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Desktops (Apple) Media Software Apple

MplayerX Leaving Mac App Store 225

Posted by timothy
from the kicked-out-of-the-hothouse dept.
New submitter technonono writes "MplayerX, a popular and free video player app on Mac OSX, is now leaving Mac App Store 'after arguing with Apple for three months.' The developer claims that Apple's sandboxing policies would strip the app into 'another lame Quicktime X,' which is unacceptable. The app is releasing updates on its own site, where users who bought it from the App Store would most likely never notice them. The situation was 'foretold' by Marco Arment, at least for one app."
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MplayerX Leaving Mac App Store

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  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Friday August 17, 2012 @11:17PM (#41033017) Journal
    From one of the links in the summary:

    Apple's stance seems to be pretty typical of them: comply with the new rules or leave. This usually works for them, but this time, theyâ(TM)ve made a critical strategic error: leaving is often a better option...

    I would put forward that this conclusion is actually only true right now, but I expect over the coming years that is liable to change.

    As an increasing number of applications *DO* become available on the app store, I would suggest that a growing number of people are going to increasingly rely upon it. Eventually, I expect that a critical mass will be reached (I predict about 2 years from now), and Apple will shut the door to external sales on the Mac outside of jailbroken devices forever.

    This will probably be cause for a lot of people to abandon the mac platform, but I expect that the remaining userbase will be sufficiently large by that point in time that other developers will eventually be drawn to writing for the platform, attracted by the promise of what will seem to them, initially at least, to be a largely untapped market.

    And what happened with iOS is going to happen again with MacOSX.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @11:37PM (#41033147)

    It's been clear for a long time that Apple intends to exercise authoritarian-type control over your machine. Everyone who objects to this has left the platform, and everyone who doesn't object has stayed. It's clear what the situation is, and everyone gets to make their own choice about whether it is acceptable for there to be a central authority who controls your computing experience.

    So why is this being considered an issue any more?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @11:51PM (#41033221)

    and if they had an auto-update mechanism (like sparkle) people wouldn't need to check their website for app updates because (drumroll) in soviet russia, app checks website for updates!

    It's a media player. It renders .mpg and .flv and .mp4 and .avi and .ogg, well-documented containers/well-documented codecs. Barring the occasional security hole (which I can retrieve at my leisure), it doesn't need updates.

    The day my media player phones home to download new executable code for a previously-unrecognized video codec is the day I get a new media player, because in the presence of the aforementioned video containers/formats, any video content that purports to require a new one is almost certainly a malware vector.

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Friday August 17, 2012 @11:51PM (#41033225)

    Why would Apple alienate their professional customers, including developers? They're the ones who, along with graphic artists, movie editors, radiologists, etc, who pay top dollar for the most expensive Macs?

    If developers can't install Apps like Eclipse, Mac Ports, various command-line tools, etc, then they'll switch platforms. Apple can't afford to lose those sales.

    Besides, many game developers don't distribute on the Mac App Store, including EA and Blizzard (and Steam still runs separate from the App Store), not to mention Microsoft and Adobe. Just how can Apple afford to lose Office and Photoshop, among other high profile non-App Store apps?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:09AM (#41033321)

    Why don't you ask the professionals that use Final Cut Pro that question when Apple released Final Cut Pro X? It was a royal clusterfuck and goes to show that Apple does not care about its pro customers. Even its latest line of Mac Pro was criticized by people like Any Hertzfeld for being subpar. Apple only cares about making the latest toy not about professionals getting work done.

  • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:20AM (#41033377) Homepage

    As an increasing number of applications *DO* become available on the app store, I would suggest that a growing number of people are going to increasingly rely upon it. Eventually, I expect that a critical mass will be reached (I predict about 2 years from now), and Apple will shut the door to external sales on the Mac outside of jailbroken devices forever.

    This will probably be cause for a lot of people to abandon the mac platform, but I expect that the remaining userbase will be sufficiently large by that point in time that other developers will eventually be drawn to writing for the platform, attracted by the promise of what will seem to them, initially at least, to be a largely untapped market.

    And what happened with iOS is going to happen again with MacOSX.

    This is a steaming pile of bullcrap hyperbole topped with +1 We Like It When Someone Says They Will Do Bad Things and +1 If We Wish Hard Enough It Will Come True

    It amounts to "I think Apple will sandbox their entire desktop OS because iOS"

  • by daBass (56811) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:25AM (#41033403)

    The app can only open files in specifically defined (and Apple approved) locations. Outside these locations, you need express permission (via a file open dialog) to access files. So all would be OK for ~/Movies or ~/Downloads.

    But while you could open "/Volumes/My Big External Disk/Movies/movie.avi" via a file dialog to play it back, the software could not automatically also open "/Volumes/My Big External Disk/Movies/movie.srt" to show you subtitles.

    That's the problem.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:28AM (#41033415)

    I can't stand all these anti-sandboxing stories that make it sound like selling software over the Internet is so horrible.

    I would hazard a guess that the MplayerX folks have more of a clue about the situation than you.

    The subtext of this story is: it's walled garden time boys and girls, suck it down and like it.

  • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:39AM (#41033465)

    This wouldnt work if the user simple opened the file (from the equivalent of Explorer in mac, by double clicking the file (which I believe is the most common way to play a video), or clicking on open from Firefox). And most of the videos in my laptop are in the same folder "Downloads". If I had to go up a directory, open Downloads under MplayerX, and wade though the videos to select the one I want to play, I would be really frustrated (and would start looking for alternative players).

  • The Real Deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rabtech (223758) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:18AM (#41033653) Homepage

    Some of this is just a learning curve on the part of developers. As has been pointed out, a lot of the issues surround access to the file system but as long as the user selects a folder (via the OS' built-in privileged process proxy that presents the selection UI for your app) or drags it to your app, you can store a link to it that is part of your sandbox, including across reboots.

    In this App's case, it would mean reworking his UI slightly to have users select folders with content in them, not individual movies. Then he can show a list of movies in that folder and let the user pick, all the while reading separate subtitle files or moving to the next movie with no issues.

    There does need to be a category of Developer Utilities / System Utilities that allow things like asking for Admin rights. This is one place Apple is totally wrong. Sure, make the review process extra detailed and don't allow apps to go into that category unless they are truly utilities, but it is definitely needed.

    The days of [app permissions] == [user permissions] are long over... We're just stuck with a broken security model that never anticipated people would be running so much code from so many sources, code that can't necessarily be trusted (or that itself loads data/code from untrusted sources). It's like the difference between traditional Unix permission bits and ACLs: once you use ACLs you realize how primitive user/group/owner is. Sandboxing is an attempt at limiting the permission of apps but it remains to be seen if that's the best way.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:43AM (#41033753) Journal

    But seriously who DIDN'T know Apple is a bunch of control freaks? this is like having a dozen people walk up to you and say "See that guy selling fruit on the corner? Yeah don't do business with him, he'll punch you in the nuts" but you go 'Hey, that guy is making the monies! I'll do business with him!" and right after you do business with him he gives you a Falcon Punch from hell that cracks your walnuts. Now why the fuck should we feel sorry or care when you didn't listen?

    Apple is a bunch of control freaks, MSFT is run by dumbass PHBs, Google wants to know what you had for breakfast this morning...and now for the weather....water is wet Chuck, back to you!

    Seriously folks Apple has a history of fucking over the little guys, going apeshit on their control over them and/or ripping off their ideas for a new "Apple Feature" down the line....who doesn't know this? Its been SOP there forever, its not exactly news folks. The moral of the story, if you get in bed with a control freak don't bitch when you end up tied to the bedpost with a ballgag mmkay?

  • by CritterNYC (190163) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:40AM (#41034005) Homepage
    Apple is making record profits ($35 billion last quarter) and only 14.2% of those profits ($1.287 billion) came from sales of Mac hardware last quarter (all desktops and laptops). (source [betanews.com]) The percentage of money Apple makes from desktops and laptops is getting progressively smaller each quarter. And the number of 'professionals' in those numbers is smaller still. The bottom line is that there is FAR more money to be made from consumers. To the point that professionals really don't matter to Apple's bottom line at all. Consumers, consumers, consumers. Consumers consuming music/video ($1.571 billion, up 29 percent from $1.571 billion a year earlier.) and apps ($891 million, up 28 percent from $696 million a year earlier.) on their iPads ($9.17 billion, up 52 percent from $6.046 billion a year earlier.), iPod Touches ($1.06 billion, down 20 percent from $1.325 billion a year earlier.) and iPhones ($16.425 billion, up 22 percent from $13.31 billion a year earlier.). That's where the money is. That's where nearly ALL the money is. Microsoft is seeing the same light. That's why Windows 8 is what it is. It is a 100% consumer operating system, corporations be damned. It's about setting up an ecosystem of apps, music and video across your desktop, laptop, tablet and phone. So, no, it doesn't matter if you can't install Eclipse, Mac Ports or various command-line tools on your Mac. The Mac App Store is about consumers, just like the iOS App Store. Not creators or 'professionals'. Even if you estimate that 10% of Mac's desktop/laptop hardware sales were 'professionals' (an extremely high estimate) and every single one of them abandoned Mac as a result of these changes (unlikely), that's still only $493 million. 1.4% of Apple's revenue. And that will be more than offset by another platform where Apple for all intents and purposes controls the keys to the kingdom (Mac App Store will be 95%+ of all Mac software sales in the next couple years) and makes a 30% cut of all software sales. They can ditch professionals and make a killing on consumers.
  • by sqldr (838964) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:24AM (#41034741)

    I can't stand all these anti-sandboxing stories that make it sound like selling software over the Internet is so horrible. The app store is not old enough for you to be bitching about not being in the app store. This isn't even selling, it's free software joining the ranks of all the other free software out there.

    It's Apple's 1984-esque bullshit like this which is the primary reason why I will never waste my money on an apple product until they change their ways. I don't want to buy a glorified media player, the difference between a computer and a set top box is that a computer has the ability to run any application, but apple are starting to blur this distinction by turning their systems into glorified set-top boxes. I don't care how easy it is to use. To be honest, the laptop we have to use when on-call is a macbook pro, and I'm not really overwhelmed by it - in fact, I don't like it. I want focus-follows-mouse.. oh, that would break the menu. Then again, I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes gnome 3 (yes, on a 1980x1080 screen).

    I would lose interest overnight if all I could run on my computer was angry birds and fart apps.

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

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