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Why You Need Keymaster

Techies will get it, for fanboys there's no hope. Guest op-ed by Brendon C Bleebwart.

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Let's face it. Most Maccie fanboys have no clue what this is about. A few techies do, but most of them keep their mouths shut - they're afraid and don't want to know more than they already do (which is next to nothing).

For Apple's gone from being the 'brave Unix hope' to the 'brutal callous dictator'.

People were lured into Apple's secure walled garden, safe from the perils of Microsoft and Windows. They chose the Apple walled garden variety of Unix because, although it's way more expensive than the DIY garden varieties of Linux and OpenBSD, it's mostly prefab, so you can wander in, set up your homestead, and 'it just works'.

But no longer. If things work on an Apple computer today, it's because you're not really doing a good job at whatever you're supposed to be doing.

Fanboys won't see this much. Fanboys learn early on to keep their mouths shut too - and, if anything does go wrong, they're conditioned to assume it's their fault and not the fault of some underpaid loser flunky at One Infinite Loop.

Fanboys don't care or understand much about computer science either. All they want is to be able to show off their sparkly Macs - very stylish, albeit more and more gay - and taunt others 'why doesn't everyone use one like us?' A lifestyle choice, you see. (Which would have been good enough, if it led to people generally abandoning unsafe platforms and thus making the Internet safe.) Fanboys know better than to question. If something goes wrong, it's for a very good reason - it's Apple at work, and you shouldn't complain and break ranks, you should thank them, you ingrate. And so forth.

But something did go wrong - ask Forbes, ask the New York Times. Something went very wrong. And that 'something' can be summed up in one word. Gatekeeper.

Gatekeeper is what keeps the billions rolling in for Apple. Gatekeeper is the scheme Apple use, together with their blood-thirsty maniacal fanboy army, to keep their Queen Bee solvent.

But now: OOPS! Rixstep's Keymaster defeats Apple's Gatekeeper! Oh noes!

The objective of Gatekeeper is to act as a fanboy nanny - to strictly control everything a fanboy does. The ultimate objective of Gatekeeper is money of course, and the need for this money has only grown, as other markets for Apple have dried up.

[The relevance of the App Store desktop icon cannot be overstated: this is an important part of how Apple keep their dimwitted fanboys effectively inside the constraints of their garden so that none of them dare take a step outside.]

To paraphrase George Lucas, you can't stay at that high level forever. A 'joy' in writing good code is a lasting thing, but the 'pleasure' in making a market killing is ephemeral: it won't last. The trillion dollar market cap thrill couldn't last. People have 'smartphones' coming out of their ears. Like fools, Apple bet everything on their mobile division - and consumers finally said 'thanks, we got 'em, but that's enough for now'.

So Apple had to go back to their jilted Mac and what was left of that once-amazing OS known as NeXTSTEP.

Once again, fanboys won't get this. They don't know shit about computers. Their whole movement was started by a retard who was frightened of computers. Someone suffering from tech phobia.

But that's OK. Sort of. For techies do get it. Some of them at any rate. Techies are suffering, and there are quite a few who still don't know there's a better alternative.

An example: most techies still use Finder for file management. It comes on the box! It's glued in there, isn't it? [No it's not. Not really.] Finder is a joke, it's a monster - a poorly designed and written, buggy, crash-prone monster joke.

You can't have a file manager written so poorly. What's more: you can't have a file manager that's different in name only from its predecessor, and you can't create a new file manager only because you want a new name.

But that's essentially what Apple did. After the fanboys booed Steve Jobs. The 'befores' and 'afters' looked identical. The big change was the name in the title bar.

A file manager is your most important and most crucial tool. Again: fanboys need not apply. They don't know where their files are anyway. But programmers should know where their files are, even though most of them fail even this rudimentary test. And it's the job of the admins to clean up fanboy shit. No admins truly worthy of their title use Finder (or specialise in 'Mac' for that matter). Period. Rixstep's sales demographics and feedback bear this out.

Some admins will initially try Path Finder, but that's a step in the wrong direction and they quickly learn that and find their way to Rixstep. Fact.

The good techies don't come from the Apple farm. Techies who get their education inside the walled garden are useless on the outside. They get everything watered down and sugar-sweet and they have NFC about the real world. That real world where Apple will never be the market leader, that real world where it's Unix - and nothing else - that applies. Path Finder's approach isn't a Unix approach - nothing in the walled garden is. That's why it's doomed to fail. When people from the real world - the good techies - see Rixstep's stuff, as it was for me, there's an immediate 'aha' moment, and it's eminently recognisable. And eminently usable.

Good techies know how to inspect file systems. They know where stuff is, and they know when something's there that shouldn't be there. Good techies can find files, and find stuff inside them. Good techies can see everything.

