Also, the lack of direct contact with customers is obnoxious at best, crippling at worst. But the sandboxing entitlements kill the best bits of functionality, so I have not much choice but to say "fuck it" and move on.
I doubt Apple will miss me, though I'm the only other worthwhile editor on there other than iMovie and Final Cut in terms of actual editing functionality. The video category is a giant pile of shit save a few select pieces, mine included.
You can't. There is no standalone "latest version". You have to purchase the original, and each version since, and finally the current version.
Correlate those game content / game mechanics updates with In-App Purchases, and it's clear how someone could offer "major upgrades" if they stop thinking in terms of version numbers and start thinking in terms of actual upgrade features. (See "Navigon" for an app that has done this.)
And if the entire app architecture changes, make a new app.
Also, for those users that are brand new on the v2 version, it's a very bad experience when they have to immediately buy an in-app purchase just to unlock functionality that should be included. If you drop the price of the v2 version to accomodate this, then your original v1 userbase will complain that they paid twice as much.
Here's an example:
v1.0 of App X sells for $9.99 on the app store. Users buy it and are happy.
v2.0 of App X comes out and to unlock the new features, you must pay $4.99 in-app purchase. Developer drops the price of the app to $4.99 so that new users don't have to pay $14.99 to get all the features.
New users now complain that they have to immediately make an in-app purchase just to unlock the software - they don't notice that it's half price now because they never bought it previously.
Existing users complain that they paid $9.99 and are now being nickel and dimed for updates, when the price is cut in half now.
You can't win. Unfortunately, Apple has create a model that makes a lot of profit for them, and makes it relatively painless for the end user, but it's a model where the developers suffer and can't really support the large applications that receive many new features every year.
So all that's missing is a way to give customers of "date X or later" unlockable features as part of the baseline sale.
It's a great model for games and certain specific types of apps (Paper is very clever). But to push all apps onto this model is highly unrealistic.
Similar situation with luxury features on cars: it makes business sense to sell them individually.
I'm not saying the model can never work, but it's not a good fit for every product. The developer should be able to create the relationship with their customers that they think fits best; sometimes that will be IAP, sometimes subscriptions, sometimes upgrades. There will never be "one business model to rule them all", or else we'd see all marketplaces naturally converge in that direction.
2. It can turn be much more profitable as long as you don't just take the price you'd charge for the upgrade and divide by the number of features. Games are leading the way with this business model.
For example, IIRC League of Legends is insanely popular right now. (I want to say it's the biggest game at the moment, but I could be misremembering. Anyway.) It's free to play, but unlike most games, you don't get any permanent characters or upgrades when you start. To unlock a character, you have to buy them. Buying all the characters with money would cost almost a thousand dollars. And if you want to customize your characters so they look cool – well, that can cost several times more. Suffice it to say, Riot Games is doing pretty well for itself by unbundling as much as humanly possible.
Using a theoretical video editor as an example: $10 gets you basic clip cropping, placing clips next to each other, background music, importing, exporting and titles. So a basically useful app. Later the developer updates the app with a few bug-fixes and a premium "transitions" feature that's available via IAP. This update is of course free to download. So existing users get the bug-fixes for free. Anyone who want the premium feature just unlocks it and uses it indefinitely.
"I bought this app for $9.99 and then I found out that all of the good features require in-app purchases - 1 star for you!"
edit: no, I guess that does not work per below.
It works like this: developer releases the app for, say, $10. People buy it and use the basic features for a while. So far there's no upgrades available. Developer codes up a premium feature and updates the app in the store. Existing users can use the app as-is with the basic features that came with the $10 price tag. Existing users can also make an in-app-purchase for, say, $5 that unlocks the premium feature. When new users download the app for $10 they just get the basic features. Since another "version" of the app is available the new users can just buy the premium features if they so choose.
Fast forward to version 5 of the app. Now there's 4 upgrades available via in-app-purchase. However users are only prompted to purchase the next version based on their in-app-purchase history.
I don't think there's a problem for new users who purchase the updated app.
In-app purchases are left as orthogonal to these upgrades. The developer could perhaps be allowed to continue to push out bug fixes for older versions, or even old version DLC.
If you store the version on the device, the user would simply have to delete the app (which wipes all data the app has stored on the device) and re-download from the app store (which is free) to get the latest version. It's not going to take long for users to notice that and then you'll never sell an upgrade again.
So you'd need to move away from a straight app and also create a server component. But to store it on the server, you need something that uniquely identifies the user.
You can't get access to the UDID any more (and besides, people would catch on when upgrading their phone got them new version of everything for free).
You can't generate some kind of GUID, because that has the same problem as just tracking it on the device. Upgrades are just a reinstall away.
