back to article New Mac OS X: Mountain Lion roars at unauthorised apps

Apple released a developer preview of Mountain Lion today before the new operating system is let out of its cage in the summer. It's the ninth major iteration of the Mac OS X operating system, replacing Lion, and from Apple's roundup of its features, version 10.8 marks a much closer integration with iOS devices. Apple goes so …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

    Apple are building their walls even higher and Microsoft aren't far behind them... -

    "With Microsoft selling the applications directly, users would also be offered a greater degree of security, he claimed. Microsoft has been studying the security implication of this and could control the marketplace better, as well as working with developers on more secure coding strategies."

    Pick your garden now folks as once you're in you're in...

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

      Some walled garden. Just tick a box and its off, you can install unsigned content to your delight... Or the developer can get the app signed and distribute how s/he sees fit.

      Given how small the wall is, I can only presume anon that you live in Smurf Village.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

        "Just tick a box and it's off"

        Oh yeah sure then when the preview of the next OS rolls around and apple say "you know what our anonymous statistics showed only 1% of users unticked the box, so we removed it and made the OS even more like iOS"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

          Unticking the box may be "easy," but doesn't mean the computer-illiterate that Apple seems to draw in will know how to untick said box. Of course, developers will now be obligated to distribute their apps from the Mac App Store since that will be the "only" way (in the eyes of said illiterates) to distribute/install their apps. At which point, Apple will eat a 30% sell profit. Apple will then decide all apps should be distributed via the App Store and lock out any alternatives, in a similar fashion to what they did for paid subs....

          1. Armando 123

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

            "the computer-illiterate that Apple seems to draw in"

            Odd, given the VisualC code that just got dumped on me in the latest re-org, I'd call Windows developers computer illiterate.

          2. Chad H.

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

            If its anything like other Mac error messaages it will actually be a useful message that says "If you want to install this program, please go into system preferences and deselect install singed programs only".

            Really all this conspiracy theory nonsense is just making you all look silly.

            1. Paul RND*1000

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

              "Really all this conspiracy theory nonsense is just making you all look silly."

              As silly as it would make me look, I really hope you're right.

              But somehow, I don't think you're a paid Apple representative with an inside track on their future plans...

              1. Chad H.

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

                @ Paul

                Indeed I'm not a paid apple rep. Are the anons shouting wolf Microsoft employees?

                Probably not, but since we're playing conspiracies today, lets pretend they are.

                1. Paul RND*1000

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

                  "Indeed I'm not a paid apple rep. Are the anons shouting wolf Microsoft employees? Probably not, but since we're playing conspiracies today, lets pretend they are."

                  My point was that the only opinion I'm willing to accept as canon on this would be that of someone at Apple who knows the long-term roadmap, who is speaking off the record and actually being truthful.

                  You can guess how likely *that* is to happen. :)

                  1. Chad H.

                    @ paul

                    So we shouldn't accept the opinion of folks saying "it problably wont happen" without apple verification, but instead accept the opinion of those that say that it will, cos thats what it seems you and others are doing.

          3. beyond all knowledge

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

            That is incorrect. The default is the middle option and therefore the developers are NOT "now obligated to distribute their apps through the App Store as the only way to distribute their apps to the computer illiterate." The computer illiterate, as you call them, do not need to untick the easy box to get out of the "App Store only download option" as that is NOT the default. Read the article properly next time.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Oh yeah sure then when the preview of the next OS rolls around and apple say "you know what our anonymous statistics showed only 1% of users unticked the box, so we removed it and made the OS even more like iOS""

          " we removed it and made the OS even more /secure/".

          There, couldn't help fix this for you ;-)

      2. W.O.Frobozz

        Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

        Right, and future updates would NEVER EVER suddenly take away that "tick box." Nope, never. But I guess a new generation of would-be hackers will feel manly for "jailbreaking" their desktop computers someday.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Frobozz

          Why would they need to remove the checkbox?

          I'm a bit tired of this scaremongering. It's been going on for YEARS now. It has not happened yet and it's not going to happen.

          1. flying_walrus

            Re: scaremongering

            Its as if a large, well funded organization with enmity towards Apple wanted to spread fear and Uncertanty about Apple products through fake grass roots campaigns and anonymous forum posts!

      3. Paul RND*1000

        Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

        Would you dare to guarantee that it's going to stay optional? Or that Apple will not, eventually, be picky about who it lets sign an application?

        Look at the language in the press release: it's all about security. It's the safer option. We have your back, remain calm. Convince enough people that they shouldn't tick that box and in a couple of releases you can make the box go away without any substantial protest. Another brick in the wall.

        Then they can gradually make it much more attractive to use the official app store instead of signed apps downloaded from elsewhere.

        I'd really be OK with that if the bar to entry for an "official app" was merely that it isn't going to do nasty things to your computer. But we already know how Apple rolls when it comes to deciding who gets to be allowed past the wall.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          It'll stay optional, because it's completely optional even today. See my comment at the end explaining how this only checks files with the quarantine bit set.

          Any other web browser or file transfer client on OS X can simply not set the quarantine bit and Gatekeeper won't check the file anymore. That's how easy this easy to override, no checkbox ticking needed.

          Do you believe Apple would leave this if the motivation wasn't only to make things a bit safer?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            @Probing Analyst

            There were commentards (me included) saying that by 10.8 there'd be some form of lockdown and lo and behold there is.

