Cydia’s creator to jailbreakers: Don’t count on me doing this forever

Cydia jailbreak backup

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.

  • http://twitter.com/gettysburg11s gettysburg11s

    To me, it looks like Jay is saying that he’s going to shut things down sometime soon, and you can’t do a thing about it. Make other plans.

    Honestly, a move like that would make sense. iOS 7 gave users little reason to jailbreak, and iOS 8 will pretty much put it half way in the grave. Why Jay would continue Cydia after iOS 8 comes out is beyond me.

    • Adam Reber

      I’m sorry but iOS 7 has not dissolved the jailbreak. I still can’t pair a Playstation controller to a native iPad, with Controllers For All. I can’t launch directly into 4 different apps from the lockscreen like I can with Jellylock, I can’t detach video players and do other things and watch a video like I can with VideoPane.

      I still can’t negate the entire need for a home button like I can with Auxo 2 and turn on and off my device by tapping the screen with SmartTap.

      Still can’t move the text cursor around easily like I can with SwipeSelection…

      How about unlocking the HotSpot feature without having to pay your carrier a ridiculous fee? Instead you use your existing data plan, with TetherMe

      Still can’t change the song using volume buttons with my EarPods like I can with Activator.

      • Greg G

        You don’t have to pay extra to have Hotspots, at least not in the US as far as I know. I certainly don’t with T-Mobile.

        Much of what you said are little preferences and tweaks, but probably not things that iPhone users “couldn’t live with out” (the way many people really wanted SWYPE keyboards or other tweaks).

        Since iOS 8 is allowing for the first time super deep access to developers, a lot of Apps that might even handle some of the stuff you mention might be official App store apps soon enough.

        Sure, there is always some restriction, and therefore, there will be SOME demand for jailbreaking, its negated for most people.

        The biggest things that kicked off the community were things that should have been no brainers (swappable keyboards, tethering, unlocking for other carriers when it was an AT&T exclusive) and are now moot points as they are officially available without the need for jailbreaking.

        At that time, even light users and average geeks benefitted greatly from jailbreaks. At this point I can’t imagine anyone but the most hardcore of geeks wanting it.

      • Adam Reber

        Little preferences and tweaks.. No.

        Activator alone is enough reason to jailbreak.

      • PMB01

        Your opinion doesn’t make it a fact. Those are very specific preferences and tweaks that a VAST majority of iOS users couldn’t care less about.

      • Patrick McCarron

        Any major carrier charges outrageous fees for mobile hotspot. And yeah T-Mobile is cheap, but that’s because in most areas their service is absolute shit.

      • PMB01

        You obviously haven’t ever used T-Mobile. My coverage and data speed is better than it EVER was with Verizon. I hardly ever use Wi-Fi because LTE is so much faster. Hotspot is included in my Unlimited data plan, albeit limited to 5GB at full speed (which is perfectly fine for 99% of users).

      • Patrick McCarron

        Actually I have been on T-Mobile. From 2009-2011. And many of my friends still are. I hated it, and the service around here is shit.

      • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

        Firstly, as an AT&T unlimited data user, my hotspot ability is Most Definitely Locked unless I opt to pay an additional ridiculous monthly fee. Data is data, how is that legal? MYWI for tethering is more than reason alone for jailbreaking.
        I’d also agree that there are plenty of us users that crave the kind of customization Adam Reber is describing.

      • Rees Maxwell

        Uh, my EarPods with remote that came with my iPhone allow me to play/pause, skip forward, skip backward, change the volume and connect with everything Siri can do.

    • http://sulaymans-stories.tumblr.com/ Sulayman

      It sounds more like he’s replying to a critic out of frustration, rather than saying his heart isn’t in it.

      • mahadragon

        +1!! Fully agree Sulayman. I thought I was the only person who thought Saurik sounded kind of distraught and annoyed than someone giving caution to the public audience.

    • Nick

      Are you kidding?! iOS 7 was the reason I jailbroke my iPhone. It’s awful.

  • Ely Mantz

    good riddance!

    • Adam Reber

      Why?

      • IcyStorm

        He either doesn’t like the idea of jailbreaking and Cydia, or he doesn’t understand how incredibly important Saurik is to jailbreaking, period.

  • lowtolerance

    The jailbreak community would not exist without Saurik’s contributions. It’s not just Cydia, that he works on, it’s most of the toolchain that makes Cydia possible, as well. Losing him would be catastrophic.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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