Famous iPhone Hacker Comex working on Cydia Substrate alternative called Substitute for iMods

Comex - JailbreakMe hacker

Last month, we brought you an exclusive hands-on of iMods, a promising alternative to Cydia, which has the cornerstone of all things jailbreak.

In an interesting development, Nicholas Allegra a.k.a Comex, a well-known hacker, and is helping the iMods team.

In case, you’re new to the jailbreak community then Comex was the developer behind JailbreakMe and Spirit, which is one of the easiest jailbreaks ever to be released, as it allowed users to jailbreak their iPhone using mobile Safari, and didn’t need a computer. Comex hasn’t been active on the jailbreaking scene ever since he got hired by Apple. Though he later left Apple, and was to work for Google.

Comex is helping the iMods team by developing a substitute for Cydia Substrate (previously called Mobile Substrate) called Substitute. Cydia Substrate, in case you’re not aware, is the powerful framework that powers most tweaks on your jailbroken iOS devices. Substrate makes it easy to modify software, even without the source code, and in a way that allows users to easily choose which changes they want.

The iMods team can’t use the Cydia Substrate as it is not open source, and saurik doesn’t seem to be open to the idea of supporting them. He gave his reasons in the article Competition vs Community. Comex has explained the reasons for working on a Cydia Substrate substitute on the library’s Github page. He strongly believes that “jailbreaking is fundamentally about taking something closed and fixed and opening it up to hacking and modification”.

He writes:

[T]his one is more subjective, but it’s also probably the most important. The way I see it, jailbreaking is fundamentally about taking something closed and fixed and opening it up to hacking and modification: perhaps allowing a mess to be made, but quite possibly ending up with something unique and different. This ideal of openness is very similar to that of free software, and I therefore believe that it’s in the spirit of jailbreaking to make as much low-level stuff open as possible, both for inspection and modification by curious users (who, after gaining knowledge that way, might end up becoming quite valuable to the community). Polished tweaks that are sold commercially are one thing (although they too benefit from general openness, especially the ones with a lot of reverse engineering behind them, since the same reverse engineering can often support multiple use cases), but the underlying framework is another – especially since it’s free of charge, removing at least the most obvious motivation for closing source.

At the moment, Substitute is still in early stages of development, and not in alpha stages yet. But by helping iMods, Comex has certainly given the iMods a lot more credibility. It remains to be seen if and when they will eventually launch iMods, and what kind of impact it has on Cydia, and more importantly on saurik’s commitment to the jailbreak community, which has been exemplary.

But, a talented hacker like Comex joining the jailbreak community again is the biggest positive, and we hope that he and saurik can work things out with developers of iMods.

What do you think of the possibility of a Cydia alternative? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Fl3mez

    Cydia for life!!!

    • Smartest Dev

      Cydia is old and obsolete. Hasn’t been updated in years.

      • Moinul Alam

        really? It has new tweaks and stuff regularly. What do you use instead?

        • Fl3mez

          Lol sorry is that a replay to me or him?

        • Smartest Dev

          Tweaks are from developers. Which is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the base Cydia.

          Old tweaks that no longer work.
          Dull UI back from iOS 3

          Even the front page of Cydia has outdated information.

      • Mike C.

        I agree 100%. Jailbreaking is about bringing new ideas. No need to wallow in obsolete. If you’re satisfied with that just use vanilla ios. I for one welcome openess, NEW and competition.
        Cydia is like windows XP. Upgraded again and again but it really is based on old software. It needed to be rebulit from the ground up.
        Old and comfortable is not always the best

  • Juice

    I disagree with the creation of imods. Instead of trying to cause division within the jailbreak Community ( which imods will) they should all work together with saurik to make cydia even more amazing then what it already id’s and bring the features and ideas top cydia to make it a better user friendly Store. Fur example the no respring feature that is said to be brought by imods, they should bring the idea and game plan to wait in and work with him on it. The last thing we would want is for saurik to get discouraged and begin to not dedicate himself as much to the community over this.

  • Juice

    Sorry for the misspelling. Auto correct can be bad sometimes. Lol.

  • Djabula

    I’m not interested in imods. I use cydia for 5 years now I belive and I don’t want everything to change. It’s a familiar and easy to use interface it has almost every thing that I want in it and for the time and effort saurik dedicated to develop this and make it work every time a new ios was out I will never be trade him. This an an awsome community with awsome people’s and I don’t want anything to change. Every morning when I wake up the first thing I do is checking out what is new in cydia for 5 years now and I don’t want that to change. Thanks you saurik and all the team and guy’s that made jailbreaking possible and functional for giving us the opportunity to use your work mostly free. Cydia 4 ever.

  • aamoos

    It will destroy the jailbreak scene.

  • Smartest Dev

    You’re confused with content on Cydia and Cydia itself.

    Compare Cydia to the AppStore and you’ll see what I mean.

    Changes to the AppStore compared to changes to Cydia.

    AppStore worked very hard on UI/UX
    Cydia just adds a little support for each iOS update and nothing more. Horrible UI and VERY horrible UX

    • Fl3mez

      It’s because of Cydia we have all these tweeks and plugins in one place. With Cydia u just add a respitory and search for the plugin and download it, doesn’t seemvery complicated to me and it shouldn’t be that hard to navigate for for the “smartest developer” . The apple App Store had an entire team building it and working on it, and you may not know this but they got paid for working hourly so it’s exptected their UI and everything is better, because let’s face it what would be better? An army of engineers and developers with hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal or a couple of developers?

      • Smartest Dev

        You seem to be confused about UI and UX. Please research the terms. It’s very clear you are not a developer, and probably will never be. Of course anyone can “navigate” on Cydia. Finding stuff through outdated tweaks is another thing. A developer with a sense of UX would have the app auto detect the device and filter tweaks and plugins confirmed working for that OS. How about making developers upload a screenshot of their app or tweak to standardize content. Cydia is obsolete. Horrible design, horrible UI and terrible UX.

        The AppStore was probably coded by a team of 3 developers… get real. Army of developers.., you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Army of developers working in teams on different projects… in rare cases will you find more than 5 software developers working on a single project.

  • snapmau5

    Cydia > All

  • Jestascape

    Cydia is sick id like to try an alternative out but think id stay with saurik as hes kept my iphone and many others from being boring for so long cheers saurik

  • Drusenija

    This isn’t about Cydia though – if someone wanted to release a new “App Store” using the underlying package manager Cydia uses, the two could coexist quite happily.

    This is about Substrate, and the API it provides to tweak developers. Saurik closed off the source after the Rock store tried to do exactly this (anyone remember “Rock Extensions”?). All the work the iMods team are doing could still get released through Cydia – it just means the next tweak you install will probably pull in “Mobile Substitite” as a dependency, and depending on how nicely (or not) that plays with Substrate, may also tell you to remove all your other tweaks.