            I'm going to go out on a limb and say that by 10.10 (or XI), desktop/laptop Macs will come with two OSes, one with an OS very much like iOS and then there'll be more expensive pro machines with a more open OS.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Dan 55

              Commentards have been predicting that OS X would soon be closed since 2008. It hasn't and this latest iteration isn't closed since anyone is able to either (from easy to more complex):

              1) Right click open the file

              2) Turn Gatekeeper off

              3) Use any download tool/browser that doesn't set a quarantine bit

              4) Get the file in any way other than via the Internet (e.g. USB key)

              5) Use to disable the quarantine bit: xattr -d <file>

              6) Certify the app - for free

              If you do *any* of this, Gatekeeper won't stop you. Is this what you call lockdown?

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                @Probing Analyst

                Thank you for explaining the present. I was making an educated judgement about the future.

                1. Anonymous Coward

                  @Dan 55

                  Oh I am so sorry, didn't realise that. As you said you were "going out on a limb" I took it as "I will now present the future as I see it, based on my own views and pre-conceptions with no facts at all"

                  So this new "educated" bit comes from where exactly? Coin toss, thermal noise? Both are perfectly fine, and actually used by many (non-probing) analysts when predicting Apple.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "more expensive pro machines with a more open OS"

              That would be commercial suicide. If anything, it would be that you unlock the Pro OS by registering as a developer.

              However, to do the above would destroy sales into scientific and technical markets

          2. Paul RND*1000

            Re: @Paul

            If they do this right and don't do what the "fearmongers" and "conspiracy theorists" believe they will (that is, lock it all down in draconian fashion, piece by piece, until they are the sole arbiters of what may be developed for their OS based on whatever rules they make up as they go along), it would be a good thing, overall.

            Just keep in mind that Apple's first duty is to Apple (or more specifically, their shareholders). If there's a good business case for locking OSX down a-la the mobile devices and they believe it can be done without causing too much push-back from users and developers, you'd better believe they've at least *considered* the possibility.

            1. Jean-Luc
              Thumb Down

              Re: Re: @Paul

              >Just keep in mind that Apple's first duty is to Apple (or more specifically, their shareholders).

              Uh, uh. Not really. Their first duty is to their customers. Screw this up too much and they won't see my cash again.

              I don't mind what they're doing here much. Just give us an opt-out clause.

              I think vetted/secure apps make sense nowadays, for many users. We rely on computers far too much to force Joe "non-IT" Average to moonlight as a _competent_ sysadmin to keep his personal files secure. And trusted apps can be _part_ of the answer. Though I also agree that the sense of complacency amongst Mac users re. viruses and malware is misplaced.

              For me? If they start taking away MacPorts or the like, not so good. And I'll vote with my wallet.

              For now, I'd call the FUD-chuckers bluff and would bet 10.10 will have that checkbox available.

              1. Paul RND*1000

                Re: Re: Re: @Paul

                "Uh, uh. Not really. Their first duty is to their customers. Screw this up too much and they won't see my cash again."

                No. As a publicly traded corporation their first duty really is to their shareholders. Apple happen to have been providing great shareholder value by among other things providing great products and making customers happy. I'd hate to see them screw with that, but they could *if* it made business sense. It does occur to me though that given the degree of love their userbase has for them, they stand to lose badly by messing too much with that userbase. They won't push it too hard for that reason alone, I reckon.

                Sadly not all corporations do it that way, which is why when I call my cable provider to report a problem I have to descend through the seven levels of hell that is their voice response system, then listen to excruciatingly bad muzak for 45 minutes or more until I can have a rep who barely speaks English walk through a checklist of really obvious crap I already tried in the vain hope I could avoid having to call in the first place. But it costs them less to do it that way, thereby increasing shareholder value. After a few times through that experience you get a good sense of how much duty a corporation really has to you as a customer...

                1. James Micallef Silver badge

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: @Paul - 16th February 2012 22:37 GMT

                  Paul is perfectly right here : "As a publicly traded corporation their first duty really is to their shareholders". Apple are obliged BY LAW to maximise shareholder value. For example Ford's management (can't remember exactly when but quite some time ago) were once taken to court by their shareholders to stop them from increasing workers wages which were considered in line with industry standard.

                  You might not like it, I don't like it, but there's no point in downvoting the truth. Apple ONLY care about their customers insofar as that customer care will keep those customers spending more on Apple stuff, keep the Apple brand image etc.

                  As someone who does use Apple kit, I'm not really worried that I will be prevented from installing anything I want on my iMac any time soon, however what I am seeing is a long-term trend where in 10-20 years the only way to install anything on my computer / tablet / phone / supercomputer-in-a-wristwatch will be through an officially sanctioned store where the gatekeeper is creaming off 30% in the name of 'security'.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    @James Micallef

                    " Apple are obliged BY LAW to maximise shareholder value. "

                    If it was just about maximising profit they have given up on the Mac already and shifted production lines to iOS devices exclusively, after all "Apple sold more iOS devices in 2011 than all the Macs sold it in 28 years" (Asymco, 16/2) and production hardly keeps up with demand.

                    Maximise shareholder value also includes not shitting on your platforms as many other companies have found recently.

                2. Jean-Luc
                  Thumb Down


                  >No. As a publicly traded corporation their first duty really is to their shareholders

                  Which is ultimately ensured by keeping their customer base happy. Any savvy investor will realize that alienating your customer base is not a good idea. Currently Apple has been the proverbial golden goose. Chasing after enhanced profits would come at a risk.

                  AOL for example delivered great profits as a walled garden. For a while. The only reason investors didn't get roasted too much is that AOL found greater fools @ Times Warner.

                  Now you can run off after all kinds of lock down scenarios, but you can bet that, if the powers that be @ Apple are in any way smart, they will be thoroughly considered before risking customer alienation. There is already a fair bit of backlash against Apple, for a number of reasons, some of them quite valid, some of them linked to its new dominance.