And you can't force them to sign up for your site on first launch: App Store reviewers won't approve apps that make users register solely to store information about them. So you'd need to push content through the site, at which point you've moved well beyond the purview of most apps, and you ought to just give up the game and sell access to the content itself.
This leaves the problem that v>1 first time buyers will have to IAP something immediately after buying the app, kind of pushes you to have a free trial mode.
Hopefully apple will eventually introduce time-limited free trials and upgrade options. If their history with iOS and Mac versioning is any hint, the current simple system is not a religious thing for them and they will listen if they see enough negative feedback. Which we should provide.
Each expansion unlocks content. So once you buy The Burning Crusade, you get access to the Outlands zone. That only matters if you have a character that's level 58 or higher.
Blizzard redid the entirety of the Vanilla WoW experience in the Cataclysm expansion. Even if you did not buy that expansion, the level 1-60 are still the new content.
if i want to get to current content in WoW i would of had to get Vanilla(50$ at release) + burning crusade (40$ at release) + wrath of the lich king(40$ at release) + cataclysm(40$ at release) PLUS every month im paying 15$ on subscription
if i just buy vanila i would be limited to 1-60 content, not allowed full access to any of the later continents and cities, skills, talents, cant pvp properly, not allowed in arena, cant do any endgame, and am generally wasting my time. how is that at all conducive to what you are saying? for any real application that does work or major game that requires constant updates you cant expect support and update for 10$ that's completely unfeasible.
you sound like someone who never played world of warcraft in his life, and it baffles me how you came up with such a nonsensical rebuttal
That was unnecessary and did not add to the conversation.
And I'm not sure that I understand your point. Parent comment is saying that apps can follow the WoW model to create a consistent revenue stream without paid version number upgrades. As you mention, "for any real application that does work or major game that requires constant updates you cant expect support and update for 10$ that's completely unfeasible."
You're absolutely right about the lack of upgrade path. Wonder how Apple will deal with this when their Keynote/Pages/Numbers sales taper off? At some point they'll want to refresh those designs and finance a fresh major version, and they'll want to charge for it.
I bet you'll see the paid upgrade features (or maintenance features) then.
One thing to realize is that the entitlement system is critically necessary and inevitable. It's really a case of taking the pain now, or taking it later. Might as well rip off that particular band-aid now. It won't get easier.
I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to update the iLife products such as as iPhoto as they always came free with the OS and I don't think many people bought the iLife pack separately but I'm really not sure how they'll handle keynote/pages/numbers.
(Sorry if I missed the answers on your website: I browsed through and didn't find them, but that might be my fault.)
Edit: Does not support WMV, even with Flip4Mac.
What are you gonna do about Perian shutting down?
Trust me, I've done the comparison of same editing tasks in both and I can do in a minute in Shave what takes 20-30 minutes to do in iMovie. It's the reason I wrote it in the first place. And good luck opening a DiVX or another weird codec in iMovie. Or editing an Mpeg-2/4 movie without having to re-encode. Or editing at all without re-encoding.
So, your customers are users with very specific editing needs, willing to pay for something they already have (disregarding performance), and/or that need to edit DivX or weird codecs. That sounds like a pretty tiny market compared to users who want a step up from iMovie; building a quality app for your own needs doesn't guarantee a market for it. That's just my point of view, you have the numbers.
Just make a new version, increment the version number, and be on your way.
FileEditor 2012, etc
Now we have version 1.0 in the app store and have version 1.1 waiting for review since almost 3 weeks. In v1.1 we have added some new features people were requesting and a few minor bug fixes.
Now all we can do is tell our customers: "Version 1.1 will be out soon - as soon as Apple decides it's time for a review".
It's really a shame that Apple takes 30% of our sales for such a bad service.
They rejected the app repeatedly for the following reasons:
- didn't like one of the supplied screenshots.
- in-app purchase does not provide a restore button (which I've never seen in any other app btw)
- the restore button of an in-app purchase is not labeled restore.
I think this is a typical example of bikeshedding, I have another (retired) app that is still in the store, it's full of bugs, and crashes constantly, but the functionality is so big and complicated that it was accepted instantly without any rejection. But this is a very simple utility app, so they want to nitpick over all small details.
I'm actually a little surprised this didn't happen in 10.8.
(The iMac may have been a few years too early - they could have positioned the iMac as the trojan horse in this story).
Remember how much business they lost last time they did this (the intel switch, or even the os x switch)? Oh wait...
I suppose if the announced that this was the plan, and gave people years to migrate across, it might be something they'd do. But it would kill basically any technical use of the platform (development, scientific computing). I find it much more likely they'll evolve iOS "up" to support users for whom a closed appliance approach is helpful, whilst adding options to OS X to cater for those who want a more traditional computer but need a bit more help.
