July 18, 2024
RiP Dev Announces Lightweight Alternative to Cydia

RiP Dev Announces Lightweight Alternative to Cydia

Posted March 29, 2009 at 12:08pm by iClarified
RiP Dev has announced Icy, a lightweight alternative to Cydia for installing jailbroken iPhone applications. The installer is compatible with existing Cydia repositories and will remain free.

In the process of working on InstallerApp, we have extensively investigated how the technology behind Cydia works. Essentially, Cydia is a front-end to two open source technologies - APT and DPKG. DPKG is a system that installs and removes specially prepared packages (.deb files). APT allows these files to be organized in network "repositories" to be indexed and downloaded. Due to the highly unoptimal build of DPKG (as Jay Freeman, the author of Cydia, admits it in his article about Cydia) we had to compile DPKG and the tools needed from scratch. As a result, the same set of tools take only a little over than 1 megabyte as opposed to 32 installed by Cydia.

While testing Cydia support for InstallerApp, we of course had to use Jay's creation a lot. And unfortunately it felt slow, and overloaded. We thought, well, why not make our own front-end to DPKG? It would be compatible with Cydia, but be focused on speed, elegance and be very, very thin. So one of our programmers sat down and made up in a week a new alternative installer that we are proud to reveal to you today, named Icy.

IcyIcy 1.0 is pretty simple, and we plan on keeping it that way. It will only refresh repositories when you tell it to, and will not scroll pages of cool looking terminal text when installing or removing a package. Instead, it presents the installation process in a friendly and cool manner - enhanced with crisp black and white interface featuring icons by quite famous artist Max Rudberg. Icy uses the same DPKG that Cydia does, but without APT that handles downloading of repository indeces and packages - we chose to use a combination of libcurl and sqlite for that.

Icy only downloads headers when refreshing repositories, so it won't download again the indeces that were not changed - this saves on your traffic and makes the refreshes faster. It will pick up existing Cydia repositories and also will allow you to add more through its Add Source interface.

When we saw that Apple is moving towards supporting landscape mode more in the upcoming 3.0 firmware, we thought - hey, landscape is useful when browsing, too! So Icy supports landscape as well.

Icy will always remain free. Despite what some people may think, we are not blind and we see what tremendious job Jay (saurik) Freeman and community source repository owners (such as The Big Boss, Fabiano Confuorto and others) have done over the past year - and this is our way to say "thank you" to them. We hope you will enjoy the "new kid on the block" - and we have extensive plans on enhancing it in the future versions - for example, 1.1 will have, among other things, a dependency graph for the packages.

This being said, we will be slowly phasing out support of Installer 4 in favor of Icy and soon-to-be-announced Installer 5. Since we're a commercial entity with over 10 people in staff, we have the dedication and resources to make sure Icy and Installer exist and grow peacefully together with Cydia.

