The Hackulous community are perhaps most well known for two stand-out products targeted at users of jailbroken Apple devices.
The first is Apptrakr, a web-based index of cracked apps. The second, Installous, is a piece of software resident on millions of jailbroken Apple devices which allows the installation of software found via Apptrakr and elsewhere.
Due to the nature of Installous these tend to be cracked versions of commercial pay software usually found on the official App Store. However, free versions of software can also be found (like the Dictionary app used as a demo below), not to mention long-since abandoned software unavailable anywhere official.
The downloading and installation process is simple. Utilizing the various indexes and categories within the software, users of Installous choose which app they want to download. They are then given a list of various sources for the chosen app, which usually come in the form of links to various cyberlocker file-hosting sites. With the latest version of Installous, things have changed a little.
In addition to cyberlocker links, Installous 5 now supports peer-to-peer downloading. As can be seen from the screenshots below (illustration purposes only), in addition to filehost links there is now a BitTorrent download option.
“Installous uses magnet links, a decentralized way of obtaining torrent metadata. As a result, we don’t host any .torrent files. We also use peer exchange (PEX), otherwise known as trackerless torrents,” explains Hackulous admin Dissident.
“Both of these features make the entire process completely decentralized and uninterruptable. Demagnetization may be slow in some cases (especially for obscure apps), but we’ll be working hard to speed up that process.”
One of the big problems with the free services provided by most cyberlockers is the inability to pause and resume downloads. Indeed, longer downloads can simply fail part way through and have to be started again from the beginning. Additionally, most filehosts place a limit on download speeds for free users. The use of BitTorrent means that these limitations are overcome.
Of course, while filehost traffic is one way (download only), BitTorrent adds upload to the mix. However, the coders at Hackulous have implemented some restrictions.
“Installous will seed from the device only while the download is ongoing, and only if you’re on WiFi. When the download finishes, it will stop seeding, Dissident concludes.
This use of BitTorrent is not the first sharing innovation from Hackulous. In 2010 they added a a feature to Installous which allowed users to share their apps with others.