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Panic Blog » About Gatekeeper

Steven Frank is a developer at Panic, one of the most widely regarded Mac software shops. He’s also been one of the most outspoken critics in the developer community of Apple’s moves in recent years to lock down devices in the name of protecting user privacy and security. So how does he feel about Gatekeeper, one of Mountain Lion’s most important yet understated features that allows users to control what software they install, and from where?

For a while, there was a great deal of consternation among Mac developers, including this author, that this might be the route Apple would take. In recent years, Apple has shown a trend of following the most hardline possible stance that will benefit users and Apple, often at the expense of developer freedom, and gradually backing in certain affordances (push notifications, for example) as user-impacting problems became evident. So it seemed feasible that we’d wake up one day and Apple would decree that all Mac apps must be sold through the App Store.

But instead, Apple went to considerable effort and expense to find a middle ground.