Jay Freeman (@Saurik) Responds To Andrew Liu’s iOS 6 Cydia Build, Debate On iJailbreak Ensues

Here at iJailbreak we recently published a how-to guide on installing Cydia in iOS 6. Shortly afterwards, Jay Freeman (@Saurik) the original developer behind Cyida, posted a response that explained why he disapproved of the iOS 6 version of his package manager and why he would vote against releasing public jailbreaks for beta firmware. Naturally, I barged right in, in defense of foolish developers who distribute awesome code.

I thought the conversation was interesting enough for its own article, and that the topic is consequential enough to warrant it.

Here is the unedited transcript of the argument between myself and Jay Freeman (it’s been a while since Freeman’s last response, but there’s plenty of space in the comments section and we will be sure to update as the discussion develops):

Jay Freeman (saurik)

From the perspective of many of the community developers, this is very disappointing, and it is exceptionally so that WyndWarrior (in particular) did this without getting on IRC and asking any questions before deciding to post this build publicly.

In essence, when Cydia runs on a build of iOS, it causes massive end user adoption of that firmware version. Developers, on the other hand, do not need, nor do they often even care about, Cydia on their system: they use apt.

What this means for beta builds of iOS is that there is then rampant piracy of Apple’s firmware and flagrant violation of Apple’s developer account terms of service. This is obviously something we have the goal to minimize.

Meanwhile, developers in Cydia then begin to receive large numbers of complaints about things available in Cydia that don’t work yet; something that is exceptionally silly, as the firmware is still itself a moving and buggy target.

In fact, in the case of iOS 5.0, ignoring b1 was actually the most correct thing for developers: Apple had fixed many of the bugs that were happening–yes, even in our jailbreak-specific projects–by the later betas (b3, in specific).

Thereby, all of the major developers, the repositories, and many of the people working on jailbreaks themselves (certainly most of those that were around at the time)… we all were incredibly happy when Cydia didn’t work on iOS 6.0b1.

The argument is that, without a working version of Cydia, this beta firmware jailbreak can be released publicly, but will only get adoption by developers, not end users; we, in essence, do not have to worry about these aforementioned problems.

So, despite a number of hesitations and arguments, even those most strongly against releasing jailbreaks for beta versions of iOS reluctantly withdrew their complaints about a release of common jailbreaks, such as redsn0w, for iOS 6.0b1.

After all, with a more public jailbreak process, it does become easier for many developers to update their software throughout the betas. The last component missing, Cydia, could then be released only with a jailbreak for “the real firmware”.

Sadly, however, the result seems to be that we cannot actually trust the extended developer community. It took only two or three days for someone not realizing the delicate balance to opt for some publicity and release a replacement Cydia build. *sigh*

This means that many of us, certainly me, will now be registering a strong “no” when it comes to a public release of any future jailbreak for beta releases of iOS (and “absolutely not” for b1), whether or not Cydia operates.

 

Michael Schnier

Saurik, are you telling us you didn’t expect that tinkerers on the bleeding edge of the modding community might patch an opensource tool for their own purposes? Part of the deal behind making a tool open source is that the founding developers lose absolute control of how the tools are used.

From what I’ve seen, the most impact this has had on the jailbreak community is a flock or two of over-eagers who don’t understand why their favorite tweaks don’t work. Why not let them use their machines the way they want to, while informing them that the firmware is unsupported by many developers and they are using the beta version at their own risk?

Maybe it could be included into a dialog in redsn0w. Something like “iOS 6 is currently in early beta and will not be widely supported by homebrew developers until after the public release. If you want your favorite software to work, stick with iOS 5.1.1. Please do not harass community developers.” The ‘inform and let the user decide’ approach is the same stance Cydia takes with certain third party repositories.

Isn’t part of the purpose of jailbreaking to free our personal devices from restrictions that are placed on devices “for our own good” or for a private group’s convenience? I’d really hate to see you abandon the idea that software should have screws.

