Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 22:54 UTC
Mac OS X And so the iOS-ification of Mac OS X continues. Apple has just announced that all applications submitted to the Mac App Store have to use sandboxing by March 2012. While this has obvious security advantages, the concerns are numerous - especially since Apple's current sandboxing implementation and associated rules makes a whole lot of applications impossible.
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RE: Comment by frderi
by Neolander on Sat 5th Nov 2011 17:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by frderi"
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No. I'm not 100% acquainted on the technical details on the matter, but its my understanding that there are several types of buffer overflows one can exploit to get root on a system, depending on the system and architecture. On Android/ARM for example, it remains entirely possible to wield a browser vulnerability to get malicious code shell access, after which its relatively trivial to gain root and do all sorts of nasty stuff.

It is my understanding that in such a case, you actually need at least two vulnerabilities. One to make the web browser execute arbitrary code, and one to make this code break through the OS-level isolation of the web browser. The second vulnerability lies not in the web browser itself, but in system software which it relies on, system software that does itself run as root. But I am not a computer security expert either, so I guess we're stuck there.

"Fair point : there is a trade-off between general usage convenience and decentralization. A centralized system gives an unreasonable amount of power to the repository owner, but also means centralized knowledge about software availability."

My comments on Apple as a software vendor still apply. This isn't a big deal when there is no conflict of interest.

Just like having nuclear weapons around is not a big deal as long as no homicidal maniac get his hands on one...

Last time I checked, they have a thumbs up-thumbs down style of rating for reviews.

Is it used frequently ? I may have missed it on Mac OS, as I've mostly deal with the iOS app store.

What I miss the most about those times were the in-depth editorials about things you wouldn't have thought of, the gems they hand picked for you. However, I still ended up dumping my magazine subscriptions after I got online because most of the information in them was so horribly out of date. Lets hope initiatives like NewsStand can bring back the great editiorials of the past to a wider audience again.

I don't think that online publishing will ever address the time it takes to write a good article. While everyday news can be reported in a day or two, good full-length articles can take weeks or even months to write. Which makes magazine-style publishing only suitable for stuff that has a slow publication rate ("big apps"), and can be well-grasped by monthly publications.

Its not only the purchase process, but the whole setup of the thing. Before you say "But..." I'd like you to consider your joe sixpack neighbour which doesn't know a lot about computers, or your aunt Emma who just happens to have this sort of need. Its these small things that we techies take for granted that a lot of normal users find very intimidating and which hamper them from what they're set out to do.

But... ;)

This is, as I said before, not about app stores but the standard packages they use.

The other day, I bought Osmos for Fedora Linux, which happens to use standard software packages. I clicked a link on the developer's website, ended up on a Paypal page, checked everything, entered a password, received download links for my OSs by mail, downloaded and opened the right file, clicked the "install" button, and that was it.

Let's examine each individual step :
-Finding the developer's website : Everyone knows how to use a search engine, some people even abuse this knowledge
-Clicking a link : Knowing this is a prerequisite of Internet usage
-Using paypal : Requires a small amount of training, but not more than using an application store
-Accessing an e-mail account : Like clicking a link, pretty much a prerequisite of modern web surfing
-Downloading a file and clicking an "install" button : Pretty much a prerequisite of internet usage.

So that leaves one "techie" task to our Joe sixpack : remembering which OS he runs. Frankly, acquiring such a limited amount of knowledge is like learning how to use an alarm clock : you bump on stuff once or twice, then you are able to do what you want.

The type of application you mention will never make it trough the App Store's reviewal process, it will simply get rejected for "not working as advertized". Thus you will never find an application like that on the App Store. Which kind of proves the point for a curated market place.

This is a very rough review process that they have though. There are tons of applications on iOS which barely work at all, exhibit terrible performance or crashes, and still pass the App Store review process. Conversely, legit demos of commercial software, which allow users to try before buy, are not welcome on the App Store. And then there is this :

Its also the same kind of editorial you find in quality magazines or websites.

There are several important differences, though.

First, quality magazines and websites tend to focus on a small range of reviewed applications, and take a lot of care in reviewing them. While Apple employees just run new software for five minutes, check that it has no obvious flaw, and jump to the next one. They don't have the time to do more.

Second, if you discover that a website's review process is flawed (like, I don't know, they are paid by companies to write positive reviews of some software and negative reviews of others), you can just ditch that website and find another one of better quality. With Apple's system, if Apple's review process is flawed and ditches legit software (such as demos), there is no way you will ever get that software on your device through another mean, except if you feel like letting suspicious jailbreak code drill through your device's software protections.

"Current mobile OSs are an evil dictator's dream toy, is that really the future we want on every computer in the long run ?"

I'm more of an optimist than you are, I don't see the future as Orweillian as you do. I'm just not a proponent of the "one OS for every device" like so many Android zealots seem to lust for. They think that for Android to win everyone else in the game needs to lose. I'm much more a proponent of a diversified platform approach. (...)

While I think I would be a proponent of a "one OS for every device" strategy, I believe that I do not put the same meaning in those words.

For me, "one OS for every device" means that manufacturers do not have to reinvent computer usability each time a new device comes out. Cell phones behave like tablets, which behave like laptops and desktops and any future gimmicks which we don't know yet. The way users interface with the device changes slightly, but the overall behavior is the same. So like on those funky WebOS demos that were around a while ago, I can receive a mail on my cellphone while I'm on my way home, then put the cellphone on a dock, take a tablet, and continue reading my mail in a more comfortable fashion. Then reply on the laptop. And everything keeps a consistent feeling.

I do not want one OS to rule the whole computer world, but I want OSs to broaden their hardware and software horizons a bit. To this end, computers with locked-down hardware and software should also disappear, or at least become a minority.

I don't know where you're at, but in my country I know a lot of shops that will simply refuse to take orders for rare stuff for various reasons… Shop owners decide what to carry and what they don't carry, and what they place in their front windows.

In France, most smaller book shops will let you order any book that they don't have in store, provided that it's in the standard publishing circuit.

Edited 2011-11-05 17:50 UTC

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