Stefan Esser, better known as “i0n1c,” has been receiving a lot of heat from the jailbreak community as of late. Stefan is a prominent member of the jailbreak developer scene, and he was responsible for the untethered exploit that has been used for the iOS 4.3 jailbreak.

i0n1c recently introduced the idea of banning pirated apps in the iOS 5 jailbreak. He stated that if he were to release the jailbreak for iOS 5, he would consider placing a restriction on installing apps from the infamous ‘Installous‘ repo. Millions of jailbreakers use Installous to download pirated apps.

Hackulous, the group behind Installous, obviously feels very differently about i0n1c’s notion. The frontman for Hackulous, known as Dissident, has also shared his thoughts on the issue of banning cracked apps through a jailbreak.

TorrentFreak got some questions answered from both Dissident and i0n1c on this piracy issue that i0n1c raised with his tweet.

“The entire premise behind jailbreaking is that you’re able to do whatever you want with your device. It’s your device, you own it and you should be able to manipulate the software in any way that you like,” Hackulous admin Dissident told TorrentFreak.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean everything you do with it is legal, but that the manufacturer of the software and the hardware has no place in telling you how you use the device.”

The idea of placing restrictions on the user through a jailbreak seems counter to the very principle of jailbreaking. When you jailbreak, you are effectively removing Apple’s restrictions on your device. If a jailbreak introduced another set of restrictions, such as, the inability to pirate apps, wouldn’t that be hypocritical? The people at Hackulous definitely agree.

Dissident told TorrentFreak that i0n1c’s proposition of a DRM’d jailbreak would result in a lot of unhappy jailbreakers,

“Dissident told us this week that he believes i0n1c is a really talented guy but the idea that he should introduce new anti-Installous DRM is a significant one since at last count an estimated 11 million iDevice owners are using it. If they are suddenly unable to use Installous resources, they won’t be happy bunnies.”

The jailbreak community would be split into two camps: the pirates/freedom-from-restriction group, and the anti-piracy group.

“But just as Apple’s DRM gets broken despite their huge coding firepower, Dissident says that any efforts by i0n1c would be neutralized in the same fashion. Not only are several high-profile members of the jailbreaking scene said to be opposed to the suggestion of any new DRM, but Dissident warns that a small army of reverse engineers would appear, all dedicated to breaking any restrictions put in place at the jailbreak level.

While this would remove any obstacles put in place by i0n1c, Dissident says this type of situation would be most undesirable.”

In the end, it’s obvious that any DRM in a jailbreak would be countered, and a new, restriction-free jailbreak would eventually be introduced.

If that’s the way the Hackulous team feels, then what about i0n1c himself? TorrentFreak got Stefan to answer a few questions, too.

“Esser began by pointing us towards some of the abuse he’s been getting from some people in the jailbreaking community. These “nasty idiots”, as Esser describes them, certainly overstep the mark; disagreeing with someone’s stance can be achieved perfectly well without a flame war, but some don’t care much for sugar-coating. (It’s worth pointing out that Dissident does not engage in such behavior and was unfailingly polite throughout our discussions about Esser’s work.)

Esser went on to tell us that most of the people who have abused him (the “nasty idiots”) are into jailbreaking for one reason only – they want to pirate applications. In order to deal with their abuse it seems that Esser has developed an interesting payback tool – trolling.”

A recent example of this “trolling” would be the “elevat0r” project that i0n1c started. Because of i0n1c’s previous track record of releasing jailbreaks, the community thought that his new elevat0r project would be for an upcoming iPad 2 jailbreak. And as it turns out, it’s nothing of the sort.

Stefan also told TorrentFreak that, “When I am bored I think up tweets that will maximally annoy these people.”

As far as an iOS 5 jailbreak, i0n1c doesn’t seem too concerned with getting anything out to the public in the near future. He seems comfortable with where he’s at in the community.

“Esser told us that he is busy with “more important stuff” at the moment and that he is not planning to release any jailbreaks for a while. However, in keeping with his plan to annoy his detractors, there still might be a trick up his sleeve.

“In that line of thought, releasing a jailbreak that is only useful for people not into piracy would be a way to maximally annoy the bad people inside the jailbreaking community,” Esser told us with a palpable air of mischievousness. Or maybe seriousness, it’s hard to tell.”

TorrentFreak concluded their interview with i0n1c on a more optimistic note for the folks that side with Dissident.

“Esser eventually straightened his trollface and appeared to acknowledge the frailty of DRM and even the amusement to be had from it.

The ability to annoy in this way, he concedes, “..would only last for a while.”

As Stefan has become more vocal, it’s grown clearer that he may not have the jailbreak community’s interests as a whole at heart.

Personally, I agree with Stefan and Dissident. I believe that app piracy is wrong and should be killed, but I also believe that a jailbreak itself should not be the executor. As long as there are methods available, piracy will not go away. And, instead of trying to fight an uphill battle, people should start trying to find ways to adapt to that truth.


  • Big Brother

    I priate apps because i am not able to make money because i am a 15 year old that is doing a lot of academics, so I agree with i0nic with priate apps because it is the developers money that we are stealing, but there should be a test trial for people like me and thats why i agree with Dissident too.

    • Jon Garrett

      being 15yrs old and having no money is no excuse for stealing.

      if you want to be able to try apps before you buy them, get an ANDROID phone. Android Marketplace lets you try before you buy.

      and lastly, if you were a Dev and making apps to feed your family and pay your mortgage, how would you feel about your app being pirated?

