Saurik responds to Comex’s decision to work on Cydia Substrate replacement; reveals plans to release new features for Cydia
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Saurik responds to Comex’s decision to work on Cydia Substrate replacement; reveals plans to release new features for Cydia

  • 2015-02-13 14:10:55
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News / Mobile phones Saurik responds to Comex’s decision to work on Cydia Substrate replacement; reveals plans to release new features for Cydia

As expected, Jay Freeman a.k.a saurik, the founder of Cydia, has responded to comex’s decision to work on a substitute for the Cydia Substrate for iMods, an upcoming alternative to Cydia.

Nicholas Allegra a.k.a Comex, a well-known hacker, pointed out that the reason for working on a replacement for Cydia Substrate called Substitute, was because it was not open source. He also strongly believes that jailbreaking is fundamentally about taking something closed and fixed and opening it up to hacking and modification.

In response to comex’s post, saurik has defended the reason for keeping Cydia Substrate closed sources. He writes:

This starts from a simple premise: that open source software merely existing does not lead to open platforms, as the priority of the vast majority of users align with short-term interests (for various reasons, some good and some bad) and so they will happily buy into and empower closed platforms in order to get a relatively small amount of functionality, comfort, or glitter (see iOS itself ;P). [..]

[..] The central reason is that we have already seen others come in and use an embrace-and-extend strategy on Substrate in order to build a totally-closed ecosystem: that was Rock Your Phone, with their Rock Extensions. People always think back to Rock 2.0, which was a reasonable “Cydia competitor” that supported APT repositories; but the mission of Rock 1.0 was to build a siloed, commercial-first (if not even commercial-only: I was told by them I should sell Cycorder, which had been free) store.

The reason why Rock got forced to support APT repositories (which became Rock 2.0) was that iOS 3.1 required some major reimplementation work on Substrate, and I made the project closed source. This meant that for Rock’s software to operate, they needed access to a legitimate copy of Substrate, and their strategy for doing that was to support APT repositories and then just download it in the same manner as Cydia. A world where Rock 1.0 became the core ecosystem would be a world very unlike the one we have.

saurik is not completely opposed to open source. His other projects such as WinterBoard, Cydget, Veency, which are some of the popular jailbreak apps are open source. He also admits that he is disappointed to see comex working with the iMods team.

The awkward-to-me result is that we now see comex—someone who talks a lot about open systems—building tools for people who are specifically against the idea of open platforms: who talk a lot about commercialization, strong DRM to defeat piracy, and how allowing third-party repositories outside the centralized, curated experience would fundamentally undermine what they consider required to build a clean experience. comex is now working for the very ideas I thought we wanted to defeat.

Essentially, this undermines the strategy that I’ve had in my head for what this community was doing, and why it mattered in the greater picture. I don’t do this because I want people to have funny features on their phones: I do this because we are fighting a battle against companies—not just companies like Apple, but companies like Rock Your Phone and iMods—who want to see “open” be traded away for “ease of use” or “profitability”.

The most troubling outcome of this development is that saurik has decided to step back from actively participating in public conversations such as on /r/jailbreak, as it seems to have really taken a toll on him. He will continue to be available “behind the scenes” to the key developers and repositories.

saurik has also promised that he plans to roll out news features such as style updates to Cydia’s home page and payment related changes. He also plans to release an update for Substrate, which will provide a a different way of loading and filtering, and will come with an easier-to-use SDK.

While it is great to have a talented hacker like comex to be working for the jailbreak community again, let’s not forget saurik’s contribution has been exemplary. He has been the most devoted member of the jailbreak community since he first released Cydia in February 2008, and the last thing the community needs is to see him lose interest. Competition is great for the end user, but it should not come at the cost of disrupting the community.

Please share  your thoughts in the comments below.






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