iMods este o noua competitoare a Cydia despre care v-am vorbit in cursul zilelor trecute, ea fiind in acest moment dezvoltata pentru lansare oficiala in perioada urmatoare. Pentru ca vorbim despre o competitoare serioasa pentru a sa Cydia, creatorul celei din urma aplicatii a vorbit intr-un text extrem de lung despre implicatiile pe care le are lansarea acestei platforme, dar si despre oferta de parteneriat facuta de catre creatorii sai.
Totul vine ca o completare la informatiile publicate de catre saurik la inceputul saptamanii in legatura cu comunitatea si competitia facuta in lumea jailbreak-ului, informatiile de acum fiind conectate cu acelea. Ca sa fiu sincer, saurik are obiceiul de a complica lucrurile si a scrie peste 1500 de cuvinte in legatura cu iMods denota doar faptul ca el este ingrijorat in legatura cu viitorul Cydia, mai ales ca relatia sa cu dezvoltatorii solutiilor de jailbreak este departe de a fi stabila.
Something I said in my article, which I stand by, is that if someone first spends a bunch of time building a competitor, and only then afterwards says “hey, can we work together”, it calls into question whether the person even understands what it means to “work together”.
iMods was not actually the example I had in mind: the company with the “deep pocketed investors” (whom I will not name, so don’t ask) that contacted me last week ended up getting some confused responses from me followed by a “nastygram” about this same competition topic.
However, we are now seeing something similar here: a sudden and entirely structureless pitch for a “partnership”. In their zeal to try to extend the emergency olive branch, they seem to be forgetting that they are pitched as my competitor… I can’t just “partner” with that.
Sure, they claim they aren’t competing, but if you read anything they are saying it comes down to “Cydia does X, we think X can be done better, we are going to be doing X better”: just because what they do is only a part of what I attempt does not exempt them as a competitor.
Something else I said in my article, which I stand by, is that “working together” starts by making friends (which takes time!), not picking fights: the people from iMods are not in the community, no one knows who they are, and they don’t hang around on IRC or forums.
The argument I put forward in my article was that friends are in a position to help each other in a way that random people are not, and I pointed out that picking a fight with someone is even further from this: making you an enemy instead of a friend.
When a friend comes to you and says “hey, I have a great idea” or “I was looking at this stuff, have you seen it? it is really cool”, it is from a place of trust and cooperation: it results in people working together to learn and improve. I applaud when this happens.
On the exact other side, when someone you don’t know says “you aren’t doing a good job, I could help you do better”, it is more than an implicit insult, and doesn’t have any of the trust. If they further say “I already did better, and I’m going to win”, well, that’s just combative.
The very first post to iMods’ Twitter account, in February, was a retweet of someone saying “Starting tomorrow and the years following @iMODS1 is going to TAKE OVER. You heard it from me first. Stay tuned.”: this is not the attitude of a noncombatant :(.
Their second post–about not seeing themselves a “Cydia alternative” (which does not mean not competing!)–is in response to an article by theiostream (a name that I imagine many here will recognize), also written in February, about why iMods, in his words, “would suck”.
In his article, he analyzes their website, which sadly is no longer up and wasn’t archived. This website (in February), was one of our first introductions to iMods, and I think that a lot of people who are only seeing iMods now are lacking some of the context.
Something else I said in my article, which I stand by, is that no one should expect to be entitled to the work of others: I did not, in fact, say anything about “sharing”, I talked about “community” and “working together”, which is a fundamentally different concept.
Some people consider them the same: they see “working together” and they think “anarchist commune”. My guess is that this is as common as it is because “working together” is so foreign to the default strategies people see in a culture that encourages competition and picking fights.
I actually don’t. I am not certain yet in what I believe with regards to “copyright”, but I don’t automatically presume that all content in the world should be open source, or that “all information was meant to be free”: the reason being that I value and respect the people who constructed the works I use.
This leads to some of the statements that I’ve made during all of this, such as that I have no issue with Microsoft keeping IE closed source, but I do take issue with Apple and Google (in particular, Chrome for Android) keeping parts of their browsers closed while claiming to be open and building on the backs of WebCore.
They thereby end up entirely mischaracterizing the value of various projects I have by primarily defining them in terms of value to iMods and leaving out the massive discussion in my article about how each fits into a larger picture that allows me to be involved in the community at all.
