Cydia, the brainchild of Jay Freeman (saurik), is out. What is it? Think Installer, but open source and more features. The technical description, for those who get it, is a GUI front-end for a port of the Debian APT system which saurik himself ported to the iPhone, along with a whole suite of Unix utilities he's also ported.
This isn't a replacement for Installer - I have both installed, and apps from both packagers on my iPhone. Saurik also says the same thing - "Cydia/APT does not conflict with Installer. I run both on my phone and have a large amount of software installed via Installer. There are currently no known compatibility issues between applications that expect BSD Subsystem to be installed and devices running Telesphoreo, and no reason to suspect anything major on that front. Finally, no one is forcing anyone, packagers and users alike, to start using Cydia instead of Installer."
Cydia is easy for you to get on your iPhone - if you've got Installer on your iPhone/iPod Touch, you just add http://apptapp.saurik.com to your sources, and install Cydia Packager from the System category. Give it 5 minutes (its a big install), and you're good to go.
You may notice Cydia is at the moment very developer friendly - many of the available installs are Unix utilities which the average user won't need. ModMyI, and especially francis (of the MMi sponsored DRP Dev Team, and author of WiSync) have been working with saurik to put together a variety of other apps as well - games, themes, utilities, and more. Anything can be installed from Cydia.
So... what's the point? Here's a few features of Cydia:
- Open Source - while this doesn't directly affect the average user, it is incredibly useful for developers, and bugs are also easily reportable via the project's Trac site.
- Search - Cydia has a great built in Search function (screenshots earlier in this post), and also the iPhone's Contacts-style alphabet scroll on the side for quick finding apps you're looking for.
- Resume-able Downloads - You can pause downloads at any time, and resume later. If you lose connection, Cydia will resume downloading as soon as you tell it to.
Bottom line? Saurik has done some incredible work with Cydia. Bringing open source package installing to the iPhone is a first here, and since saurik stresses the fact that Cydia is still under active development, we can expect to see some great improvements to the app, which is already at version 1.0.
Developers - want your app on Cydia? Send cash7c3 or myself a pm with the link to your app, and we'll get it listed within 48 hours.