 

Were I to really believe in the strawman arguments you are now attributing to me, I would figure out some way to make Cydia closed source. Obviously, I have not, so your comments are difficult to line up with the reality of the situation as it is actually playing out.
First, I will point out a factual error that you are making, one which seems to indicate you did not read my entire comment. :( It is actually a serious problem for the jailbreak community when it becomes an excuse for people to pirate Apple’s firmware bundles or to mess around sharing their pair developer accounts.

With that in mind, I will now address your core complaint by saying that there is a difference between those things that we can do, and those things that we should do. The rest of this comment will now build on this idea and demonstrate how it applies to this situation.

We, as a movement, have to be sensitive to the notion that we are not operating in a vacuum: we cannot just do the things that we please and knock over anyone and anything that stands in the way of our goal. To do so is to just paint a target on our backs and make us seem to those whose opinions we must win as “selfish”.

Instead, we must be careful with our actions, and see how they affect the communities around us. This is no different than actions we take using freedom of speech or our freedom to congregate. I believe it is then entirely appropriate to be disappointed when freedom of speech is used in a manner that is hurtful, even if I consider it equally important that it is possible to be used in said fashion.

To build a different example, if we know that calling a protest at a specific location (end users) will cause property damage and death when calling the same protest at a different location (developers) will have the same benefits but minimize casualties, I will argue it is now our responsibility to choose the location wisely.

In the case of iOS beta firmware versions, the legitimate reasons for end users (remember: we aren’t talking about developers here!) to jailbreak a version of the firmware for which few of the end-user accessible tweaks work (including, AFAIK, even PreferenceLoader) are very difficult to reconcile with the problem of actually encouraging users to pirate Apple’s software.

Again: this is a delicate balance, and I realize that it can come off as somewhat difficult to explain. :( However, your comments attempting to mingle this issue up with open source through some form of indirection are entirely unhelpful, unwarranted, and untrue.

 

First off, you’re not being very charitable with me or my argumentation, which I don’t really appreciate. I’d rather not be accused of putting words in your mouth when I am not.

Cydia IS open source and there are legitimate ways of getting access to iOS 6. That’s not a straw man argument any more than the argument that jailbreaking isn’t only for piracy. (Look at the piracy rate of Springtomize.) If a developer, or someone else with a legitimate copy of iOS 6 wants to distribute Cydia, it is within their rights to do so. I would argue that you don’t have a legitimate reason to discourage that.

While I’m sure many of the people who are installing Cydia on their iPhones and iPads are unfortunately pirating the firmware from Apple, (as are many people pirating Cydia tweaks) we don’t really have control over that. Just like ZodTTD doesn’t have control over whether people rip their GBA ROMs themselves or if they download the files from a pirate website. Developers licences from Apple cost $99. It’s not unreasonable to assume that some non-developers would be willing to pay to be on the bleeding edge.

On the other side, if Apple’s developer security is easily bypassed, that should be Apple’s concern, not yours. Coders shouldn’t be put at fault just because nifty features are suddenly available that will make users want to pirate beta firmware. (Frimware that will, upon release, be freely available for the devices they bought.)

Blaming the bleeding edge coders, who have recompiled Cydia for their own purposes, for piracy puts too much emphasis on the tools and too little emphasis on the people who are willing to take software that doesn’t belong to them from Apple. If you don’t want to give them the reason, its your call, but the genie is out of the bottle.

I jailbreak. I don’t pirate. I don’t see the point in using iOS 6, but if someone has legal access to it, I don’t see why they should be restricted from doing what they want with their own devices.

Should jailbreaks be available for costly firmware betas? Is “software with screws” a strawman argument? Are developers responsible for piracy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Jeremy Pera

    i believe you both had valid points, however, it comes down to the fact that we should wait to let apple fix bugs and be able to make a better jailbreak in the future

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    The jailbreak itself actually isn’t the concern, since it’s still based on Geohot’s limera1n exploit for A4 devices and earlier. The iPhone 4 and earlier are supposedly jailbreakable for life. No exploits wasted.

