Once again, I called it. Apple’s software download site? Dead.

A few months ago, I dared to predict Apple would be slowly herding developers and users to their new app store for the mac in place of the ability to download apps of their choice from other sources. One such other source, which is currently accessible on Mac OSX, is apple’s software download website–that site, effective in two weeks when the app store launches, officially dies a horrible, bloody death. Or, gets redirected to the app store. whichever you prefer. Someone going by the name Myron Byron left me a nice little comment on that entry a few hours after it was posted.

Really? So providing a curated App Store means they’ll also *remove* the existing ability to install software that isn’t provided via that store?? That’s quite a stretch.

This isn’t the same situation as the iPhone/iPad, in which customers knew they were buying in to both a curated AND a locked-down store, and in which there has never been any other way to install apps. Do you honestly believe Apple would be willing to alienate their millions of existing Mac customers?

In fact, if you read the pc-mag link you included in your article you’ll see that Steve Jobs refers to the Mac App Store as the “best place to discover apps”. “Best” not “only.”

Steve Jobs may well be a control freak, but he’s not an idiot.

I responded to that comment, and he’s not been back to the site since.

Given Apple’s tendancy to classify installing an app when and how you want, if it just so happens that when and how you want may be outside of the app store, as voiding your warranty, no, I personally don’t think it’s much of a stretch at all. You’re right, though–Jobs is a control freak, not an idiot. So expect in another version or two after that for them to come up with another way to say “not recommended”.

It didn’t take that long.

Apple first announced the iPhone/iPad-style App Store for Macs at its “Back to the Mac” event when it gave the industry a peek at its next Mac OS version, dubbed OS X Lion. Apple has already made one feature of that upcoming OS available in the current version, FaceTime for Mac, and the App store will be the second. The intention of the Mac App Store is to make installing apps on the desktop as simple as it is on iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. This includes easy discovery in a gallery with ratings and stats, a one-button install, and automatic updates.

Mac developers will still be able to make their programs available via download from their own or third-party Web sites, but it makes sense for them to rejigger the apps to fit with the new App Store, since this will deliver them the largest audience of Mac users. As with the iPhone/iPad store, the Mac store will give Apple more gatekeeper control over what’s allowed in, enforcing whatever restrictions they deem fit. It also means developers will hand over 30 percent of the purchase price to Apple.

Once again, I called it. As of January 6th, you will no longer actually own your mac any more than you actually own your iWhatever. You work faster than I thought, Apple. Awesome. But not really.

I called it. You’ll soon be renting your Mac, too.

Remember when the iPad first came out, and there was all this talk of it escentially being the future of personal computers? Ever since then, and even before then, I’ve maintained a theory that a lot of what you’d see on the iPhone would find its way onto the Mac before too long. In my massive review of the iPad, I voiced some disagreement with Apple’s philosophy about what you should and shouldn’t be permitted to do with or install on their devices. In short, I’ve never been a fan of Apple’s app store, and in fact have sworn off buying an iPhone, iPad or iWhatever largely because of that. Well, plus the fact they’ve developed an alergy to the built-in keyboard but that’s neither here nor there. And, sure enough, the next version of Mac OS, to be released sometime in the summer of 2011, is said to include it’s very own app store. More details have been released throughout the day, which pretty much amount to the same thing you see on the iPhone/Pad making it into the next itteration of Mac OS.

Roughly translated, starting in the next version of Mac OS, you may be required to jailbreak your Mac before you can do anything with it that Apple doesn’t directly approve of–like, for instance, that whole fiasco re: Google Voice not being welcome on the iPhone for a few forevers. Or the relatively minor little issue of Apple deciding flash doesn’t belong on its platform.

Starting with the next version of Mac OS, you’ll more than likely be seeing the same restrictions placed on it that you do on your iPad. You may have bought the hardware, but you’ll still need Apple’s permission to do anything with it. In short, I called it. You escentially rent the iPad, and you’ll soon be renting your Mac to go with it. Welcome to the future, folks.

I’ll stick with Linux, thanks.

Out of random curiosity last year, I started to tinker with Linux on a local machine–specificly, a 5-year-old HP laptop that wasn’t really being used for a whole lot else. Not really being willing to bother considering what I could manage to lose and what I might want to keep–there was 4 years of crap on that laptop pre-install, I just pulled everything off that HD and onto this machine, and went about the business of installing Gentoo. I know, at least three of you are laughing at me for having made that decision. I like a challenge, okay? Since then, I’ve been playing, tweeking, updating, tweeking, and playing some more just to see how long it takes me to get everything working. Or, how long it takes me to break things so horribly it doesn’t even boot, whichever comes first.

There’s a point to this, I swear. The thing that drew me initially to Linux is the fact that it can run on damn near anything with the right amount of tweeking. And the people behind it actually encourage it. I mean, the fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt either but still. I can dig up an old Pentium II, hook it up, pray to god it has an ethernet port on the thing so I can plug it into the router, and probably find a current version of Linux that’ll run on it. Windows and Mac OS can’t really make that claim. Hell, the advent of Vista broke most machines that could have run XP just fine a couple years ago. And Apple’s been trying for, like, ever to find a way to restrict people to buying their hardware if you want their OS.

They’re trying it again, this time in the form of an update that apparently removes Intel Atom chipset support from the OS. While they point out it probably won’t take very long before someone comes up with a patch for it, they also sort of halfway gloss over the entire point as to why I won’t be buying a Mac anytime soon, against the multitude of advice that’ll no doubt be offered to me by Mac and Mac OS users alike. The OS can run on damn near any Intel chipset out there. And it even needs little to no modification to actually do so. You would think, since it means selling more copies of their OS, and since it means they can take even more market share away from Windows and Linux, they’d be all over it. Apparently you’d be wrong.

I don’t like being told what I’m allowed to do with something I already paid for. That’s why I don’t own an iPhone, and why once I’m more comfortable with Linux I’ll probably be switching from Windows entirely. If Apple’s going to insist that if I want to run their OS, whether I have space for it or not I absolutely must buy their hardware, I’ll stick to Linux, thanks. Or, if not Linux, someone who’s not trying to work against me.

And the Mac advantage is…

… Definitely not the lack of malware. At least, not anymore according to Symantec. They say they believe they’ve discovered the first ever Mac botnet. According to the article (geek.com), it’s supposedly already infected several (I think the article said thousands?) of macs, which are apparently being remotely controlled by a third party, though not necessarily the person(s) who created the malware in the first place. This sort of walks all over one of the major supposed benefits many mac users throw up in the faces of anyone still using Windows, that being thelack of any real need for antivirus/antimalware software. If Symantec is able to actually confirm the report, folks are gonna have to find a new excuse to switch from Windows. At least, if they’re not switching to linux, who still remains malware free to this point.