* Taking something away from someone that they've always had (as would be the case with OS X) is very different to never giving them it (as has been the case with iOS).
* People are used to doing stuff that isn't possible with the current restrictions - with iOS they've only ever had those restrictions so they're not aware of what they might be missing out on.
* Developer goodwill would evaporate overnight. I'm not even sure it would be possible to develop on a Mac with this sort of restriction in place given the low level activity you often need to play around with.
* They'd need to develop a parallel mechanism for managing machines or lose what little they have of the Enterprise who are never going to use the app store.
I believe the PC will remain a PC. Take away its nature and you might as well just hand everyone an iPad.
There is no "special certification", it's just a matter of creating a developer account and generating a certificate.
Also, right-click -> open will bypass the verification under the assumption that if you know about that command, you probably somewhat know what you're doing.
Gatekeeper was on for appstore and signed applications and I had to disable it to install something I downloaded (ironically because OS X told me to - X11).
[ ] Mac App Store
[x] Mac App store and identified developers
[ ] Anywhere
It's actually a fantastic security feature for the average user, so it doesn't worry me that much.
As a full-time Linux/Django and iOS developer, switching over to the Mac from Ubuntu is f'ing painful.
Linux's reputation is far worse than it deserves.
The built-in terminal is basically broken:
-page-up and page-down don't work unless you hold shift
-It uses CTRL-C instead of Command-C, unlike the rest of the OS.
-I still can't find hotkeys to jump to the beginning of end of line, or skip over entire words (home, end, ctrl-arrow in Linux and Windows)
Home and End are COMPLETELY USELESS on OS X. I have never, in decades of computing thought "Oh, I want to scroll to the top or bottom of this document with one keypress, but not even bring the cursor with me." Given how often during programming I want to select an entire line, this is broken.
The mouse acceleration is stupid. I know you can get used to it, but then try to play StarCraft or something on it, and you will be awful (or at least severely handicapped), because the mouse acceleration system just doesn't work for stuff like that. Also, Lion broke all the work arounds.
The XCode debugger doesn't let me inspect anything that even might be out of scope. Most of the inspections are useless anyway. You can't even see a list of what is in an NSArray (isa = Class, puh-lease).
Viewing hidden files in Finder is hard enough to not remember. Viewing hidden files on a remote server seems to be impossible (maybe it isn't, I don't care). Simply typing in the folder you want to go to is a huge project.
OS X is a poor network neighbor. It rarely detects my other machines, and when it does it's after waiting forever, and it still barely works.
And, oh yeah, it cost me as much as my other 3 computers combined and is the worst of the 4, spec-wise.
Mouse acceleration does suck. It's directly led to a big decrease in the number of amusing photoshops I make; on the plus side, I've started using the keyboard much more.
I haven't had any issues showing hidden files; I just always show them. Going to a specific folder is as simple as either Cmd-Shift-G or typing "open /Some/Folder/Name" in terminal.
You make a lot of good points. I hated OS X at first, but I got used to it; I could probably move to a nix machine, but there would definitely be a long and painful adjustment period, much as there was for you. And as far as the cost, I'm paying for the OS X design, not the hardware - something not everyone agrees with.
I've tried various free and paid tools, but no joy (OS X Lion). Funny that I have no such problems with trackpad, but maybe that's attributed to myself appreciating the trackpad too much while using it because every other one I've tried sucked unbelievably.
Far more frequently, I want to delete from the current cursor position to the end of a line, and Ctrl+K is much nicer than Shift+End, Backspace.
This is one of those situations where you can't really close the barn door after the horse has already left.
What Apple may do is stop developing MacOS altogether and make a variant of iOS for desktop after OSX (or simply rebrand). And I don't think this would be a total shock for the users by the time. Largely because Metro app would be following the store model too.
And yet I disagree with Marco: This is a one-time problem as Apple tighten requirements for publishing on the Mac App Store. In a few years users will have forgotten this problem (if they ever noticed in the first place) and the benefits of the Mac App Store will make it the dominant distribution platform. Those benefits are: easy to make a purchase, easy to see reviews for a product, easy to find a product, easy to install on multiple machines.
Eventually I'll have to change the software to meet Apple's stricter requirements so it can be published on the Mac App Store again.
In fact, the two conveniences offered by the App Store (visible to users) is ease of finding stuff and security. Security isn't much of an issue with the old model because, historically, there hasn't been many security concerns. If the "finding stuff" benefit goes away too, then the App Store will be completely irrelevant.
