The Package Managers Comparison

Discussion in 'iOS Jailbreak & Cydia' started by spoonforknife, May 13, 2009.

  1. spoonforknife

    spoonforknife Retired Moderator

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    The Overview

    As many of you may know, there are currently five package managers which can install packages directly on your iPod: The App Store, Cydia, Installer 4, Icy, and Kryptes. There are more, but due to the fact that I have morals, they won't be included in this review.

    The App Store
    The App Store was the first medium of installing applications on the 2.x firmwares, existing before Cydia and Installer 4 came onto the 2.x scene. Manufactured by Apple, the App Store is the only official package manager for the iPhone/iPod touch that can be obtained without jailbreaking.

    Cydia
    Cydia was the first jailbreak package manager for 2.x, and has continued to excel. It's creator, Jay Freeman, is also the developer of innovative packages such as WinterBoard and Mobile Substrate. Cydia has also featured the Cydia Store, an alternative to the App Store which sells applications on Cydia, such as SwirlyMMS², an MMS application. Cydia is the most popular package manager, being featured in such publications like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

    Installer 4
    Installer 4 is the continuation of the wildly successful Installer 3 on the 1.x firmwares. Installer 3 was originally developed by Nullriver, Inc. and was then transferred to RiP Dev, a group of Russian iPhone Developers, creators of Kate and Kali Anti-Piracy.

    Icy
    Icy is the spinoff of Cydia, using the same dpkg utilized in Cydia, but instead using libcurl to download repositories. Developed by RiP Dev, who also makes Installer 4 and InstallerApp (for the mac), Icy is intended as a lightweight counterpart to be used in conjunction with Cydia.

    Kryptes
    Kryptes is a newcomer to the package manager crowd and was released fairly recently by the user-maintained Sleepers.net repository. Based off of Cydia, Kryptes only loads the Sleepers.net repository and nothing else, making it an exclusive package manager for the Sleepers repository.

    The Graphics

    The App Store
    Overall, the App Store is a beautiful application. It listing reviews, ratings, and prices in a very elegant manner. The table that lists the applications also uses a pleasing alternate color scheme, which alternates light and dark grey for each cell.

    The App Store's icon is quite nice and carries over the analogy from the iTunes store icon. It basically looks like the iTunes Store icon except in blue with the Apple Applications logo on it.

    Cydia
    Cydia is lacking in the graphics department. Developed by a single person who admits he is not even close to being a graphic designer, Cydia really doesn't look that bad. However, when installing an application, it scrolls by lines of code which tell you what's going on. I find this useful, but others do not like how this looks and can thus be considered a downfall in the graphic design department. Cydia doesn't look very bad. It just doesn't look very good either.

    It's icon, a brown tinted version of the App Store's icon with a package in the center, looks pretty good, and complements iTunes' and the App Store's icon style.

    Installer 4
    Installer 4 uses the same alternating grey table style as the App Store, and provides a nice colored folder, icon, or repository icon next to each package for easy identification. Everything has an icon text to it. This really helps with drawing parallels between Installer and the App Store for new users. In addition, it's also great being able to identify packages so easily.

    However, Installer 4's icon is sorely lacking attention to detail. It uses the old Installer 3's icon and puts a generic download arrow onto it. While this actual looks pretty good, the icon is too big. It goes over Springboard shadow and is slightly bigger and offset from other icons.

    Icy
    Icy is the only client that intentionally advertises itself as "themeable," even though others can just as easily be themed with WinterBoard. Icy is solely black and white, with a nice installation mechanism that scrolls from glyph to glyph to show the various stages of installation.

    Icy's icon is a very realistic looking blue ice cube with the "speed lines" stolen from the App Store icon. It's also semi-transparent, which is kind of cool if you use a custom wallpaper with WinterBoard.

    Kryptes
    The actual interface of Kryptes consists mostly of alert sheets and webviews. The site is not pretty. Kryptes also tries to imitate the dark and light grey alternating table view utilized in the App Store and Installer 4. Not only does it look nothing like the previous two patterns, but is too light and occasionally glitches up at the bottom of the view.

    Kryptes' icon is a square. A very ugly square with a fancy looking K in the middle of it with an overdone metal gradient. They didn't even take the time to use a rounded rectangle, like every other application. In addition, the icon is several pixels smaller than others, making it look like a midget next to other icons.

