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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Devil is in the details
by mpng on Fri 17th Feb 2012 13:27 UTC
mpng
Member since:
2012-02-17

Here are bunch of areas where OS X Gatekeeper default app signing policy could be problematic.

If someone was to create an app called ScrewApple which speaks negatively against Apple, would Apple allow this type of free speech app to be signed?

What about various adult entertainment apps that are perfectly legal but something Apple may find morally objectionable?

There are legal apps such as apps that track locations of police checkpoints. Would Apple cave to the pressure from the government to deny signing of such apps?

How would Apple deal with apps that would be legal in one country but would be illegal in another? An example would be an app that mocks king of Thailand. This would be illegal in Thailand while legal everywhere else. Will an app require some sort of region locking?

Would Apple allow signing of an app that jailbreaks iOS devices? As the law stands today, jailbreaking is perfectly legal but would Apple allow such an app to be signed?

Would Apple allow an app that's a front end to a competing App Store? What if someone wants to build an app that sells third party applications just like the Mac App Store? Would Apple allow such a thing?

Will Apple demand a cut of sales if an app is a store front end? An example would be a Kindle reader app that allows user to purchase ebooks. Another example would be digital magazine or comic book app that allows subscription purchases. How would downloadable game service like Steam be possible under Mountain Lion?

How would Mountain Lion handle app plugins such as Photoshop plugins? What about browser plugins like flash? What about browser extensions?

If Apple has a plan to bring iAd to OS X apps, would they deny signing of apps that block ads?

How would Mountain Lion handle scripting languages? Apps written in Python or Perl are just plain text files and they don't have any concept of digital signing. Apps written in these languages would completely bypass digital signing mechanism. How would these cases be handled by Mountain Lion?

Will Java apps running in Java VM also fall under the same digital signing requirement? How would Mountain Lion enforce such a requirement?

What kind of conflict does it pose for GPL app to be digitally signed? Will digital signing be considered a violation of GPL hence all apps licensed under GPL be excluded from signing?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Devil is in the details
by moondevil on Sun 19th Feb 2012 16:46 in reply to "Devil is in the details"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Apple and Microsoft seem to want to go the console way, where only a selected set of people/companies are allowed to have access to development tools. And even if you are allowed to play, then you still would need to go through a certification process.

In a way, bringing us back to the dark ages of the mainframes, before home computing was possible, and each company controlled who was targeting their OS/Hardware.

Reply Parent Score: 3