Jay "saurik" Freeman, the creator of Cydia and Winterboard, gave a talk at an independent TED event in California on the fundamental philosophy behind jailbreaking. Given on Binary Day 10/10/10 at the inaugural TEDxAmericanRiviera in Santa Barbara, his talk compared jailbreakers with people who like to tinker with their cars.
In a riff on the old open-source "hood welded shut" analogy, Jay noted how people like to customize their cars, adding things from air-fresheners and radar detectors to custom rims. He also referenced the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act that states that car manufacturers can't void car owners' warranties just by adding third-party accessories. And he explained how phone owners - like car owners - "bond" with their devices, allowing it to "become an external representation of self." However, as we all know, Apple's OS "jails" your experience inside apps. As Apple famously says, "there's an app for that:" their belief is that anything you could want to do with a mobile device can and should be done with an app. Jay explained to his audience why this is not so.
Some of the most useful added functionality that is available to rooted Android devices and jailbroken iPhones, Jay observed, does not come from apps but from tweaks: extensions like custom launchers, dialers, and widgets. In a post on Hacker News, Jay aired his frustration with the argument that Apple should just open up the App Store. "In a future where Apple did exactly what you are asking them to do," Jay wrote, "almost nothing will have changed: people will still need to jailbreak their phones and developers will still be writing and distributing all of this cool software using Cydia."
According to saurik, rather than pushing Apple to open up the Store, we should be pushing to get them to open up their device, and to keep Macs open. "Until users are able to install whatever software they wish on the hardware that they own," he writes, "we will not truly have won back any of our freedom."