I don't know many "consumerish" Mac users who read Mac magazines, Daring Fireball, etc. Hell, I know a lot of more sophisticated Mac users who don't read any Mac related content except when they have problems. Many of the consumer Mac users I know don't pay attention to ads for Mac software either.
On your third point (word of mouth), that one has a lot of validity, assuming that a consumer mac user has a mac nerd or two in his/her circle of friends.
If I look at what most of my consumer Mac friends and acquaintances use, most of their time is spent in Safari, iTunes, iLife, iWork and maybe something like Parallels or VMWare to run "work stuff". A few might install some apps here and there, but few would even know that there was anything outside the App Store that was worthwhile.
Edit: Very interesting! The guy behind Sparkle (Andy Matuschak) is actually an Apple employee, working on UIKit! http://andymatuschak.org/
> By day, I work on UIKit to help other people make things.
If you're going to write an article about how some upcoming thing is a doomsday event, please explain the event clearly and link to the proper sources, especially if your article is a criticism of a technical specification. That one or a few applications are backing out of the app store is not, in itself, evidence that they are justified in doing so.
This article has taught me nothing, but it has made me more afraid.
The burden is on you to educate yourself.
I don't open a calculus book and complain it doesn't teach me algebra first.
(I, too am not a developer. But I know how to use Google to educate myself.)
In short, sandboxing is an idea where every app lives in an isolated environment. By default an application can only access its own files, every other system resource is unavailable until the user explicitly allows the app to use it. It has impact on many apps, for instance your favorite git client won't be allowed to open the repositories you've been lately working on, just because they're located in Documents.
His complaints are entirely from the Mac user perspective. (And are complaints that I share.) Tons of great apps can't be sold via the app store unless they degrade themselves to comply.
Granted it's a big change from earlier times, the strategy of sandboxing works really well for security and general OS integrity (as iOS has proved) in a world that has no patience for fragmented and exploitative software. Perhaps we lose a little something in the process, but it's in the service of a better overall integrated service and experience.
Oh and by the way: Microsoft is going the same way too with Metro.
Not exactly. Metro and its app store are only "half" of Windows 8. The other half isn't sandboxed in the walled garden style. To put it another way, Microsoft isn't building the Windows App Store on the back of existing software, but from the ground up using only sandboxed apps.
Microsoft isn't likely to create the sort of moving target for developers that Apple has recently because doing so would not be consistent with the B2B model that underpins their corporate culture.
Metro is a future of Windows, just as Server Console mode is (though admittedly on a potentially different scale).
The parent said "going the same way". It seems pretty obvious to me that they are deprecating the desktop and Windows 8 is just step 1 of that.
I don't see Microsoft going that way because they give a shit about software developers.
But sandboxing cripples, besides our ideals and personal experience, the apps we make. Users (of powerful, hard-to-sandbox apps) will suffer from this. Those users far outnumber the developers, and have great market significance.
Apple's thinking is simple: You (us developer) don't like it, PayPal is that way". Just that simple. And since The App Store is where most non-developer mac users get their apps from.. we have a simple choice.
Do I like it, hell no. Will I play by Apple's rules, yes.
However I think it's also fair to say that early adopters and developers were key to Apple's recent success. For instance, OS X lured me back to Macs from Windows in 2000 largely on the promise of unix under the hood. Many early iPhone users were jail breakers either to develop apps or to use them. Developers were on the forefront of Apple success, and I think it's impossible to quantify the impact that we had, and thus extremely easy to underestimate it.
It's true that Apple is very mass market and could not achieve it's design excellence by listening to geek feature requests, but I think they'd better tread lightly on the larger issues. If they turn OS X into a toy OS that doesn't allow serious development and pushing the technological envelope, and all future innovation comes exclusively in the form of Apple new APIs, then I think that will be a harbinger of Apple decline as the geeks and early adopters look for the next frontier. Apple without the hacker community is not nearly as strong as it is today.
Basically make it seamless, monetarily and "upgradily", to go to/from the app store.
Of course, Apple will never let this happen.
Apple can never require an App-Store-only future
I think they can, and will, regardless of their sandboxing or other policies.
I had to re-install my OS and thus downgraded from 10.6 to 10.5. All of a sudden, none of my iLife apps are working, plus a host of others, and I can't download Apple ones designed for 10.5. I lose momentum scrolling, and realize that, hey, an upgrade once every three years is a good idea. I wait for 10.8 to come out, so I can buy it like a good, normal consumer, and soon discover I need 10.6 to install it.
So I'm buying two upgrades? Alright...wait, I can't buy 10.6 anymore. 10.8 is the only OS available, and I don't have 10.6 on a disc. So it looks like I'm pirating again.
