Why the Mac won’t end up locked down like iOS

Jason Snell, Macworld:

Despite the fear that the introduction of the Mac App Store meant that Apple would eventually limit the Mac software market to App Store apps only, that has never happened. In part, this is because a huge array of important Mac apps have not qualified for inclusion in the Mac App Store, something Apple seems now to be dedicated to rectifying.


With the introduction of Gatekeeper, Apple began differentiating between Mac App Store apps, apps that had been created by known Apple developers outside the App Stores, and apps with unknown provenance.


Last summer, Apple introduced a new concept for Mac software distribution outside the Mac App Store, something called “notarization.” Just as the older approach allows Apple to recognize registered developers—and turn off their accounts if they’re creating malware—this new approach requires developers to pass their apps through an automated process at Apple. Apple gets the ability to flag any problems it sees, and retains the ability to shut off individual apps from a developer, rather than the entire output of an account.

Good stuff from Jason Snell.

One side note: Interesting difference between the Mac and iOS is the ability to download and run a Mac app without any involvement from Apple. While you can sideload an iOS app using Apple’s Mobile Device Management, Test Flight, or by building the app yourself, none of those offer the freedom the Mac brings.

Will Marzipan change that, even a bit? Will I be able to download a Marzipan app from a developer’s site and just run it on my Mac? Or will Marzipan restrict apps to the Mac App Store?