RiP Dev Announces Lightweight Alternative to Cydia
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Comments (26)
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Nina - July 1, 2009 at 1:36am
TYPO: I meant to say I was never a fan of INSTALLER not Cydia. and English is not my first language so sorry for all other typos :)
demesne - March 30, 2009 at 11:30am
I don't get the rational behind Icy.. They could have helped improve cydia instead.. The only good outcome of this i feel is .. shaurik will make cydia even better !! cheers :)
Ptpooh - March 30, 2009 at 7:04am
Does not work on my phone. I install it from cydia, i get the icon in springboard but when i select it open and close the apllication. Not working. I tried to reinstall, and the same thing happen. Try to remove, but i gat a message saying that will remove files needed to iphone to work correctly. I restore my phone with the 2.2.1 firmware, but i get the same thing. It open and then close automatically. Thanks
Cyber Mafia
Cyber Mafia - March 30, 2009 at 3:14am
Got another news Rip Dev is secretly powered by group called WnW Group. and this group host and store all the sqlite info in there Data Center located in New York.
Number_41 - March 29, 2009 at 8:34pm
Must say, its working pretty well so far. N41
anthonycr - March 29, 2009 at 4:18pm
I was wondering how to get Icy? I have a jailbroken iPhone 3G with Cydia and Installer (do i just download it from Cydia or where?)
FadetoBlack - March 29, 2009 at 3:51pm
Cydia has worked perfectly fine for me.. I find no reason for me to install this icyicy program..
Kyle Flanagan
Kyle Flanagan - March 30, 2009 at 4:08am
Same here. Somehow, I don't find the same motivation to click 'Installer' every morning like I do with Cydia. So, unless Jay Freeman comes up with a new alternative, I'll stay put with Cydia.
Cody - March 29, 2009 at 3:11pm
ouch. slammed by saurik. well it looks really cool and clean, i like that it wont take 1min to refresh sources every time i open it up. cydia has gotten really slow and tedious in recent releases. we'll see if icy lasts. i, for one, am excited to try it out
Jay Freeman (saurik)
Jay Freeman (saurik) - March 29, 2009 at 4:05pm
Cydia has gotten nothing but faster for the last half a year. Some users have gotten confused by the new Reloading Data indication to believe that it is slower, but it used to do the same work /and lock up the user interface while it did it/. That release actually made that process /much/ faster as well. Seriously: I do careful benchmarking of Cydia as I work on it, and I am not making any CDs changes that male it run slower. As for the refresh speed, Icy makes two claims: the first is that it refreshes faster. This I false. For one, Cydia also only downloads updated files (the only program that ever didn't do this was Installer). However, Cydia also can use server-side diff indices to only download the one or two new packages when it does download something. Most repositories don't use this, but Ste does, for example, and I occasionally have worked with BigBods to get his repository hooked up as well. This is another of those awesome features Icy lost by reimplementing APT. As for the forced refresh, I am looking into better UIs for this. This is actually something that repository owners really appreciate as of means that users don't continue to get days old buggy software, something that was really common in the Installer days. I think this as one of the features BigBoss, for example, liked most about Cydia. The repository structure also has the problem that users get weird errors if they have old indices that you can't /know/ are due to that underlying problem. That said, I agree that refreshing often when you are on Edge/3G sucks. I am looking into refresh tradeoffa that make sense here.
Cody - March 30, 2009 at 1:22am
I apologize saurik. I didn't mean to offend; you're right, maybe it is faster but the reloading dialogue definitely gave me the impression we for some reason had a whole 'nother hoop to jump through before getting a package installed. I'm not a developer and I'm just driven by whatever is new and shiny. You're right to be concerned about icy damaging existing systems; but that being said I think icy is at least trying something new and maybe you could learn a few things from each other. For what it's worth, I've championed cydia in the past and have always found it much more intelligently designed than installer ever was. Thanks for all your hard work, really :D. Hopefully all of this stuff gets worked out.
Jay Freeman (saurik)
Jay Freeman (saurik) - March 29, 2009 at 3:04pm
One thing that should be noted: they decided to reimplement APT, and they didn't reimplement it well. They only support package dependencies, for example: they ignore any information on conflicts. The sad part of this whole thing is that Icy, like Installer, is something that users occasionally find interesting for some reason or another, but which makes the lives of the people running the repositories where you get your software, and the developers they work with, a living hell.
Number_41 - March 29, 2009 at 9:31pm
try to be more respectful next time? seriously.
Jay Freeman (saurik)
Jay Freeman (saurik) - March 29, 2009 at 9:33pm