If the App Store doesn't work for developers, it won't work for users. The users can't buy stuff that isn't there just because they outnumber the developers.
The same thing's coming to Windows, too, thanks to the Windows Store. The whole industry's headed toward appliance computing. Maybe you can sell software to Linux users.
I fully agree with your line of reasoning in many other debates about the App Store, and I'm not against appliance computing. Take the 30% cut, for instance. If Smile had discontinued TextExpander's App Store presence because they didn't like the 30-70 split, I would be the first to point out that this leaves money on the table for someone who runs a lower-margin business, and that everything is in order as per the free market.
Sandboxing is different in that many features can't be done; not because of price point or some rms-esque FOSS principle, but because policy is holding the technology back. Developers are not given a choice.
It's not about "a different model" where incumbents refuse to compete and lose their foothold because of stubbornness. It's about limiting what any developer can do; they're not given a choice.
We will have perfect competition in the realm of distraction-free writing environments, but we will have no third-party backup tools. Nobody can happily come along and write one, because nobody is allowed, incumbent or otherwise.
TL;DR: No, I'm not speaking out of fear of competition. Sandboxing doesn't just hurt incumbents. It limits products, not development models.
I'm not happy about it either; I guess I just understand what Apple's trying to do, and why Microsoft seems so eager to follow suit by setting up its own store. The "you have to be a computer guy to use computers" era is almost over.
Apple understands this; hell, even Microsoft is starting to understand this. Does anyone doubt that we're headed in the same general direction on the Windows Store?
As a consumer I am completely for sandboxing for myself and for other consumers. In a world where malware is increasingly a problem sandboxed apps will become the norm. That's the reality we live in. Sandboxing being a requirement means that I can fairly safely install anything from the (future) Mac App Store.
The OP correctly points out that certain system utilities cannot be sold this way. He is correct but consider the alternative: to not require sandboxing means no one will bother implementing it. Of course Apple could make effort to promote apps that do (or hide apps that don't) but this puts a considerable education burden on the consumer. I'm with Apple on this one: it's simpler and better this way.
Now paid upgrades I have mixed feelings about.
On the one hand paid upgrades can produce the wrong incentive on the developer: I've seen good apps go from 18 month major version upgrades, to 12 months to 6 months with no reduction in upgrade price. I've also seen old versions abandoned for pretty lame reasons.
IMHO having all users on the same version is better for the developer and the consumer. It makes support easier. It creates a consistent experience.
But on the other hand I do feel like there is a place for paid upgrades.
Are in-app purchases a possibility here? I honestly don't know what's possible with the Mac App Store here.
I think developers do get too concerned with turning a user into a perpetual revenue stream however. This is really an old business model that is somewhat outdated.
Steam provided the first evidence of this that I can recall. Some years ago they started selling older games for $5 and under. In some cases IIRC the revenue for discounted sales exceeded release date sales at the premium price. More: 
The iOS App Store produced and continues to produce further evidence that lower prices and a higher volume can often be a better result than selling the "old" way (higher price, fewer units, which typically also involves paid upgrades).
Often content producers (and I include developers who sell software in this) don't always know what's best for them. This all sounds remarkably like Netflix in many ways. Netflix has provided a means of monetizing old and less popular content yet Hollywood seems to view them as the enemy.
Perhaps another model worth considering is to start the price of your app low and as it improves and gains popularity, steadily (and predictably) raise the price.
Has anyone tried this? Did it work?
EDIT: sandboxing goes beyond "malware". I increasingly don't want apps making arbitrary changes to my system. Some may be what I want but most won't. This includes things like forgetting to untick the checkbox that installs some browser toolbar to (on Windows anyway) apps making arbitrary (and sometimes wrong) changes to local policies, registry entries, etc (so the Mac equivalent of that).
EDIT2: as a consumer, I want to buy through the App Store. Apple has my payment details. I have a common place to get updates. When I buy from a third-party site I have to deal with:
2. A payment gateway that may or may not work;
3. Despite an automatic payment a human may need to email me a license file and/or download link that in some cases has taken days;
4. Whether or not to trust your site with my information; and
5. A completely separate process for updating.
So anecdotally as one consumer, if your app can be on the Mac App Store and isn't I'm simply not buying it with very few exceptions (eg I'd still buy Photoshop even if I don't want to).
I don't see that as the case. There is malware out there in torrent land, sure. But if you acquire software from reputable sources (like a paid app store, referral from a friend, heard about it on a forum like HN, package repository), malware just isn't a concern.
If you put malware on an app store, the world will notice, its rating will tank, and people will stop downloading it. Reputation is the sandbox.