      Some apps cost only $0.99, get a paper route or wash some cars or something.

  • rlamba

    Who need i0n1c? It is the jailbreak which brought him to lime light. They are all on back handers from Apple. Dev Team screwed up lot of iphone users with upgrade of bb to 6.15.0. How much they got from Apple to screw up iphone 3g and not before vey long iphone 3gs will be defunct.

  • Sasha

    There was jailbreaking before ionic and there will be jailbreaking after him, simples !!

    • Raz

      Geohot will be there 😉

  • Morgan

    A developer comes up with an app and can decide to make it free, have a trial period, or sell it at a price. If there is a price and you can’t or don’t want to pay, stealing it is not an acceptable alternative (even if you want it really badly). If there is no trial period, stealing it to test (even if you plan to purchase later or forget to purchase it later) isn’t acceptable. That said I’m not sure a third party should be the self-appointed anti-theft enforcer. Theft protection should be the responsibility of the developer. Shrinkage is a fact-of-life for most retail products and is generally included in the price honest people pay.

  • Bob

    WOW! It would seem to me that people would be more appreciative that people like i0n1c actually SHARE their knowledge to enable us to be able to jailbreak. But at first sign that he might be thinking about preventing something the he disapproves of in HIS software that HE wrote, people go stupid. “OMG! I can’t use my free pirated version of Angry Birds!” Last time I checked, there are a LOT of apps out there that DO offer free trials (including Angry Birds) to let you see if you like the game or app. And then you can BUY it. People seem to miss the whole point of jailbreaking! It’s NOT to get free pirated apps – it’s to give you the enduser the freedom to do what you want to with YOUR phone (not Apple’s). If you want to pirate games and apps…I would suggest that you learn to write your own jailbreak. Or shut up your whining. My thanks to all the devs out that let me continue to use MY iPhone the way I want to!!

    • Guru

      The JB community steals from Apple. None of the Cydia purchases go to Apple. Without Apple there is no damn iPhone. For i0n1c to even think about placing this ban is soooo hypocritical. Stop acting like people that pirate apps are the only ones stealing from Apple.

      • Bob

        How, exactly, does the JB community steal from Apple? Do they not PURCHASE the iPhone? And aren’t updates FREE? Hard to steal free stuff…jeez! Cydia provides an outlet for developers to sell their apps after Apple has rejected them! So as far as “None of the Cydia purchases go to Apple”, Apple had their shot in a lot of instances only to reject it! So their loss! The biggest advantage with a jb is it allows the user to install and use apps that Apple does not deem “worthy” to be allowed in the App store or use features on the iPhone that otherwise you would not be able to. (Which ironically enough, Apple usually decides to include in later iOS updates.) For example, better notifcation system, folders, photo albums, etc…) For that matter, people that use pirated apps are not stealing directly from Apple either. They are stealing from developers that WRITE the apps. My point is that if i0n1c chooses to include a block to prevent pirated apps, then he should have the right to do so WITHOUT everyone getting their panties in a wad! Or write their own jb. Nothing more, nothing less…

      • shrike1978

        Is buying a PC game from EA stealing from Microsoft? Without Microsoft, there is no Windows.

        Nonsensical point is nonsensical…

    • Burk

      Wow Bob. Maybe you should pull your tongue out of developers’ assholes.

      • Bob

        HAHA! Awesome reply, Burk! Did you come up with that one all on your own or did you have someone write it for you? I take it from your comment that you don’t agree that someone who writes software FOR FREE for everyone should have the option to write it how they see fit? (Or am I misinterpreting it?) I love how people don’t actually reply with a valid argument. All they can do is resort to name calling or insults of some sort. That’s ok though…everyone is entitled to their “opinion”. Here’s mine (just in case you missed it the first time) – If you don’t like or appreciate the jb, then DON’T USE IT! That doesn’t sound like a difficult concept but apparently, some people don’t seem to get it…

  • Sage

    Stefan Essar and veence and the entire lot of supertweeters can suck my dick. Pirates will be pirates no matter what you do. Piracy is a legitimate concern of Apple, not yours. Stop like you own Cydia/Apple and get off your fucking high horse.

    What do you know, next thing essar says would be to stop issuing gun licenses. Now when was the last time someone really deserved a point blank shot to the head?

    • Incorrect – piracy isn’t only Apple’s concern. App developers such as myself lose 70% of the revenue, while Apple only loses 30%. Considering they are the company that sold you the device in the first place, I’d say app developers stand to lose far more.

      • Jane

        That’s life. Cry me a river.

  • Eric

    A house divided cannot stand.

  • Xtreme

    Long life to installous & appsync

  • Davewcoble

    That’s why pirates use 2 rule the seas and oceans then enough tech came around 2 stop them most of the pirated are gone now give it enough time and pirates will b decreased n size Jailbreaking Is a good thing bn a pirate just means ur scum and if u support them ur even more of a scum bag


    noooo why please reply

  • Jane

    Like he’s the only developer of jailbreak. Who gives a who.

  • i pirate apps because im a broke asshole that likes to play games and has no credit card. no i dont use installous tho so remove it if you want 😉 learn to ssh and get appsync. google your ipa you want and bingo. see dont always blame installous for pirating apps there is always another way as long as your device is jb.

  • Seth Barnes

    Do remember that if they do that they will make like a super jailbreak to jailbreak the jailbreak