Dissident and i0n1c on Banning Pirated Apps in iOS 5 Jailbreak

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.