I guess there's a distinction to be made between actual malware and software that co-installs crap (Ask toolbar etc) but often end users do not see that difference.
Besides, if something has passed app store verification then surely Apple are happy that it is not malware? Therefor they can be somewhat more lenient with sandboxing restrictions?
I'm not so sure. What is their process for verifying that an app is not or does not contain malware? If it's simply to run the software and see what it does then they can really only verify that apps aren't immediately misbehaving. What if the app is set to do its misdeeds after the 100th time it is run, or after being installed for a month? There is really only so much a reviewer can do in order to push an app out within a reasonable time frame.
Sandboxing in a way is just as much protection from liability for Apple as it is protection from malware for its users.
It's about minimizing the attack vectors. Sure, Acrobat, for example, is not malware and could be sold in the App Store. But there are tons of viruses and malware that targets holes in Acrobat. If Acrobat was also sandboxed, they could not do much harm.
Yeah, it's funny because:
1) Apple never said that explicitly.
2) It was (and still is true), i.e not that Macs could not technically get viruses, but that they had got no viruses, with the exception of some lame trojans. In all, a minuscule number of OS X Macs were ever affected by anything in the last 12 years, and even those clicked and installed it themselves.
3) All other naysayers, ignoring the practical lack of any real viruses on the platform, pushed for more protection and security measures.
Yes, they did. "Macs are safe and don't get PC viruses" to an expert means "it is possible that attack vectors still exist", but to the general public means "no viruses".
The very next sentence was "a Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers".
Which it wasn't.
As for custom viruses targeting OS X, none had been seen in the wild for a decade (only some trojans did exist). So the general public's assumptions "Macs are safe" was grounded in pragmatic reality.
That something is theoretically possible (e.g a meteor hitting my house) doesn't make it a real threat.
Now, one could argue that an OS X virus is not only theoretically possible but, unlike the meteor example, also easily achievable.
But still, something being both theoretically possible and easily achievable doesn't make it a real threat.
E.g a neighbour setting my house on fire. I'd rather start worrying about it when it starts happening frequently (instead of never).
so yeah, Macs don't get (Windows) viruses is a reasonably accurate claim.
I don't see that as the case. There is malware out there
in torrent land, sure. But if you acquire software from
reputable sources (like a paid app store, referral from
a friend, heard about it on a forum like HN, package
repository), malware just isn't a concern.
Shifting the goalposts seems to have become so ingrained in how we debate that we now do it on the behalf of others.
A sandboxed app can only write/damage it's sandbox.
That's kind of the whole point.
Sandboxing is not restricted to the App Store, by the way.
The only reason your sources are "safe" is because they are not the popular ones.
Malware goes after the high volume targets. If your OS has 2% of the market, yes, your binary packages are probably relatively safe.
But the situation is different for the Microsft's, the Google's (Chrome will no doubt be targeted as it gets more popular) and, eventually, the Apple's.
Apple was always safe because it was not the OS of choice for most of the population. It was niche. If you haven't noticed that is changing.
It's funny because some of the stuff I'm working on is, by design, "sandboxed", but I never think of this as it's most valuable "feature".
Sometimes we do not see the obvious. I'm sure in my case I'm missing something, and I think in yours too. Malware is ++huge problem. And there's no solution on the horizon. If your OS relies on people outside the OS developers contributing "apps", which users prefer to download and install as opposed to reading code and compiling themselves, then your "app store" is vulnerable.
A friend of mine recently got a virus. The kind that starts emailing all your contacts. I've seen this happen to family and friends repeatedly over the years. Nothing has improved.
When I mentioned it to him, his comment to me was along the lines of "Yeah, it was especially difficult to deal with because it was a Mac."
It's not easy to get at the innards of anything Apple makes, expecially these days when they are trying as hard as ever to prevent you from understanding how it works. If something goes wrong, you're fsck'ed. Unless of course "Customer Service" can help you. But when you become the next MS, there is no such thing. Customer Service, the human kind, does not scale.
You will have to work really really hard to convince me that this race to the bottom is a good thing for software devs.
I vastly prefer to live outside the App store and the Sandbox. I haven't gotten malware in years, and I don't particularly expect I'll get it in years to come; if I do, it'll probably be a zero-day in Flash, OpenSSH or HTML5.
So, anecdotally, as one consumer, if you have a program in the Mac App Store, I really won't be buying it unless its an OS upgrade or I really want it.
MAS has a killer feature (as with iOS App Store) - one purchase for multiple users or machines with one credential set to manage purchase and upgrade.
Handling multiple software instances and licenses is a HUGE pain point for the customer - it gets exponential if you're forced to manage licenses across machines and/or users (thus site-licenses for businesses). It is tough enough even for a power user with license management software, but literally a nightmare for the un-initiated.