                  A lock down scenario would risk replacing selling $1500+ laptops w. high margins (those Chinese workers are cheap) with what? Selling $4.99 Angry Birds with a 30% cut? Clever.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Would you dare to guarantee that it's going to stay optional?

          Yes. For so long as Apple needs to sell not only to consumers but also to developers. Which is, for as long as computers need software.

      4. Jarrad

        Re: Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

        A simple box to untick this time. Last time, there was no box to untick. What will it be next time?

        When the iPhone came out and it was clear it would be closed, I warned friends that Apple could very easily go the same route with the Mac. They said, 'never.' But Lion was the first warning - it seemed clear they wanted to emulate iOS on the Mac; it was the first Mac upgrade I skipped in years.

        The walled garden of iOS was a slap in the face. I've boycotted the iPhone and steered friends away, while worrying whether Apple would have the audacity to wall the Mac. That people continued to buy iOS devices despite Apple's complete control only vindicated Apple's decision to keep it closed. It seems obvious they're moving towards the same again on the Mac, slowly but surely.

        Mountain Lion takes us one step closer, and you make light of it. Apple is grinning all the way to the bank while people shrug unconcerned that their choice is being whittled away.

        I have the sad feeling the iMac I bought last year will be my last Apple computer.

        1. Chad H.

          @ Jarrad

          At the moment there is no facility in OSX for you to be sure that the software you think you're downloading is the software you're downloading. Hence why there will be a box for you to turn off the ability to check this.

          If something bad comes through, revoke the license and bang, you've killed a malware epidemic flat.

          Microsoft have been wishing for this feature for about a decade.

          Really, the paranoia here is outregous.

          1. corrodedmonkee

            Re: @ Jarrad

            And what happens when they use that to revoke the key for something they find objectionable

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

      I can already see the counterargument: it's an optional control and well designed operating systems have always had optional controls over what a user can do. Apple are actually far behind Microsoft in allowing things to be locked down by an administrator, which is one of the many reasons (though probably not one of the main ones) that they don't do very well in corporate environments. Furthermore it's not really a walled-garden issue because you're already unable to use your Mac apps on anything other than a Mac; it's a centralised control issue.

      That being said, I agree with you — there appears to be an attack on open markets for software from all fronts (with Apple being particularly involved) and it's a big concern.

    3. LarsG

      THERE APPEARS TO BE.......

      a lot of concern amongst the internet security companies that there will come a time when Apples walled garden will be breached.

      The consensus is that it will be breached, the danger will be that many devises have no AntiVirus etc installed because users believe what they use is totally secure.

      The breach when it comes could ne catastrophic for many users.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Eponymous Howard
        Black Helicopters

        Re: THERE APPEARS TO BE.......

        "a lot of concern"? Sophos has been saying it every quarter for about 8 years.

        Still waiting.

      3. spegru

        Re: THERE APPEARS TO BE.......

        Concerned, as in we'd like to sell shedloads of crapware, that sucks your processor dry?

        Surely AV is a anachronism based on old & badly administered versions of windows. Why the heck is it even needed on W7, let alone other platforms?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: THERE APPEARS TO BE.......

        "There appears to be a lot of sales pitches from the internet security companies..."

        Fixed that for you

      5. Jerren

        Defense in Depth...

        The main problem here is a lack of awareness, understanding and application of defense in depth strategy by home users.

        Of course you need AV, you always will need AV, but AV alone is not enough to protect you, you need a good firewall, not some $99 special you picked up at the big box store because someone told you you needed one and just plugged it in with default settings, a real one properly configured. In addition you still need HIDS, content filtering, and all the other things corporate users have ad a lot of common sense.

        I see this as an attempt at application white listing, pure and simple. Quite frankly if more companies take this approach and control what can be run on their machines it makes it much more difficult to compromise the systems though traditional means and maintain persistence control for any period of time. Drives the pen testers crazy when done right.

        Now the use of certs is good, but the problem here is they will only be as secure as the certs themselves, if developers share certs or a disgruntled employee signs his malware with a legitimate cert it will still get though the wall. That's why you need other defenses, if one or two fail hopeful the third or forth layer protects you, in security parlance it's called Defense in Depth, in layman's terms don't put all your eggs in one basket.

        There is no silver bullet to security, but this is a step in the right direction IMHO.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

      Apple is now on par with Microsoft, Debian and everyone else.

      It is now also asking you to confirm that you really know what you doing and accept by default only software from their repository. The only difference is that it is actually implemented properly which Microsoft has failed to do in all of the 15+ years since it introduced driver and software signing and publisher certificates.

      Applause. How wondrously restrictive...

      Now, let me see exactly how many warnings would Debian throw at me if I decide to add let's say to the repository list without getting their keyring first. Once I am done with that wondrous experiment I am going to see exactly how many warnings will Winhoze throw and how many boxes do I have to tick to install 3rd party stuff.


    5. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

      Erm, Microsoft built their wall higher first and Apple are catching them up. Not the other way around.

      XP had confirmations about unsigned drivers years ago. Code signing and warnings are nothing now.

  2. spegru

    Dont do it!

    Macs are at least said to be virus free now anyway.

    This is a slippery slope and there'll be no going back.

    Seem to be hedging their bets a bit though

    Really, this has to be the time to move to Linux (Mint12 with cinnamon!) - while you still can......