Good techies know what surreptitious gunk Apple plaster onto user files (the Gatekeeper scam) and they know how to scrub it off.

Good techies can actually fix computers.


OK. So why would you - a techie or even a fanboy who no longer drinks the Kool-Aid - want - yea need - Keymaster? What does Keymaster do? Do you really want to know?

First easiest explanation: it sees that nothing gets put into Apple quarantine.

Once a file gets shoved into Apple's quarantine, it's game over for that file. It's very similar to what happens to Frodo when he puts on the ring. You enter another world.

What you really don't want, at any cost, is getting into that other world.

Techies get this. Fanboys have no clue what it's about.

The bad thing is how Apple, in a project continually under development, try to find all possible ways that fully legit things can get on your computer - and stop them.

Things started with Apple contaminating Safari code so anything you downloaded got put into quarantine. Then they expanded on that idea - they migrated the code into the frameworks, so almost anything can be caught. (One thing they still haven't been able to corrupt: FTP - as long as you don't use Safari, that is.) Because this code is today no longer in Safari but resident instead in the system proper, downloads should be affected no matter the browser you use.

This propagation of shite continues by modding other common applications such as Apple's Unarchiver, used to unzip files. Your ZIP download itself may be contaminated right away by Apple, but the files inside are as yet clean. So Apple's Unarchiver dutifully applies the same quarantine flags to everything it extracts.

No, these quarantine flags aren't supposed to last forever. Another Apple lie.

No, fanboys will never see these flags. Apple could let them, Apple could make it easy, there are tools onboard to make this possible, but fanboys are dumb as wheat. Fanboys go on blissfully, not only ignorant, but willfully choosing to be ignorant.

One must of course ask: who even uses a Mac (a computer) anymore? Baroness Tim said he can't understand why anyone would. Of course this was years before he realised he needed the Mac market again.

But who does use them?

Today most people use phones. They're a total IQ match and Steve's greatest achievement. 2007 was a watershed year. For most people, phones are perfect. Those people don't need the power of even a PC - they'll never understand it either. They don't even have to learn to type. All they need is a few finger gestures and then a microfibre cloth to wipe the drool and boogers off the screen from time to time.

But you can't make a phone with a phone. You can write mainframe software on a mainframe, you can write PC software on a PC, but you can't write phone software on a phone. You need a PC for that.

So the PC (the Mac) is here to stay. At least phone developers will have to buy them.

Apple's been barreling ahead with no thought for or to the future, so inebriated they became with their sudden and unexpected mobile market success. They still don't have a consolidated plan. See here how chaotic their development environment's become.

That's 327,449 files. Just for all the chaotic platforms they try to support at the same time.

Apple clearly don't have their act together. Forbes and Fortune might look at the acquisitions and press releases about new products, but the internals at Apple speak their own clear language. Cupertino's in deep shit.

To see further just how ridiculous this whole thing is, check their CodeResources file. It's 81,751,344 bytes. Eighty megabloats. To do what? To make sure that everything in that Xcode monster package is intact.

(Now you know why it takes so long to launch Xcode.)

They didn't think things through at Apple. They just followed along in the dance, vestal virgin preteens, not knowing WTF they were doing.


The cute little blonde at Rixstep asked me to write a new op-ed. It's been years. I've been running OpenBSD these days. But yes, Keymaster is good. It's like putting a finger to a dike (sp). It may make current systems viable for a while. But if 'PC' is your thing, get away from Apple - it's not worth it, even with all that shiny gayness.

The freebie Keymaster Solo is OK. I'd recommend you just turn it on and off again before you want to inspect your download, for example.

The ACP Keymaster is of course a lot better. There's a lot of work and research put into that sucker. They created a lot of useful apps to go along with it (all in the ACP natch).

I sometimes want downloads to go to a non-standard place, so the ACP Keymaster is perfect. It also lets me create bespoke Keymaster files to run, so I can switch between configurations as needed.

I will no longer recommend anyone migrate to the Mac. Get off Windows? Of course. But you should take Linux or OpenBSD instead.

But, if you're still on the Mac, get Keymaster and save yourself a lot of hassle.

 - BCB 2020-06-17 Saint Helier

Brendon C Bleebwart is an event promoter living in Jersey.

About Rixstep

Stockholm/London-based Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

Rixstep and Radsoft products are or have been in use by Sweden's Royal Mail, Sony/Ericsson, the US Department of Defense, the offices of the US Supreme Court, the Government of Western Australia, the German Federal Police, Verizon Wireless, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Corporation, the New York Times, Apple Inc, Oxford University, and hundreds of research institutes around the globe. See here.

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