Case in point #2: I'm trying to buy 15 copies of OS X 10.8 for our older (>1 month old) Macs. I have two options: create 15 Apple IDs, or buy 20 Volume Licenses from Apple, 5 of which I will never need as we don't buy used computers.
Don't get me wrong; I love that I paid for Aperture and can effortlessly install it on multiple systems. (Photoshop, on the other hand...) But it's not everything to everyone.
- Centralization of control. Apple has frequently jacked around with iOS programs being allowed/disallowed; why should we let some central authority control what we have on our computing devices?
- Centralization of malware. Monocultures are subject to waves of viruses.
- Limitations. The more interesting your app, the more places it needs to touch. A "fun" limitation I noticed this morning is that Mail.app's sandbox poses significant limitations to GPGMail. That's not good- hopefully I can continue to have encrypted email at will with Mail.app. Fortunately, the open source world provides encrypting email clients.
- Should Apple know what I have installed? App stores give them that knowledge. Is there a right that App stores take away?
Obviously, I have no great faith in Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, or the other centralization advocates. I don't see that I should.
This is a completely nonsensical argument. Malware has absolutely nothing to do with the distribution mechanism of the program in question.
The reality is that everything you do on a network involves some form of risk. You can mitigate these risks by performing tasks in a standardized way using only approved software, but a packaged Zero-Day that's tuned for your environment will generally succeed.
Getting a Kaspersky Payload isn't that hard to find any more; preventing hackers from knowing what anti-virus you're running is your responsibility.
In short, everything is about risk mitigation. Running the same software as everyone else exposes you to the same risk.
By the way, this point is tangential to the larger point at hand which is: Apple doesn't care about its developers.
If the Mac App Store had a grand total of 5 apps then I could see where you're coming from, but it launched with over a thousand apps and it's had 1.5 years since then to acquire many more. There's no monoculture.
Apple has a very good record on malware via both the mac and iOS app store, best I can tell.
I completely get why a dev would hate the app store, but form an average consumer standpoint - it seems brilliant. Unless you are scared of Apple finding out that you installed "Evernote" or "Twitter". OMG!
It used to be pretty clear that your phone wasn't a 'computer' in the sense that it had to offer up generalized support for doing development. So pre-packaged 'apps' were the norm, and the model of privilege constraint made a lot of sense.
If my laptop is simply a web browsing/mail reading/status posting machine with a bigger screen, then it has a similar requirement set.
But laptops have evolved from desktops which evolved from personal computers, which evolved from computers in general and the flexibility knob was historically turned to 11.
I'll reiterate my surprise that Apple doesn't (yet?) have two 'loads' for the Macbook, one which is a general purpose OS (MacOS) and one which is an application hosting OS (iOS).
Outdated?!?! I thought it was more relevant than ever with all the web apps out there.
It's not that simple. Arbitrary features of your favorite app may not be allowed on the App Store just because Apple didn't feel it worthwhile to create an entitlement for that feature. Everything they add has a cost and it's very easy to say "that's not important."
I believe Pinboard.in does exactly this.
I've learned that if the value of your app is communicated well a higher price won't hurt sales.
I guess I'm just used to Mac being a professional platform.
The incentive to continue development?
> ... Steam ...
You can't compare traditional software to games. A game is finished at some point. There are only bug fixes to come.
Traditional software is expected to get feature updates. If you want to see what happens when software gets to the "finished" status take a look at the outcry Sparrow created. They halted development of new features and people went crazy.
As a developer I'm perfectly fine with no paid upgrades but then don't expect updates for your already bought software - you got what you paid for.
>> Traditional software is expected to get feature updates.
One might make the argument that DLC might be the gaming equivalent of a feature update. There are quite a few games that are released with the promise of new functionality via DLC.
He should have just stood by his words. Instead of taking criticism, he reverts to treating readers as idiots who didn't understand his post. We understood. And many disagreed. It happens. From his follow-up post (quotes from original post):
I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on my Mac App Store post this morning, and I’d like to clarify some points and respond.
I did not say or intend to suggest any of these:
1. I will not buy anything from the Mac App Store again.
"But now, I’ve lost all confidence that the apps I buy in the App Store today will still be there next month or next year. The advantages of buying from the App Store are mostly gone now. My confidence in the App Store, as a customer, has evaporated.
Next time I buy an app that’s available both in and out of the Store, I’ll probably choose to buy it directly from the vendor."
2. Most Mac users will stop shopping in the Mac App Store.
"And nearly everyone who’s been burned by sandboxing exclusions — not just the affected apps’ developers, but all of their customers — will make the same choice with their future purchases. To most of these customers, the App Store is no longer a reliable place to buy software."