    By the way I've recently read poster saying they have PCs that are 'dying'. Batteries aside (can be replaced), presumably this normally means the OS is clogged with crap. Would many out there welcome an upgrade/cleanout of ye olde XP to something newer & sexier - even if it wasn't windows? Granted I'm probably talking consumer kit rather than corporate stick-in-muds - but with all this talk of BYOD - why not?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dont do it!

      yeah lets move to a platform where there are far too many variants and confusing options for your average Joe on the street where you need to know details of the terminal line to install / remove certain applications....

      There's too many distros / confusion around them for Linux to ever fly with the average punter and it will always remain the playground for geeks. The real battle will be between Microsoft and Apple and possibly Google if they get their act together, but they are running out of time and this Chromebook project is a financial black hole.

      Written from my Ubuntu 10.4 Netbook

      1. spegru

        Re: Re: Dont do it!

        cant agree about too many distros - it's just a matter of platform proliferation just as with smartphones tablets and many different versions on OSX & Windows etc. The monoculture days are over.

        On the other hand being green with recycling is pretty trendy, electonic waste is a serious problem and people frankly just get bored with old machines and want soemthing new and shiny.

        I reckon it's got legs.....

        But I see you'reat least part way there with 10.04...... :-)

      2. M Gale

        Re: Re: Dont do it!

        Linux already flies with the average punter when they buy home routers or TV set top boxes, or these days, more than half of all smartphones purchased. Thing is, Linux is a success wherever it isn't sold as Linux, and more as "TomTom" or "TiVo" or "Linksys" or "Android".

        People don't need to know about Linux when they know that Ubuntu and Mint are good on netbooks.

      3. JEDIDIAH

        Mindless FUD

        > where you need to know details of the terminal line to install / remove certain applications.

        Like what? Stuff that's bleeding edge and hasn't been fully released to the public yet?

        That's an artifact of an open development process. It doesn't mean what you are trying to claim it does.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mindless FUD

          Mindless FUD #

          "Like what? Stuff that's bleeding edge and hasn't been fully released to the public yet?"

          Right so I'm on my netbook at the minute running a variant of Ubuntu and using Chromium, but I want to switch to Firefox. I go to the Firefox website it recognises my distro my country / language and gives me a big button to download the latest release. You press the button and you get a tar.bz2 file in your Downloads folder and fair enough I can extract it and run Firefox from that folder, but there is no readme and no visible way to install that so the folder is in it's correct place on the system (rather than downloads) which will then put a shortcut to Firefox in my applications menu.

          And that's just a simple browser nothing bleeding edge at all about it, so instead I have to open up a terminal and type something like... sudo apt-get install firefox. Linux will never be a popular mainstream alternative (and don't give me rubbish about it being in phones would you really want to associate Android with Linux?)

          Mountain Lion is another step from Apple in dumbing down the whole Mac experience and Microsoft aren't far behind with their garish tiles that they insist on forcing upon everyone. Apple are getting it wrong in my opinion they need to be taking features from OS X and adding them to iOS not the other way around

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Mindless FUD

            Or, you could just go to the Software Centre, type (or browse to) Firefox and click Install. Simples.

            FUD indeed.

  3. Shades

    I once... lots of downvotes for a comment I made, nearly a year ago, that dared suggest that Apples desktops are going to become glorified iPads. Now this article pretty much says the same I wonder if its rating will get the same battering by the Apple fanboys faithful too?

    1. frank ly

      Re: I once...

      If you look at the picture, it's rectangular with rounded corners. What more proof do they need?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I once...

      They still aren't.

      Try again next year.

    3. Chad H.

      Re: I once...

      If by the same you mean "Still allows you to install whatever you want at the tick of a box" then sure, its the same.

    4. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: I once...

      It's optional. They've providing the ability for certain paranoid people to only get software from specific sources which are validated.

      This isn't much different to the "official" package repositories for Linux.

      If it ever becomes mandatory then you will have a point. But I would imagine that nobody would upgrade and it wouldn't be mandatory for long.

  4. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Er, you nay-sayers do realise that...

    ... the "Slippery Slope" argument is a logical fallacy, right?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Er, you nay-sayers do realise that...

      It's not the first logical fallacy nay-sayers tend to learn though; they arrive at it only after years of using less fallacious logic.

    2. Chad H.

      Re: Er, you nay-sayers do realise that...

      But if they acknowledge the slippery slope falacy, just think of all the other falacies they argue with they'll be forced to acknowledge.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Re: Er, you nay-sayers do realise that...

        Unfortunately, while "slippery slope" is in theory a fallacy, in practice it all too often turns out to be true. Apple wouldn't just turn their Macs into toy games consoles like the iWotsits, but little bit by little bit?

        I'll just say I'm watching to see what happens.

  5. Dana W

    No Shades it's still not iOS, but if/when the check box for installing what I want goes away, then I'm done.

    I'm rather fond of Mint............

    1. Wyrdness

      Likewise. I only use OS X and Mint. If Apple do lock down OS X completely, then I'll switch entirely to Mint. OS X is still a better desktop *nix, though Mint is slowly catching up.

  6. J. R. Hartley

    And so it begins. Apple's greed knows no bounds.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Greed" as in giving FREE developer certificates?

      Were you expecting them to pay you on top or what? Don't answer that.

      1. J. R. Hartley

        Let's see how long that lasts.

        You're doomed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forcing the hand

    Slippery slope indeed. Even though you can turn it off it's a bluff that's designed to force developers who are serious about creating apps for OS X that aren't in the app store to sign up for it and give Apple 30% of their hard work. Then once they've managed to reel in a few more independent developers then we'll see the option to turn it off vanish.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Forcing the hand

      >>Then once they've managed to reel in a few more independent developers then we'll see the option to turn it off vanish.

