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Pandora's Box

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You know the story. You know the drill. Open it and you suffer the consequences. Ignominiously.

In their equivocal fashion Wikipedia say the following.

Haxies are a source of controversy among Macintosh software developers. Because haxies make changes to OS X that Apple did not intend, they complicate the environment that other developers' applications run within. Many developers warn users to remove Application Enhancer modules before contacting customer support for help with their applications.

One such developer is Rich Siegel. In his blog Glorified Typist Siegel says the following.

A few versions back we added code to our products that detects whether the product crashed or was force quit the last time it was run. If we detect this condition, we then check for whether the APE bundle is loaded in our application space.

So we're looking at code that in the event of a software malfunction outright makes a first working assumption that there's something 'unsane' going on.

And then the following message pops up on screen.

You appear to be using one or more system additions or preference panels which employ 'Application Enhancer'. Application Enhancer works by running its own code inside of BBEdit and other applications. This can lead to crashes, unpredictable application behavior, and other symptoms of incompatibility. If you continue to experience problems after removing all third-party system additions and preference panels, please contact <support@barebones.com> for assistance.

Comments to the above article didn't wait long.

In my day job (running a Mac Service Provider) and in my evening job (running free support forums for my Mac User Group), APE is implicated in application and system crashes. Some of the Unsanity guys have hotly denied this but the facts remain.

And then a bona fide Apple engineer gets into the melee.

Speaking as the engineer to whom Cocoa developer support incidents were assigned for over a year, I think that what BBEdit does is about as much as any app should do to deal with the instability that APE causes. In fact, I would probably recommend that an app do a startup integrity check, and immediately exit if APE is found.

Let me be as clear on this as I possibly can be: altering the behavior of system frameworks the way that APE does is not supported. It never was supported, and if I know the Cocoa frameworks team (which I do), it never will be supported by Apple.

Which pretty much ends that discussion. But why bring up what everyone already knows?

Easy. In their 'zeal' to defend the faith against the onslaught of MOAB, some pink fanboys with extremely dubious credentials are trying to plug holes faster than they appear - with the equivalent of sticky tape soaked in nitroglycerin. The prospect of admitting system altering 'unsane' code to a box just to protect against a flaw the vendor should fix anyway is more than the equivalent of the trojan horse.

It's the full equivalent of Pandora's Box.

 Rosnya's Box: do you see now what happens when you let Rosnya's unsane APE and Landon's unsane haxies onto your computer?

And good old Rosnya of course is sitting in Landon's lap on this one. Unsanity haven't got this much free publicity for their stupid product in a long time.

And when MOAB researcher 'LMH' contacts Landon to up the volume a notch - after all, the purpose of MOAB is to heighten security awareness (which is appallingly low on OS X) and not wreak havoc - guess who nixes the fun joint venture?

I think it's a horrible idea. These guys are just trolls looking for attention. And they're (well LMH especially) aren't the brightest knives in the drawer. They get very, very simple things wrong.

They also seem incredibly vindictive. They purposefully don't tell developers about bugs just to make more news. Look at the VLC one, they could have fixed it themselves, but instead they wanted to get their names out. Same for the OmniWeb issue, OmniGroup fixed it very quickly with their 5.5.2. but someone at the OmniGroup complained the MOAB trolls didn't even tell them about it.

So it'd look really, really bad for all if they'd tell a third party dev about a bug in software hours before the actual developer of the app finds out.

And on that word from his sponsor and despite the encouragement from others Landon decided to nix the proposal to actually do something cooperative and beneficial for the entire fanboy community.

Pots as black as the daemons above.

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