    The Winner: The App Store wins the graphical design round. No matter how cool Icy's installation mechanism looks, the App Store wins this hands down. Kryptes looks like crap and Cydia doesn't look good either. Installer's graphics, however pretty, load too slowly. In addition, Installer's graphics have some attention to detail issues.

    The App Store has featured graphics, rendered icons, overlays, and an oft-imitated table view style. It also garners a clear win in the graphic design category.

    Speediness

    The App Store
    The App Store is fast. It downloads things from Apple's own servers, but due to the fact that it uses its own mechanism to install applications including an "encryption" that writes the application's UDID as the file name and what not, the App Store is a bit slower than some others.

    Cydia
    One of the main complaints with Cydia is that it is extremely slow. The rabid crowd grew even larger after its developer added progress meters to "load data" after completing very minute tasks.

    However, Cydia excels at refreshing sources due to its incredible use of APT and only downloads the changed parts of repositories. That's the only fast thing it does. Other than that, Cydia is quite slow at installing packages, adding sources, and basically everything else.

    Nevertheless, Cydia can queue packages, meaning that you can install multiple packages at a time. This saves a bit of time and almost makes up for its extreme sluggishness in basically every other area.

    Installer 4
    Installer 4 has some issues with speed. While it installs packages at a reasonable rate, Installer 4 must load all of the pretty graphics next to the package info. This creates a small slowdown. Refreshing a source may also take a bit longer than some of the other offers.

    Icy
    As an application built for speed, Icy succeeds greatly, being the fastest cat in town for a variety of purposes. It opens speedily, scrolls speedily, but fails epically at refreshing sources. For me, it took 1.5 times as long to refresh sources because of RiP Dev's refusal to use APT. Unlike Cydia, it must redownload the entire repository, rather than simply download the changed parts.

    However, Icy is much, much faster than anything else at installing a package. With its slick animation in installing packages, installation slowdowns become a thing of the past. Icy is very fast.

    Kryptes
    Kryptes is quite fast, but but this might be because you can only install themes and other extremely small packages from Sleepers.net on it. It's really quite hard to tell, but Kryptes opens fairly fast, scrolls well, and works quite quickly.

    The Winner:Icy is fast. It is very fast. If it refreshed sources faster it would win even more.

    Functionality

    The App Store
    The App Store works very, very well. However, due to its limitations, it hardly has many of the features that are staples in jailbreak package managers, such as the hiding of categories. The App Store does have featured packages, top packages, recent packages, reviews, ratings, screenshots, and everything else working wonderfully.

    I have run into a few issues with the App Store. For some reason, it will download about half of an application, stop and then say that it isn't possible to download. This issue cleared itself up on its own.

    Cydia
    Cydia probably has the most functionality of all of the jailbreak package managers. It provides a nice array of features, including the installation of Cydia Store packages, which cannot be done on any other client. Cydia also allows for the viewing of remaining space, and provides this in a nice pie chart. Cydia also has the standard features of searching, top packages, recent packages, category sorting, hiding of categories, source adding, source refreshing, etc.

    Cydia's home page, which is a website, provides useful tutorials such as "How to SSH," and "How to start developing," which are useful for many users. Cydia can also queue packages, saving quite a bit of time as well. Cydia also provides a very handy list of sources to add on the front page, along with news and alerts about upgrading.

    Installer 4
    Installer 4 works fairly well. It features categories, top packages, featured packages, searching, and that's about it. It doesn't have a list of sources to add, so one has to hunt them down, and many of the times that I tried installing a package, the package didn't work, it didn't install properly, or didn't install at all. This happened when I tried to install Kate.

    Also, when removing a package, Installer seemed to simply ignore the actual removal of the package and just say it did, as my RiP Dev Preference pane is still sitting unhappily in my Preferences application.

    Icy
    Icy has a lot of nice features that are included in other applications as well. It provides the hiding of categories, searching, recent packages, source adding, and refreshing. It also has a very nice preference of refreshing on launch. On adding a source, a list of preselected sources (such as BigBoss) appear on the screen for installation. I'm not really sure why one would have preinstalled sources available for adding.

    Icy's package view screen does not have a depiction, meaning you cannot see what the application is about, no screenshots, or anything, until you hit the blue arrow. This takes away much needed advertising revenue from repository owners and package uploaders. It also keeps the depiction away from the user in a difficult and somewhat hard to find way. Icy cannot tell if there is a depiction or not, so the blue arrow will show up no matter what.