      Hard to see that happening while anyone wants to develop corporate apps for Mac. Or do/will they provide a special way to do that as they already do for private iPad apps?

      1. dogged

        "corporate apps for Mac"

        I agree entirely with your logic but how big is the corporate apps for Mac market, compared with consumerware?

        OSX is not exactly a corporate staple.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: "corporate apps for Mac"

          In the creative industries Macs are used. Although with Apple not having done a major upgrade on the Mac Pro tower systems for umpteen years combined with the Final Cut Pro debacle I'm not sure about their continuing commitment.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "corporate apps for Mac"

          Depends what you mean by corporate. If you mean suites in cubicles, not so much. However, I've made a fair bit of dosh from business who need to glue together Mac workflows with a bit of Perl, Ruby, C, AppleScript, MySQL or whatever

    2. Chad H.

      Re: Forcing the hand

      Or if you're that serious, get your code signed and dont add to the App store. Your customer wont notice anything different to what they do now.

      What is it with all the conspiracy theories?

      BTW: Can you please show me any retail outlet that lets a developer keep 70% of the purchase price?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Re: Forcing the hand

        You're joking right? Or so far into Mac-land that you're unaware of all the software which sells thousands of copies a year directly from the vendor's site?

        1. Chad H.

          Re: Re: Re: Forcing the hand

          And how many regular broswers do they get JDX. Anything like the traffic flow on the Mac App store?

          How much do they have to pay to run a merchant account?

          How much is Visa/Mastercard skimming from the top?

          How much are they losing in chargebacks?

          30% a bloody cheap price for what you get.

  8. Ron 6
    Paris Hilton

    Gatekeeper, back from the dead?

    Gatekeeper was the name of a freeware (or shareware) antivirus application for the Mac back in the mid to late 1980s. It was a little difficult to setup because you had to authorize individual applications to create executable files (or else your downloads would not be executable) but it was capable of blocking viruses and trojans that were brand new.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free option

    "It's not just about virus protection. Apple's iOS and iTunes experiences have taught the tech titan that there's money to be made by "gatekeeping""

    The default is certainly still free as developers can get a free certificate to sign their apps, so I don't see how this is an attempt at making money?

    1. LaeMing

      First one is always free.

    2. Hugh McIntyre

      Re: Free option

      Not sure which level of developer they will require, but the link implies $99/year. This is still far below "App Store and Apple taking 30%", but not free.

      It seems to me there are two key questions in all of this:

      1. Which of the settings will be used for new Macs that ship with Mountain Lion? If it's "Store or Signed Developer" then for most people this probably makes sense to disable malware, and I would probably recommended this to those non-technical Mac owning friends/relatives who do not know what "compiler" means. But if the default is ever "App Store only" then there's a problem.

      2. Whether, if someone runs with one of the restricted settings but then control-clicks (or whatever) to enable a specific app, is that app then authorized permanently without overrides each time? If so, this may not be much different from the "This app is downloaded from the internet; are you sure you want to run?" popup that you get now, although with a different UI. If an override is needed each time then that's a problem for those of us who do compile stuff.

      PS: looks like the setting is per-user, so you can lock down some family members but not others.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Free option

        It's entirely free, but don't bother looking at the existing plans because it's not out yet.

        Quoting John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who was at the announcement: "developers can sign up for free-of-charge Apple developer IDs which they can then use to cryptographically sign their applications."

        As to the default setting, it's "Store or Signed Developer"

        Once installed (eg via the right click->open) the app will remain authorised. Gatekeeper only checks files with the quarantine bit on, i.e. the ones just downloaded from the web.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Free option

          "developers can sign up for free-of-charge Apple developer IDs which they can then use to cryptographically sign their applications."

          And wanna bet there will be developer "guidelines" one have to follow (restrictions set by Apple no doubt). If one do not follow those but do something Apple thinks to be politically INcorrect, how long do you think it'll take for apple to cancel certain ID? ;)

  10. pcsupport

    That does it...

    I hated the iPad appearance of iCal and Address Book in Lion and hoped against hope that they would see sense and remove (or at least make it optional) with the next iteration of OSX after Steve died but no, they are continuing with this 'convergence' rubbish.

    I'll now be moving everything from iCloud to Yahoo or Google (god help me) and going back to Snow Leopard.


    1. Mondo the Magnificent

      Re: That does it...

      The very reason I still run Snow Leopard, it works and I can manage every aspect of it...

      Sometimes progress doesn't suit everyone

    2. Ilgaz

      Go back? Not a good idea

      Soon or later, Apple will stop updating the older os with new major versions of apps like safari. System updates (that includes drivers) will follow and one day, security updates will stop. 3rd party developers? They will get couple of mandatory xcode updates and somehow, supporting the older os will become extremely hard.

      I am glad that I could stop myself from buying another apple product since they switched to Intel or I could be doing a very weird thing as using windows 7+ open bsd on apple branded hardware. Until, that requires jail breaking of course.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Snow Leopard v Lion

    I have Lion on my desktop and Snow Leopard on the laptop. I haven't bothered to upgrade the laptop as other than a number of apps that stopped working I can't see much difference with Lion.

    As for the gatekeeper option. On the upside it is a good way of stopping idiots from installing malware. On the downside is this the start of something more sinister?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Snow Leopard v Lion

      I recall people saying it's the start of something more sinister for the Mac, well since the first App store appeared on the iPhone, 4 years ago. Then it was the start again when Apple introduced application signing in Leopard, followed by another start when the Mac App store appeared (by now the "sky was falling" already)

      It seems it's still the start of the something sinister today.

      If we're still at the start in another 4 years time I'm fine with it.

