MAS Revolt

September 09, 2011 by Gabe | [mmd] |

Looks like there is a small uprising over at the AgileBits forum. The issue centers on their decision to go all-in on the Mac AppStore (MAS). There are two camps:[1]

  1. People angry that they have to repurchase the application and will not get upgrade pricing
  2. People that are concerned the MAS will reduce the functionality and update cycles
For the people hanging out in camp 1: If you derive $20 additional value out of MAS and the upcoming version 4 of 1Password, then pay for it. If you are using version 3.8 right now and are happy with it, then don’t buy any future versions. You should always make your purchase based on what you are delivered and not what you are promised.

For people in camp 2: Welcome to camp 2. I’m right there with you. As my last post detailed, the MAS version has already broken my Dropbox syncing.

I wanted to use the MAS version of 1Password for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s simple and I don’t need to track serial numbers
  2. I don’t need to hunt for the installer when I get a new machine
  3. It’s great advertising for a great product
  4. I want to support the MAS model
There’s just one problem with reason #4. It doesn’t work for everything. To be on the MAS an application must obey some specific guidelines. That means totally awesome applications like LaunchBar, Keyboard Maestro (EDIT: KM actually is in the MAS. So, I guess I'm wrong with that one) and PathFinder probably will not make it to the MAS in their current form. They NEED to violate Apple’s guidelines to do their job. They need to live free and loose.

I can’t hold it against AgileBits for wanting to go MAS only though. It simplifies their business a lot. They don’t have to manage application distribution and licensing. They don’t have to manage a store. They even get a bit of “free” advertising by making it to the front page. The Agile team deserve a break for experimenting and taking a chance. I can’t name many products that have such aggressive development and improvement cycles. They also really care about what they are making.

On the other hand, I’m concerned this is a bruise that might take a long time to heal. A password manager is an intimate application. I trust it with the security. When someone threatens the future of that security I get nervous. There’s a reason I refuse to event look at Apple’s Keychain application. I’m already taking a look at alternatives to 1Password just in case they can not fix Dropbox syncing. I would have never considered an alternative before yesterday. I probably would have continued to buy every major release of 1Password and included the master password in my Estate Plan and Will.

  1. These camps are note mutually exclusive