Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 16th Feb 2012 14:46 UTC
Mac OS X Well, this is a surprise. Several websites have a preview up of Apple's next Mac OS X release - it's called Mountain Lion, and continues the trend of bringing over functionality from iOS to Mac OS X. Lots of cool stuff in here we've all seen before on iPhones and iPads, including one very, very controversial feature: Gatekeeper. Starting with Mac OS X 10.8, Apple's desktop operating system will be restricted to Mac App Store and Apple-signed applications by default (with an opt-out switch), following in Windows 8's footsteps.
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Tony Swash
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There is an alternative possibility. Maybe Apple feels that the whole App store is getting a bit too big and cumbersome but they don't want to lose the advantages of curation (see below) so maybe the option of signed apps available from outside the App store might migrate to iOS. Remember the App store is a break even operation for Apple - it's just there, like the whole of iTunes, to build value for Apple's devices.

On the whole issue of curation and freedom. The reality for the vast majority of users is that the curated (app store or other) model is a huge increase in freedom, freedom from fear, anxiety, disaster. The experience of the previous two decades of PC computing culminated for most users in a terrible sense of anxiety about their PCs, most are not power users or tweakers or techies, they are just normal people trying to use PCs to do things, sometimes very important or valuable or personal things. People's actual experience of PCs was that of a constant threat of system crashes, system corruption, lost data and actually malicious attack. The fear often paralysed people, they would stop surfing, stop clicking links, stop opening attachments, stop trying out new software, anything to feel safe. None of that is an exaggeration, it's how it actually was and still is for many. Plus of course the actual software was often badly written and hugely over priced.

So when iOS came along, first on the iPhone and then on the iPad, it was greeted with huge enthusiasm by normal users, that's why the app explosion happened (a billion apps downloaded a week!), people felt liberated and could finally explore whilst feeling perfectly safe.

One mans freedom is another man's tyranny

Reply Parent Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

I just voted one of your comments as insightful.

See, we can get along. Sometimes ;) .

Reply Parent Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:

I am deeply touched!

In the end we may disagree - sometimes strongly - but I suspect we could get on well over a beer.

Reply Parent Score: 5

ephracis Member since:

Error: You have already posted a comment in this thread, and therefore, can no longer moderate comments in this story.


Reply Parent Score: 4

Neolander Member since:

OSdever's conclusion : "Right, so now is the time to build an OS that's as comfortable to use as iOS without the totalitarian BS, while potential users still have lots of open x86 hardware around to run it on" ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

mrstep Member since:

I'd be (pleasantly) surprised if this meant that iOS would allow signed but not App Store curated apps to be installed, though you sort of can today with Ad Hoc builds (in a very limited manner where you have to include the target machine ids in the cert).

I'm also personally not entirely comfortable with the idea that Apple / Microsoft may decide to just lock down the desktop OSes entirely, but I'm not sure I (or you, or most people on this site) are the real average users who will NEVER build their own app and NEVER even realize that something has been locked down. Other than seeing less malware.

I do think that the fact that you have App Store apps or Apple Developer program signed apps is a net positive for the end users in that you can at least feel like apps you get from outside the App Store are somewhat more safe - at least you know who signed them. Maybe that works out as a net positive for developers of apps that can't run sandboxed if people still feel more comfortable.

The other thing that rubs me the wrong way is the entire app sandboxing / file sandboxing. The flat view of files is really too shallow for people who work professionally on machines. Of course, as we've seen with much of iOS, Apple seems to have had the insight that while geeks build the computers, write the software, etc., they are not the 99% of the target audience. Would my parents miss not seeing the file system? Would they wish they could run multiple apps to edit the same document? Do they understand folders? As far as I can tell, the answer is no to all of those.

So while I don't like that either at a pretty deep level, I'm not sure it's wrong end users, but rather because it's wrong for us. There needs to be an option to open the system (app installs, file system navigation) for development or 'pro' users, but I'd be shocked if locked down isn't the default in a year or two.

Reply Parent Score: 2