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Snow Leopard v Lion

      I've got mine the other way around as I like the idea of the laptop using the whole disk encryption. The gestures and hot corners etc. work ok. Don't want to update the main machine although I submit that I will need to when this new version comes out just for support reasons. The versions concept doesn't fill me with joy, neither does the locking part of it.

  12. Craigness
    Thumb Up

    Sounds familiar

    The integrated messages across devices will delight Macheads in the same way it's been a delight for Gmail/Android users for all this time.

    The Share Sheets will make sharing on a Mac as easy as it is on Android (though maybe Apple will find a way to avoid duplicates sometimes appearing in the list).

    Syncing contacts across gadgets has made life easier for Gmail/Android users for ages. I'm sure Macheads will appreciate the magical and revolutionary invention.


    I hope they've patented all this so they can ban everyone else from doing it. Go Apple!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds familiar

      "The integrated messages across devices will delight Macheads in the same way it's been a delight for Gmail/Android users for all this time."

      Well not in the same way, since I can now text any iPhone from my computer using it's phone number, don't need to know Google IDs.

      Also the user doesn't need to be logged in. Messages appear just like other text messages. It's part of the system, not a separate app.

      Maybe Google can use some of these ideas?

      1. Craigness

        Re: Re: Sounds familiar


        You can call phones from a Gmail window too. And you can send messages to people who are not online. But to be fair, you can't SMS to a gmail account (AFAIK, though it may be available in Google Voice) - you'll just have to hope they have their phone with them.

        I thought I should point out that the functionality apple has belatedly introduced has been available in other services for a long time, because Apple users tend to think they are always first to get this stuff and everyone else just copies Apple's ideas. Then we get a load of idiot comments from people with no idea what's available outside their aluminium prisons. You've demonstrated the general iGnorance perfectly.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Craigness you're being incredibly childish and abusive in your comments, I suggest you take a deep breath. I'm haven't insulted you personally and I'm not going to.... yet.

          As to your SMS link, it says "Click here for the list of supported countries " and guess what: THE UK ISN'T SUPPORTED. How useful is that to me then? Not at all! I don't need to send SMSs to Kazakhstan. However Apple's message is in fact useful to me. Capiche?

          I also never said the messaging concept was new. Blackberry had this BBM service YEARS before Android - if anything Android and iOS copied them.

          However my point is that none of these services is actually the same, and Apple's does have some interesting features which interest me as I explained in my previous comment.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        "Maybe Google can use some of these ideas?"

        Errm, you can already do this in GTalk...

        Infact GTalk will always be superior, as I can use it to message pretty much anyone with an computer or mobile, regardless of what it runs. GTalk is available universally and platform agnostic, using open protocols.

        Of course none of those words will mean anything to an Apple owner, as they are clearly too thick to understand the importance of open protocols. I'm guessing they will be content sat in their walled garden where they can chat with their locked in messaging app to 1% of the world who also feel the need to demonstrate in public that they have "made it" by carrying an Apple product on show.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Maybe Google can use some of these ideas?"

          "Errm, you can already do this in GTalk..."

          So how can I send a message to someone e.g. in the UK +44790777777 for free via GTalk?

          Don't bother answering, I know you cannot. You have to use e-mail addresses. Great!

          There's also no centralised messaging, not even in Android 4.0: it's the message app, then another GTalk app...

          And skip the idiotic insults, you're Barry Shitpeas. Everyone here knows how Google-obcessed you are - to the point of being pathetic.

          1. Craigness

            Re: Re: "Maybe Google can use some of these ideas?"


            Gmail and Apple both have integrated messages which allow you to see and continue conversations across devices. But the Mac one can only be used for people with expensive hardware whereas the Gmail one can be used by anyone with hardware. The Mac one can SMS in the same app but with Gmail that's a different app. The Mac one can't send email - that's a different app. The Mac one can't send facebook messages - that's a different app. The mac one can't send twitter messages - that's a different app. The mac one can't send messages to AOL users - that's a different app. The mac one can't send messages to MSN - that's a different app. etc.

            What you've got is a message app which can only reach a very small portion of the planet and is less horizontally integrated than Gwibber, which is free and is available on laptops with no expensive aluminium. You've passed the point of being pathetic.

            Incidentally, google's contatcs sync across devices (icloud is a bit like it) so if you have someone's phone number and google id then you have them everywhere. If you don't have their phone number you won't be sending them an SMS nomatter what app you're using.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds familiar

      Well what do you know - I was synching contacts between gadgets years before Android was even thought about.

      I'm sure Fandroids think there was nothing before gmail/android.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Re: Sounds familiar

        Is it just me or have telco services just become the "priority" system? Email is everywhere but if you need to get someone's attention fast you have to text/call them.

        At least apple is trying to do something innovative, even if you don't like it and/or its been done before. I'm pretty sure most telcos do text->email so that should be an instant sync between devices. MS are still basically sitting back on their corporate laurels. My concern with the sync thing is that its all moving to the cloud which ties me to a provider who knows everything about me. I'd rather have the data on my own host and sync when available.

      2. Craigness

        Re: Re: Sounds familiar

        AC, I was doing that too (but not automatically wia the web). As a way to demonstrate to the itards that this stuff is not new, and should have been available to them years ago, Gmail is a valid service to mention.

    4. Greg J Preece

      Re: Sounds familiar

      Sure sounds familiar to me - Skype!

      Synchronises my chats between my phones, all my computers, my Sony kit, my e-reader...

  13. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    While the new "Application security feature" is not objectionable

    I think there is something of the night about it. Is there a faint whiff of slippery slope?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gatekeeper only works when "quarantine bit" set

    OK people, lots of hysterics as usual but just read that apps matching the criteria below will not be checked at all by the Gatekeeper.

