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This is what I scrolled all the way down this thread for - to see if anyone thinks this is a good design/security decision on Apples part. I’m trying to understand what the reasoning is for this particular decision and if it actually makes the OS more secure in any meaningful way? Or does it actually- just degrade performance with very limited benefits? Are there any real benefits to this VS current security design in popular Desktop Linux distros at this point?

Couldn't this have been a business decision? Not about security? (just what they say?)

To make non-App-store apps annoyingly unusable, so the App store will sell more apps, instead of people downloading in other ways?

Just like Apple cripples the Safari browser and PWA apps.

Long term, maybe Apple wants to be able to remote-forbid apps if Apple is developing their own competing app?

Whilst most developers working at Apple understands this, and don't like it? Maybe the developers even feel happy about people here at HN being disappointed, and think that "now the business people here at Apple notice that this causes disappointment" ?

Most of the apps that sell well originate from a developer solving a need they had, on the system they were using.

If this drives developers from OSX to other OSes, chances are they will develop apps for those OSes first.

Apple is too big to fail at this point, but driving developers away from your platform isn't a very clever strategy. You never know when you are going to hit a tipping point, and after you notice and people stop using macosx for development its already too late.

It took me ~150 hours to migrate to Linux, but my user and developer experience on Linux is much better than on MacOSX (emacs daemon "just works"!!!), so after all that work I wouldn't consider switching to OSX in the next 5 years at least. I had a Macbook air 2012, and because Apple still hasn't released a laptop that isn't a downgrade from that in some sense (keyboard, magsafe, ...) I've went with a think pad instead. Tiny details, like having a webcam that doesn't suck now prevent me from going back to OSX.

I don't think the people at Apple are actively trying to make non-App Store apps unusable because they want to make more money from the App Store or anything. It's just that they want code to pass through them, and as a by product making code that has been vetted less or does things that could potentially be abused is made more annoying to run. Such a change is divisive, as you may have guessed.

That vetting will come at the cost of 30% of money paid for your software and any money earned within the software.

It checks that executables have been notarized by Apple? I can't say I really think notarization is great, but I think it's clear from their perspective how it would be beneficial?

Sure. But as Brendan Gregg pointed out in his comment - doing this at the level of exec() on a UNIX-like OS is ... a questionable technical choice to say the least.

What’s the Linux equivalent of “notarization”? I’m not sure. Of course there’s probably more than one answer to that - let’s just taking signing packages as an example.

In theory Apple could put their weight behind vetting some of the popular open source packages perhaps? Or delegate that to the maintainers of those repositories and make them trusted? Like homebrew, for example (maybe a poor example, but you see how I’m trying to compare this with Linux...)

This is after all, what actually makes macOS useful to people on the command line 99% of the time, anyway.

So anyway, I agree on the surface it seems like this might be beneficial to Apple, but it doesn’t appear to be well considered.

They could invest more time in better sandbox and/or container type features that let people define some of their own more granular security boundaries. But they aren’t I guess? What are they doing here?

Apple OSes never were about CLI, pre-OS X you didn't have a CLI as standard OS feature.

Selling UNIX underpinning was just a marketing move for willing to betray GNU/Linux and BSD in name of a better laptop experience, instead of helping OEMs selling their stuff.

Something that NeXT also did against the Sun workstations market.

On Linux side of the this kind of security measures never work, because the moment someone introduces something like this, the distribution gets forked.

It works on ChromeOS and Android, because it hardly matters to userspace that Linux is the actual kernel, Google could embark (and it is actually) in a kernel replacement project and most stuff would just work.

I'm not sure I particularly appreciate your use of the word "betray" for the BSDs. Sure, macOS is not really a great adherent to the GNU philosophy, but for the BSDs it actually did fairly well for a while. (It's still true UNIX, if barely.)

Take as you wish, if those users were actually supportive of the BSDs, they would be giving their hard earned cash directly to OEMs selling proper FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFly based devices.

One cannot give the money instead to Apple and then come back complain that they were mislead.

NeXTSTEP was also a true UNIX, that wasn't why most business bought it, rather Renderman and other graphical based tooling.

I have used Apple platforms on and off since the LC II days, their commercial view was always quite clear to me.

The problem with BSD on the desktop isn’t the BSD, it’s the desktop. Open Source desktop environments are still ages behind OSX.

I am actually curious who sells BSD hardware these days.

Examples from Germany,


They do GNU/Linux, but BSDs should probably work on their hardware, as mentioned on this old post (sorry in German).


Or by getting in touch with companies like os-cillation.


Thanks for the links. I probably won’t be buying any of those soon, but they looked surprisingly beefy for the price point. As an aside, the immature part of me giggled a bit to see the German for product dimensions:

> max 1,65cm dick

Watching the notarization video from WWDC last year they explicitly said it wouldn’t affect command line apps.

I believe that some of the problems here have actually started affecting command line apps in Catalina.

Only if you don't specify your terminal as a dev tool

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