I'm sorry you took my comments that way. The problem I'm having is only one of support requests. :( By not having supported these important features of APT they start to fracture the packaging community. I want to make certain that users understand what is going on when they make choices about products like this. Frankly, if I'm a dick at all it is because I'm /not/ insecure about Icy, even though everyone thinks I should be (in essence, probably I'm arrogant, not insecure ;P). I seriously just don't want people to be misinformed /before/ I get tons of e-mails with questions about "why doesn't Cydia do X" or "when I install your package with Icy it broke X".
Jay Freeman (saurik)
Jay Freeman (saurik) - March 29, 2009 at 9:36pm
(I hate how this comments interface doesn't do true threading. My comment was a reply to rubiks, as I'm /assuming/ n41's also was, but there's no way to be certain.)
Number_41 - March 29, 2009 at 9:38pm
you are correct... also...http://www.hackint0sh.org/forum/f127/69269.htm N41
iClarified - March 29, 2009 at 10:02pm
@rubiks, we try to be as non opinionated here as possible (ie report the news ); however, if Icy does not address conflicts i would agree that there is bound to be some serious problems in the future. That said I would expect them to improve upon version 1.0. BTW, with all the work saurik has put into the iPhone community he definitely isn't a dick...
LJBonlione - March 30, 2009 at 12:10am
Im with saurik on this one. This is a "too good to be true" situation. Yea its straight to the point with its interface and doesnt refresh sources every load up but Cydia has been around much longer and like he also said the developers (well I mean not the everyday user) are the ones taking hits. Im sure saurik can implement the same features Icy has (like the option not to refresh sources on load) and also if he feels its needed improve the UI. Installer 4 does have a very nice UI design and is not laggy at all. But even saurik knows Cydia is slow, he even mentioned it at i360 Dev a while back. People just need to adjust and get used to waiting, its not a big deal.
LJBonlione - March 30, 2009 at 12:16am
One more thing, reading through the comments under saurik's first post, Im seeing people are calling him a dick. That really sets me off, saurik has done so much helping the jailbreak community (such as Cydia, Cycorder, WinterBoard, MobileSubstrate, Cydia Store, etc) and then people are calling him a dick for "hating" on Icy. Ha, the haters should be happy saurik doesnt fight back like some angry developers do.
Kyle Flanagan
Kyle Flanagan - March 30, 2009 at 4:14am
And Jay, you rock! Your creativity & style never ceases to amaze me. And that's a compliment with much respect :)
Irwan - March 30, 2009 at 5:26am
attnck - March 30, 2009 at 6:29am
I hated installer and when Cydia was released I was thanking the heavens, sure it took some time to work out a few things but it was worth the wait, it had many things I wanted that were missing from Installer. I must admit however that Landscape Mode will be useful. I think all apps should work no mater how your holding the device. It would help when parts of the screen stop functioning. And what happened to batch installing?
Jay Freeman (saurik)
Jay Freeman (saurik) - March 30, 2009 at 7:15am
Cydia has batch installing, but it is kind of a weird UI. Hitting Cancel on the Confirm screen will let you "Continue Queuing". As for landscape, I can see it being useful in the web browser, but the rest of the information is designed to be narrow. Personally, I agree with the idea, but I phrase it: I want the app to work no matter how I'm sitting down. ;P If I'm lying on my bed, on my side, I don't want it to rotate the screen. The only real reason half these apps rotate is to give you a landscape keyboard, and you are only going to be spending time typing into the web views. That said, I'm working on this support, as I'm intending on having you type /a lot/ into webviews in the near future in Cydia ;P.
Lusu - March 30, 2009 at 10:07am
While opinions are split in 2 groups, calling people names is rude at least. Cydia started slow but then it was a storm. Saurik did a great job for all of us, no questions about it, so he deserves the proper credit. While nobody can say that a new interface will be nicer/more useful/better or not, breaking things is a big deal and we should all be informed about that. I'm pretty sure that saurik is working hard on features, bug-fixes and optimisations and all suggestions to his products are welcome. If there will be a real 100% compatible alternative that may be faster/better community will probably switch like it happened in the past with Installer-2-Cydia. A little competition is not bad at all, on the contrary it will help us grow to better products.
Kyle Flanagan
Kyle Flanagan - April 1, 2009 at 10:05am
Microsoft Buys Cydia on Cydia Home. Good one Jay. Ah, the joys of April 1st & you've been made. I actually saw the video too so does that mean I've been made? - LOL
Armando (XjSv)
Armando (XjSv) - June 30, 2009 at 3:18pm
Agreed i personally do not like icy not only because it lacks many needed features but from a end user point of view it feels like its only doing half a job. id rather wait a couple of min and know the app installed correctly then do it in 10 sec and have it crash everytime
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