    * Anything already on your system is grandfathered in.

    * Files transferred or installed using fixed media like DVDs, USB drives, and other portable media.

    * Files downloaded by applications that don’t set the quarantine bit.

    * Scripts and other code that isn’t executable.

    So if your favourite file download client (e.g. BitTorrent) doesn't set the quarantine bit, Apple's gatekeeper doesn't get involved at all.

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: Gatekeeper only works when "quarantine bit" set

      Ah, the torrent line. You think all these people objecting to this are some kind of a pirate in panic.. Or the site you link to think that way.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Gatekeeper only works when "quarantine bit" set

        Wait, are insinuating that all torrent users are pirates?

        Did you miss the part where I said "file download client"? You know what e.g. means?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward is still available ;-)

    My oh my, the haters will be disappointed to know we can actually use a full Unix system underneath and do EVERYTHING we want.

    Take care don't let those tears fall on your Chromebooks, I hear they break easily.

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: is still available ;-)

      gcc doesn't exist on that UNIX terminal you talk about.

      Also, with every major update to osx, forking methods popular in open source software which are running even on selinux of nsa are considered unsafe resulting horrible crashes if you dare to try gnome for example.

      Enjoy defaults hacking with your ios terminal ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: is still available ;-)

        it does when you install the developer tools. have you even used a Mac?

        Gnome on a OSX? sounds like you're a serious glutton for punishment. Install VirtualBox and do it properly.

      2. PJI

        Re: Re: is still available ;-)

        gcc(1) not on the terminal? Good Heavens, you're right. It's a binary called from the shell. In a shell session, via the terminal app or an xterm, type "man gcc" at the prompt and see if you can understand the result. Bit hard to find the programme, /usr/bin/cc or /usr/bin/gcc - oops, gave it away.

        Try the same for ruby, python, perl, m4, sh, ksh, csh, etc., X, xterm, awk, make, sed and so on. Enable apache, set up printers using CUPS. Use vi/vim, emacs. Set up Postfix. Try a real UNIX implementation, even run twm. If you have not installed it (most of it is in the standard, installed distribution), it's in the free developer kit provided with every mac. But if you want to play it the Linux way, go to Sourceforge, GNU, Macports or wherever you like and download source or binary. Even disable the GUI completely and work completely from the shell (command line) or use an X server and twm or download something slow like Gnome. Install Eclipse for your Java development.

        Install VirtualBox and run Windows, another Mac OS, Linux, whatever you like.

        I hate OS X, it is so restricting and closed. Naughty Apple, naughty, naughty, naughty.

        1. Ilgaz

          Re: Re: Re: is still available ;-)

          type 'file /usr/bin/gcc' and you will notice what I talk about. It is just an alias to Apple lvvm compiler.

          I do have Apple hardware, purchased back in day they were unique, not white box pcs having junk like realtek.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: is still available ;-)

            If you need vanilla GCC instead of LLVM-GCC for you can compile GCC yourself from the sources Apple provides.

            Here's how to do it:


  16. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Don't want a MacPad Pro

    Mobile devices are useful but I need a desktop/laptop when to get serious work done. I want it faster, more powerful, more elegant, and capable of running more applications. 10.7 was a step backwards in a work environment because it lost performance and common tasks (find/replace, mail and calendar integration, saving/discarding changes, etc.) lost their elegance. If Tweeting and an App store is what there is to look forward to in 10.8, I'll pass.

  17. Craig Vaughton

    I Don't Care

    Say what you like, I sit in front of a Windows PC all day and its a pain, partly because of all the rubbish the company insists is installed and partly because of Windows. Things are only going to get worse once we get Windows 7. (Don't laugh, Windows 8 will be on sale before that happens at the rate we're going!)

    I come home, sit in front of my iMac or MacBook Air and simply enjoy using them, because they just work. I'd take OS X over any other OS, simply because its nicer to use than the rest. I've got a Win7 box at home as well and it dual boots to Ubuntu 10.04, so its not like I'm not covering all the bases.

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: I Don't Care

      Well, extra memory and virtual box running debian stable covers my sanity needs even while I run win 7 on a low end amd PC.

      One wonders if oracle will bother sending virtual box/os x to app store for fun as there is no way it will be accepted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: I Don't Care

        why would they? virtual box users usually know how to install apps themselves.

  18. DJ Particle

    There's also the fact that even if the settings are turned all the way up, it will still allow you to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

  19. David Schmidt

    Non-gardened apps already cause complaint

    As a developer of un-loved apps for the Mac (open source - you know, the uncle Apple doesn't talk about) I've had to put up with the "Run this app that you downloaded from the unwashed Interwebs? Really?" dialog box for a while now. Sounds like this is more of the same. Until Apple tumbles the rest of the way down this slippery slope and turns on the super-draconian^h^h^h protective bit, I guess we're still ok.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How silly are you?

      Pretty much any modern OS asks you for confirmation before running an executable downloaded from the Web. People were even demanding this!

      You can also turn it off if it doesn't please you:

      defaults write LSQuarantine -bool NO

      Some developer you are...

      1. Ilgaz

        Re: How silly are you?

        He must be silly to release open source software to this brain dead ignorant apologizing crowd.

    2. toadwarrior

      Re: Non-gardened apps already cause complaint

      Anything you download it asks if you want to open it. It's a protection and for a company that supposedly hates open source they do seem to have GPL'ed software in their app store or is that some open source guys that sold their soul to the devil and became closed source?

