May 10, 2012

Yeah, It's That Time Again...

by Chris Randall

If you point your browser at this little gem, you'll be rewarded with an interesting insight in to Apple's continual process of legacy software pruning. They learned long ago (c. OS 9) that it is far easier to just not support older software rather than try to work it in to whatever current version of their OS they're building.

To be fair, this is a continual source of headaches for Redmond, and a big reason that Windows is so full of security holes. Apple has different problems, of course, but life as a developer for OS X is basically a long string of beatings. We all have Stockholm Syndrome at this point, and anything like this is met with resignation, and a muttered "thank you sir, may I have another?"

For those that don't see what I'm talking about, Gatekeeper is a new whiz-bang feature in OS X 10.8 that essentially won't let the user install any software that isn't digitally signed. The user can turn this feature off, theoretically, but it is on by default. If you use a piece of software that is not currently supported by whomever made it, you can pretty much write that software off with respect to 10.8.

For plug-in companies that have a large product line (like, oh, I don't know, Audio Damage?) this means a rebuild of everything, yet again, plus we have to buy the ridiculous Mac Developer License at $99 a seat to get the signature in the first place. The only other option is to continue to sell our products unsigned, and hope that our customers decide to run Mountain Lion with Gatekeeper disabled.

Adam and I haven't discussed this issue at any length yet, but I imagine we'll go ahead and get the signatures and such-like, because that's the pro thing to do. But expect us to complain about it at length. (A question: if the host is signed, why does the plug-in need to be signed?) Also note that, in the event we do this, we will NOT be rebuilding and signing our own legacy products. This means that if you want to continue using, say, Discord2 or the original Kombinat, you need to stay at 10.7 or earlier.

Gatekeeper? Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!


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May.10.2012 @ 10:39 PM
At first I thought "big deal - there's going to be lots of unsigned software, and people will probably be rushing to turn it off". BUT, then I checked to see what the language would be like if Gatekeeper was on, and you tried to install something:

link []

Sweet. Way more harsh than Win 7. Apparently Control+Click with Gatekeeper on will still allow an unsigned app launch, but hell, it's a customer service nightmare waiting to happen. Plus, it makes the developer look like the asshole.

Also, what's interesting about that message to devs: "If you are distributing Mac software or audio plug-ins outside of the Mac App Store" - can you even sell an audio plug-in in the Mac App Store?

May.10.2012 @ 11:01 PM
Chris Randall
And there's the onion. You can't sell a plug-in in the app store at all. Not that we'd particularly want to. Since we already spend thousands of dollars a year on Apple hardware and software, I don't really see any particular need to fuel their hubris by giving them 30% of our gross income as well.


May.11.2012 @ 12:28 AM
The likely 10.9 grade to this will of course be that the user will only be able to install software from the App Store, as is the case with iOS. I'd guess that in two years the choice will be: give Apple 30% of your gross, or drop the platform.

May.11.2012 @ 1:33 AM
mad ep
This all just reaffirms why I am comfortable staying with 10.5.8

May.11.2012 @ 7:16 AM
The apple environment will be save... no piracy, no virus, everything controlled from 1 center... all those sci-fi B movies will be such a truth + apple's stock will climb even more.

May.11.2012 @ 7:18 AM
I'm with darklordjames. Logged in to mention the same exact thing... =

May.11.2012 @ 8:01 AM
The implications for open source software are dreadful, though I guess that probably isn't an issue with Mac as much it is with windows.

Microsoft, if I remember, proposed this at one point but backed down on it because it would have been a total cluster fuck for legacy apps in the corporate space (though I believe server drivers must be signed to be installed on 64 bit platforms or something like that). Apple has no such consideration to deal with. They can fuck with their users and developers as they please.

May.11.2012 @ 9:20 AM
My fear is that darklordjames has hit it on the nose. They certainly seem to be leaning that way.

May.11.2012 @ 9:27 AM
Chris Randall
Yeah, I personally can smell a convergence of OS X and iOS on the horizon. The iOS model obviously works much better for them than the OS X model; from a commercial standpoint, there's no reason not to pursue that. Pro media isn't even a drop in the bucket compared to the overall iOS market.

Or to put it another way, we're basically a charity case at this point. First are iPod, iPad, and iPhone users. Then people who use a MacBook to look at Facebook and use Pages and Numbers. Then people that play games. Then people that edit home movies and put them on YouTube. Then people that write tech blogs. Then us.

It's ugly.


May.11.2012 @ 9:45 AM
I agree that's where things are heading, but where does the "pro" OSX market go though if that convergence were to happen? I can't see developers either big or small handing over 30% of their profit margins to Apple.

Does that mean that 5 years from now, Windows will be the only viable platform for creative professionals? That would basically be a polar shift from where things were just a few years ago.

And that's assuming MS doesn't go down the same route themselves. Windows RT apps will only be available via the Windows app store or Windows Update...God forbid they try and apply that same mindset to the x86 Windows.

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