3. Most developers will stop putting apps in the Mac App Store.
"And with reduced buyer confidence, fewer developers can afford to make their software App Store-only.
This even may reduce the long-term success of iCloud and the platform lock-in it could bring for Apple. Only App Store apps can use iCloud, but many Mac developers can’t or won’t use it because of the App Store’s political instability."
First, this story was on the front page and it got killed https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4296416
Then this other story, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4296811, appeared briefly on the front page. But interestingly it wasn't killed it just doesn't show up on the front page.
If you scroll through the new story submissions you'll find a bunch of dead Twitter stories.
Yet another twitter outage does not qualify as "gratifying one's intellectual curiosity". Besides, links can get killed if too many people flag them, it's not necessarily moderation.
Anyway, such complaints should not hijack other threads, post a new thread instead.
I suspect, though, that instead of getting 'censored' here, that hacker news readers are flagging it as not very interesting.
Come back with a story once they have a 'lessons learned' type document; something telling us what happened.
Why is Google Talk down, which affects a fraction of the users, on the front page but Twitter is being actively censored?
Besides, HN comments are a lot of times more insightful and interesting than the link. We might have gotten a Twitter engineer commenting on what was going on or something else interesting.
sure, and it's big news on email@example.com. (which used to be just fiber cuts but has evolved into 'major webapp down' notices, too.) - the idea behind firstname.lastname@example.org is to notify network operators when services that may impact them are down. The idea is that if my customer is complaining about things being slow to boston, well, if I read outages that morning, I might remember a fiber cut that would explain it. I guess the same could be true if my customers were complaining about not being able to get to twitter.
(personally, I'm in the camp that gets irritated when "random webapp is down" messages are posted to email@example.com. I don't care that twitter is down. I've chosen my customers well enough that they don't complain to me when something that is obviously not my fault like that happens. But, I am only one person, and the majority have spoken; I won't fight it. I will whine a little, though.)
News.ycombinator is not about outages, and really not about network and systems operators. Most of you use IAAS or PAAS. Though so far, I've seen a lot of tolerance for interesting network and systems operator stories.
But yeah, "x is down" is... not an interesting story. "X went down earlier today; here is what happened" sometimes is.
>Besides, HN comments are a lot of times more insightful and interesting than the link. We might have gotten a Twitter engineer commenting on what was going on or something else interesting.
I think uninteresting articles ought to be voted down or flagged or otherwise gotten rid of. If the comments are more interesting than the article, then it's an uninteresting article, unworthy of the front page link.
>Why is Google Talk down, which affects a fraction of the users, on the front page but Twitter is being actively censored?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Oh my God Twitter is down....CANT--LIVE--WITHOUT---TWITTER....
I suspect system level choices like this are bound to continue in order to push users in the direction of iCloud and AppStore usage (ie. vendor lock-in).
Though such moves appear draconian from our perspective, I believe Apple times such moves around when some internal metrics indicate a tipping point has happened, namely the developer backlash won't be substantial enough to affect Apple's bottom line.
It's only a matter of time before the iPhone dev team puts some effort towards serving the OSX crowd that wants to jump ship but not give up "OSX" completely.
It's more me wondering out loud if there will be some alternative to OSX, largely built off of OSX in order to get around limitations like sandboxing.
Steam is arguably the only game distribution platform of significance (yes, yes, battle.net and its limited selection of widely played titles) and will continue to dominate because of the careful thought they've put into distribution.
Seems like Apple should take a lesson, no?
I've bought most of my software outside the App Store, so I'm not tuned in.
Apple is never going to have the kind of platform dominance that would make iCloud really compelling. At least the other vendors realize that they need to operate in a polyglot world.
As much as I like my MBA and iPad I refuse to lock my essential data into a system I can only really access with hardware from a single vendor.
In that particular case he was lamenting the App Store approval process and how much it alienated developers. Here we are 3 years later with no change to that policy and no slowing down the App Store juggernaut.
Some types of applications simply cannot exist with these types of restrictions. They are removing entire classes (e.g. window managers, system utilities) of applications from the App Store with this.
This is viable for as long as third party applications can still be downloaded and installed outside of the Apple App Store.
On a second thought: If your customers are satisfied, they will give good reviews on the the new version and it will regain its rankings. That's a great risk for the developer, I have to admit.
I guess you could can make a small update to the 'old' app that will pop up a window notifying of the new one when the old app first starts, but that seems rather kludgy.
(Although I believe Bodega launched a few years prior to the Mac app store)
The MAS already has this flea market feeling to me and so I'd rather have a real license from the original vendor than this app store receipt thingy.