), the latest version of iTunes, and the 3.0 firmware. Over to Hotz: "Connect your iPhone normally. Click "make it ra1n". Wait. On bootup, run Freeze, the purplera1n installer app".

Make sure you backup first, and we wouldn't recommend you jailbreak unless you know what you're doing. Interestingly, Hotz says he only released his hack out of impatience waiting for the Dev Team:

"Normally I don't make tools for the general public, and rather wait for the dev team to do it. But guys, whats up with waiting until 3.1? That isn't how the game is played".

"We release, Apple fixes, we find new holes. It isn't worth waiting because you might have the "last" hole in the iPhone. What last hole...this isn't golf. I'll find a new one next week".

A version which works on OS X and Windows 7 is promised for "maybe Monday", according to Hotz's twitter feed.