  20. toadwarrior
    Thumb Up

    It's probably for the best

    It's better to fence off bad software from idiots rather than make us use anti-virus. I'm not sure how this is any different really from trying to push people into using your Linux distro's repo. Of course people who will hate anything Apple does will moan but who cares, they won't buy a Mac.

  21. Stephen 10

    Isn't the bigger question

    How does adding a few utilities make this a new OS release?

    I don't see any new technologies or improve interfaces. Not exactly worth a major update number, they could have put most of this through their existing app store.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't the bigger question

      Even releases like Snow Leopard have been about tidying stuff and not a adding a lot of new features. That said the new AirPlay stuff and notifcation system wins me over. 20 odd quid worth of discounted iTunes vouchers (get them while on promo) seems a fair price for that, plus all the little changes. Bring it on!

    2. jai

      Re: Isn't the bigger question

      > How does adding a few utilities make this a new OS release?

      This isn't all there is to it. the Reg article has chosen to only highlight the changes that are most likely to get people frothing at the mouth.

      The cool and interesting stuff they've neglected to mention. Plus, this is only based on the pre-release beta code that Apple have chosen to release. Apparently there are over 100 changes in the final version, but Apple have only announced the 10 that feature more integration between your OS X desktop/laptop and iOS mobile device

  22. El Andy
    Black Helicopters

    So where are all the FOSS crowds, screaming about how requiring digital signing by default impedes the use of FOSS software? You know, the ones who constantly bash similar tech on Windows?

    I guess it's different when the Apple RDF is in full effect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Please explain how Gatekeeper signatures impedes FOSS software?

      I'm all ears.

      1. El Andy

        I'm not suggesting it does. Yet every time Windows treats unsigned binaries differently (such as a different UAC prompt text) the FOSS crowd are first to leap on it as an anti-FOSS move, since signing adds requirements over and above being able to simply modify executables as you wish.

        I just find it interesting that we don't see the same arguments trotted out when it's Apple rather than Microsoft.

  23. jai


    > unless you can be bothered to dismiss warnings

    What's this? El Reg scaremongering for the sake of pandering to the penguin fiddlers and android fanciers? say it ain't so?

    all that great journalism that went on last year with the tsunami issue and highlighting the poor sensationalist reporting in the rest of the journalistic world, and here you've gone and done exactly the same thing, skimming the facts to generate the mass hysteria we've seen in all of the above postings.

    <pub landlord>shame on you El Reg, shame on you!</pub landlord>

  24. Chet Mannly


    So they've taken the #1 thing I hated about the iphone (ultimately the reason I have a droid now) and are extending it to the Mac. Might be time to learn Linux!

    At least its optional now, but how many OSX versions before that's taken away - for our own "good" :-(

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Pass...

      If you've used Windows 7 and Vista you'll notice they do the same. They show a warning about not being able to verify the identity of the software etc.

  25. squilookle

    There *IS* a valid security argument there and, if that is the genuine reason for this and the restrictions don't creep in any further, then it is arguably a good thing.

    However, I think it is likely that this is a step toward locking the OS down. If it is not intended that way at this stage, I think when there are only one or two small steps left to take to get the OS locked down and the users have gotten used to it, those steps will be taken and the locking down will be completed.

    Again though, in this industry, *anything* could happen between now and then: the Apple users could revolt and Apple could implode, they could have a change of heart and go in a completely different direction with both the Macs and the iDevices.

  26. Matthew 17

    signed software is good to a point

    Works well on Linux, having a single application to manage all your software and get new stuff is a good idea (even though the App Store is hideous as unless you specifically know the name of the thing you want, you'll never find it) as it's convenient.

    But if they decide that all software has to be installed this way as a download with the Apple Tax then it's game over for me. But there is no alternative, Microsoft are adopting a similar model and whilst Linux is fine as a server or basic desktop it'll always be poor for commercial applications, you're never going to see ProTools running under Linux for example without an emulator. Yes there will be Linux equivalents but they're very poor by comparison as they're not compatible with all the propriety plug-ins that are needed to make them worthwhile.

  27. Miek

    Mountain Lion? I would have called it Cougar! Rawr

  28. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Playing catch up

    Gatekeeper is just playing catch up to Microsoft who have shown warnings about unsigned apps for years now (Vista/7).

    But of course, since it is Apple doing it there will be tons of hysteric posts about walled gardens etc.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We blokes in the country are always being forgotten

    I foresee big problems with naive users in the country where dial-up -- and bloody slooooooow dial-up at that -- is the norm. The inconvenience of a few warnings is piffle compared to waiting for big downloads.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: We blokes in the country are always being forgotten

      The hilarious thing is I went and purchased Lion on memory stick to save on downloading the huge file. Thought this would save time downloading.

      Except the bleeding thing then needed to download a 1gb update once it had installed. Doh!

  30. Fuzzy Duck
    Thumb Down

    Simply awful

    What the hell is this tosh?

    Gatekeeper - like windows defender then.

    Messages - like instant messenger then.

    Gamecentre - seriously how many people use this?

    10.7 looked pointless but this is even worse...

  31. Gil Grissum

    Unless Adobe and AVID/Digidesign intend to put their apps exclusively in the App store, I don't see it happening. The graphics and music businesses are huge customers for Apple products. I doubt they intend to cut them off or hem them into to trying to make their gigantic file size apps exclusively available as app store downloads. And in the case of ProTools, this is also complicated by the need to have a USB iLock, if you're buying a full version of the software. You can't download a USB device online. So I don't see ProTools being an app store exclusive. ProTools does run on Windows as well and I do not think Apple wants Commercial Studios replacing Apple hardware.

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