To iMods, they see Substrate as value they want to use for free, and they don’t appreciate having to have been put on a quest to find one of the few people who would enjoy sitting around trying to re-implement the thing for them. They argue that it should be “shared”.
However, Substrate does not make any money; it certainly couldn’t make enough money for me to spend any time maintaining it: instead, that comes from selling paid products. But everyone, not just iMods, wants that money, and to get that money they need Substrate.
To protect Cydia from “commercial incursion” is the big reason Substrate has been closed source for most of its life and why its license changed during the small period of time it wasn’t (before I realized that was not sufficient): that the way users and developers assign value does not assign any to Substrate.
I also take extreme issue with iMods’ characterization that they do not want to compete with Cydia: Cydia actually does have a lot of end users, and these users are often the people actually paying for things. They do, in fact, want to compete with Cydia “the business”.
This response is thereby somewhat awkward, and I think misses a lot of the point: to “work together” with Cydia on improving the experience for end users involves becoming a member of the community (which they aren’t), befriending its members, and then helping within it.
This is how other people in the community have helped: the UI of Cydia was almost entirely rewritten at one point by Grant, because at that point he’d become friends with everyone and that sounded like fun; Ryan has also contributed tons of useful fixes to Cydia’s UI.
In particular, it does not involve building, from scratch, a replacement for our work, and then only after I say “you realize you are competing with me and I’d leave, right?”–a statement I should not even have to make–suddenly saying “wait, maybe we work together?”.
It isn’t even clear what it would mean to “work together”, given that they are pretty adamant about wanting to compete on the part that funds my work: the part that they can see as being profitable. What they really want is to take that part for themselves and their vision.
They now also have suddenly come out of nowhere with a pitch to share revenue. I have no details in my inbox, nor is it clear what this would mean. It also kind of sweeps under the rug (as others here have pointed out) my comments that app stores aren’t that profitable anyway.
For a few reasons, though, I’m dubious, because to some extent I see taking money they offer in exchange for being on-board with them as “selling the community out”. I would rather just leave (again, something I get to say: you can’t tell me I’m obligated to stay here and give anyone my time).
The first is that I think the model of allowing anyone to post content to their own repository is really important, and the users that would be lost to an iMods-style experience (more likely if I “help”) would be a depressing loss to the rest of the open community.
In particular, I think that even if all that is seen is the commercial/paid attention leaving the repository ecosystem, that would be extremely painful and disappointing: there is something magical about having everyone “playing in the same sandbox” that “iMods vs. Cydia” loses.
I also think that putting people who are trying to capitalize on this part of the ecosystem into a position of having more power and more allies changes the character of the community: it becomes something I might not have wanted to join in the first place, honestly.
Next, as users here have not had as much context on iMods as many of us in the core developer community have had, I am going to give everyone the e-mail sent by iMods to developers in February (link) that was most of our first experience with the iMods pitch.
(Note that this e-mail was marked with a boilerplate “CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE”, but unless you get someone to agree to an NDA ahead of time, they are meaningless: it has been pointed out by many law firms that sticking on at the end of an e-mail makes even less sense.)
(No one asked to receive this e-mail, and many did not appreciate having been targetted by it: it is effectively spam. This is why those who received it had no issue sending it to me, and I have no issue publishing or here. I have redacted information about recipients.)
This initial e-mail leads with “we are an iOS development team from the United States trying to legitimize the Jailbreaking community and make it profitable on a larger scale” and comes off exactly as I would expect for the usual “seize monetization opportunity” model.
This e-mail also goes out of its way to claim they can stop piracy… even if their app is fundamentally incapable of installing repositories, unless they control the jailbreak tool and obfuscate it to the point where no alternatives get constructed, that clearly makes no sense :/.
Finally, I think it is important to point out to people what competition as a “store” means: it does not, at least directly, imply working to improve UI; it means working to obtain exclusive content relationships, as content is what makes people decide to shop at a store or not: it is what you can buy that matters.
So, even if you are one of those people who does find competition motivating and useful, please know that you might not be the battlefield in which these commercial-competitor competitions is fought: it is attempting to sway developers of specifically-paid products.
In fact, it diverts attention away from you: the extent to which I would “bunker down” to compete against iMods will be on random things to help the paid developer community, putting on hold any other projects I have (in particular long-term things I’ve been working on, like “reinventing the development model”).