Ever since the first iPhone was jailbroken, hacker and developer Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, has maintained the Cydia Store as a way for jailbreakers to download, buy and sell their tweaks.
Run consistently since February 2008, there have been more than a few challengers over the years — Cydia alternatives developed by third parties who promise to “better monetize” the jailbreak community — but Cydia continues to be the de facto repository for jailbreak tweaks.
But Freeman says we can’t take Cydia for granted. In fact, he’s thought about picking up his toys and going home.
In a long post on his personal website showing what goes on behind the scenes at his company trying to keep Cydia online, Freeman writes:
I always then feel like I have to ask people who see jailbreaking as an “opportunity to better monetize what that saurik chump won’t”: are you actually prepared to handle the situation where I get fed up and leave? Do you rely on my software? Are you relying indirectly on the people who in turn rely on me, or my friends?
You might think that all the things that I or SaurikIT contribute are “givens” you can rely on, and that I will maintain them even after you sap the fun of it and bleed away the funding; but I don’t have to, won’t want to, and wouldn’t be able to afford to. Nor, to be clear, should anyone (user or developer) feel entitled to me doing so :(.
The message is that Cydia isn’t just maintained out of an infinite reserve of goodwill. It is largely a labor of love, but that love isn’t inexhaustible, and the jailbreak community would be in a difficult place indeed if Freeman just shut Cydia down, once and for all. Be careful what you wish for.