Early on the Sunday before Christmas, an iOS 7 jailbreak was released, carrying the moniker evasi0n7.
It was a sudden release - the evad3rs' (the team who release the jailbreak) last tweet had been 53 days previous, saying they were working on the iOS 7 jailbreak... and hoodies. We published an iOS 7 jailbreak tutorial, and the jailbreak community considered this Beyoncé-like surprise jailbreak a Christmas miracle.
45 minutes later, however, a hint of intrigue appeared as @saurik tweeted a series of tweets explaining he'd had no knowledge of the impending release, nor early access to include an official build of Cydia in the jailbreak. He mentioned specifically there would be issues with Mobile Substrate - and indeed it seemed the release did not allow MS tweaks to work "out of the box."
The evad3rs (comprised of @pimskeks, @planetbeing, and @pod2g) replied, mostly through @pod2g's Twitter account, saying they'd release a fix soon for the MS issues.
We are working heavily on fixing first issues with the initial release of the jailbreak. We have and we'll update the FAQ on the website.— pod2g (@pod2g) December 22, 2013
Users began reporting the evasi0n jailbreak was bundling a different app than Cydia for users whose default computer language was set to Chinese - a Chinese app store called TaiG. @saurik and others found examples of piracy in the TaiG app.
At the same time, rumors began to circulate the evad3rs had been paid to include this app for Chinese users.
As the situation unfolded, a recorded phone message between Geohot (on Twitter lately as tomcr00se) and an unknown person apparently acting as an intermediary for a company in China was released, in which Geohot offered to sell an iOS 7 jailbreak, minus a critical piece which the other party could provide.
The evad3rs responded with a letter to the community addressing the questions. The letter states yes, they were approached by a Chinese company to bundle an app with the jailbreak, only for Chinese users. They had agreed to do so, under the stipulation Cydia also be allowed to be installed, and TaiG be able to be removed.
They assure users safety and security are top concerns, as always, in this jailbreak - and each member has taken numerous stands in the past in favor of high security, as well as against piracy. They specifically mention the high scrutiny security researchers focus on jailbreak software, and that the contract with TaiG has language forbidding piracy in the TaiG app. The letter goes so far as to state if TaiG cannot resolve the piracy, the evad3rs will remove TaiG from the jailbreak. Still, one has to imagine this piracy was present and easily recognizable in the app beforehand?
The evad3rs go into detail of their acceptance of the offer, and mentioning it to saurik. They say saurik counter-offered (whom is not clear) and began work with a separate team to attempt a jailbreak release before evasi0n7.
Saurik comments about this on Twitter, saying he agreed to work on a separate jailbreak with a goal of finding a jailbreak solution which didn't include a "piracy-laden" bundled app. He also expresses frustration at the rushed launch, and mentions he handed an iOS 7 compatible version of Mobile Substrate out September 30th.
I guess I don't understand "we really wanted TaiG's deal, so when we heard a rumor of an open jailbreak we were rushed: shame on saurik". :/— Jay Freeman (saurik) (@saurik) December 22, 2013
The evad3rs decided to push for first release, knowing Cydia, MS, and various tweaks would be updated soon after.
Creating a jailbreak is difficult, long work done by talented developers and security researchers. The professionals who do this are highly skilled and now extremely knowledgable with years of background in iOS. The issue of compensation is not frustrating - as one user on reddit mentioned, "I get paid to work, too." The bundling of a separate app for Chinese users with the ability to install Cydia alongside it doesn't even seem all that surprising; other package managers have been bundled in jailbreaks before, although the fragmentation of security patches should be stated as an issue.
The general frustration is twofold:
- A lack of information divulgence - TaiG is installed without the user being made aware, by default (only for users whose computer language is set to Chinese).
- Developers of major tweaks and Cydia itself were not given advance access to the jailbreak, making for a problematic jailbreak release for general users.
Both points will be moot in a week as developers struggle to quickly release updates and work on fixes for iOS 7 compatibility. Frustrations are high today as the team who created the jailbreak are running on little sleep in the past three days of release scramble, top tweak authors look for pre-Christmas time to fit in compatibility updates, and saurik rushes to put finishing touches on iOS versions of Substrate, Winterboard, Cydia, and other tweaks (which were being worked on, of course, but now must be done in a hurry).
The story continues to unfold, and is interesting in it's public peek into the business side of the jailbreak world. The evad3rs should be congratulated for their work - it's a great tool which has taken an extreme amount of work. The lack of cooperation between the various parties who make a jailbreak fun for a user on release day is frustrating. Most users equate "jailbreak" not with the ability to gain write access to their phone's filesystem, but a certain suite of tweaks or apps they love.
In other words - wait a few days on this one unless you're a power user.