  • Antonioedelson

    Here is my question why fighters we needs that both develops working together for a better jailbreak that’s my opinion .

  • iamthebiophile

    I’m with Saurik. iOS is not ready yet for the end-user. The developers, however, should be able to play with it as much as they want

  • xxnightterror89xx

    dev. has the right to explore and create more and new amazing apps/tweaks/mods and so on..but sharing it with non-devs should be restricted(even tho they’l still do it)..But heres what i think..if the devs can fix the bugs themselves and perform a buggless jailbreak then go right on you got my support on that…because we must all realize something everything has a beginning and must come to an end..meaning Apple at one point might find a way to make their IOS’s un-jailbreakable…then what? As me a noob dev..i noticed that whitedoor brought ios 5 features to ipod touch 2g MB models…then Redd00r is soon to be released for MC models..but most apps/tweaks/mods so on and so forth require IOS 4 and up….so i started my own little project called “(well to be honest i dont know what im going to call it -_-’)” its identical sort of saying to the redd00r since in some forums and  blablabla idevice owner of the old gens are able to enjoy the new looks of the new IOS’s…as of right now im working on the looks and extras of the IOS 5 and bring them to the older IOS…when IOS 6 is Finished and decently buggs free I will do the same…So to the top dog devs out the us lil devs are counting on your newest and coolest toughts so us lil devs can bring the same fun to the lil man Apple decided to leave behind.

  • Junior Aar

    I believe saurik has a valid argument .. A couple month back we were just fighting just so that congress wouldn’t take away our freedom of Internet use.. As Saurik explain we should not abuse and know when we are suppose to do things or in publish software wen the time is right.. I would hate for us to lose the opportunity to jailbreak because of careless end user that have developer account just to be on this so called edge to ruin it for the rest of us …. For schnier u also have have a valid point yes Cydia is an open source but there are new comers that are not thinking the way hacker or developers should think…. and bein plain reckless with freedom …like I said don’t get me wrong u are totally correct on your side but u cannot speak for those that not thinking smarter to ensure that jail breaking continues

  • FuckApple

    jay freeman is totally right, Michael Schnier has just few valid points but we should support Freeman in this decision and Cydia shouldn’t be available for beta version public release.

  • http://twitter.com/RileyFreeman Riley Freeman

    i personally dont see the problem with putting a warning that says use at your own risk.  a lot of the tweaks have that warning when each new public release comes out.  but then again i dont know whats involved with incorporating it.  jailbreaking is useful and has its pros and cons. i hate using an iphone without bitesms.  number 1 most important tweak to me. so i would never install ios 6 beta or public until its been jailbroken. not everyone minds. piracy is big and its unfortunate but i would argue that it has its uses somewhat.  a lot of these tweaks cause errors or dont work as good as advertises or are just plain ol useless.  very few devs give free versions. so i try out everything before i buy.  money doesnt grow on trees.  thats the only sem legitimate argument i would make to the piracy but that could be solved by devs offering free trials. 

    im off track now. if it causes problems for cydia and is a hassle to devs, then i say dont do it and take sauriks side.  BUT it doesnt hurt to try your way FIRST and then see the result. if it is still a problem, you gave it a shot and then go with sauriks way

  • Omare

    I’m with Saurik. I think he has a valid point. I also like the way he responds to the whole issue.

  • Frankie

    Both arguments are right each in their own respect. I personally believe there has to be some level of control, not to limit, but to define how far one can and should go to still be on the right side. Most of us love open source and jailbreak our iPhones, but refuse to go to the open source heaven: Android platform. Why? As much as we love free and open, we still believe in the limitations that keep this “Free and Open” decent hence jail broken iOS. Therefore, I side with Saurik in this argument.

  • Lifas

    Although Michael does have a point “open source”. I’m with Saurik, he did after all create Cydia and by making it open source help developers. However the point that Wyndwarrior did not ask Saurik or gave him a warning of showing his build seems a bit unfair. Saurik did spend his time to create a free Cydia store for everyone.