    Kryptes
    I tried installing a package from Kryptes. It didn't show up. I looked in WinterBoard, on my SpringBoard. I reinstalled the package. I manually resprung. It then showed up. Kryptes didn't automatically respring once I exited or loading it in the background. I had to manually respring for it to show up.

    Kryptes also does not have the ability to add sources. Right now I think we're stuck with Sleepers.net (which is all user-uploaded content, and crap) and Winterboarder (a repository whose contents once consisted of 41 nude lockscreen wallpapers.) I'm also at a loss for how I refresh the sources with Kryptes. It has no way to refresh them manually and probably refreshes on launch.

    However, this application does provide many useful features such as Search, Category filters, along with ratings, new packages, and most popular packages. No other manager but Kryptes the App Store has ratings. Unfortunately, when I tried to search for something, Kryptes crashed.

    The Winner: Cydia. Where it sorely lacks speediness, Cydia's huge list of features triumphs over the close Icy and App Store, and falls way above the flailing Kryptes.

    Package Selection

    The App Store
    The App Store has roughly 40,000 applications. This towers far over the independent packages of jailbreak installers. However, the App Store (obviously) does not have the ability to install Cydia Store applications along with SpringBoard extensions. Jailbreak package selection includes themes, extensions, and more, which the App Store simply cannot provide.

    Cydia
    Cydia has a wide variety of packages, including applications, Mobile Substrate extensions, themes, and basically everything else. It also supports the Cydia Store, and has the most repositories for all jailbroken package installers.

    Installer 4
    Due to the fact that Installer 4 utilizes the AppTapp framework, it does not use the same system of repository that Cydia and Icy use. Also, Installer 4 is not nearly as popular as Cydia, and thus, has less repositories and less selection. Installer 4 also does not support Mobile Substrate, instead opting to use their own solution of Mobile Enhancer and Psuedo Substrate, which does not work very well with WinterBoard and other Mobile Substrate extensions.

    Icy
    Icy contains everything that Cydia does besides Cydia Store packages. You can technically download Cydia Store packages in Icy, but you must have previously downloaded the package in Cydia first.

    Kryptes
    Kryptes contains only a few repositories: Sleepers.net, Winterboarder, PwnCenter, and 2 free-hosted ones. The latter contains mostly really bad user uploaded themes. The former includes even more themes, and formerly consisted of over 40 nude lockscreens. There is nothing of any substance in Kryptes at all.

    The Winner:Cydia, by a hair wins this round as well, due to the fact that Icy doesn't have the ability to download Cydia Store packages.

    Hopefully, you'll be able to decide for yourself which one's the best, because I'm tired of writing this unnecessarily long comparison, and I've given enough information on these that I could probably write a book. In any case, I may add onto this guide, and it will be featured in the iPod touch User's Manual. Thanks guys!
    Garrett Imhoff likes this.
  2. deleted account 92

    deleted account 92 Active Member

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    In the package selection part you don't have a description for cydia.
  3. spoonforknife

    spoonforknife Retired Moderator

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    Thanks for noticing. I'll add it when I can.
  4. sprint_user

    sprint_user New Member

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    Very nice thanks for taking the time.
  5. iPortlock101

    iPortlock101 New Member

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    yaya, cydia is by far the best imo, app store would be top, but it costs :/
  6. Rockinryguy

    Rockinryguy New Member

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    What about installerAPP dose it work well?
  7. spoonforknife

    spoonforknife Retired Moderator

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    It's for the computer, and you have to pay for it. As soon as somebody is willing to shell out $7.00 for me, I'll be more than willing to do a full review.
  8. Germany

    Germany Banned

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    Thank you so much for that detailed review. I have experience with all of them and my favorites are Icy and Cydia. Icy due to the speed and awesome downloading graphics (ha, but they are amazing). Cydia due to the functionality and selection.

    Great review! I read every word of it and was very impressed.
  9. Radish

    Radish Banned

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    For me, Icy is perfect for downloading something you already have in mind (such as redownloading after restore or downloading something someone recommended. Cydia is what I use to browse apps when I'm bored.
  10. spoonforknife

    spoonforknife Retired Moderator

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    I use terminal for that.

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