Mountain lion release date
Apple fans all around the world are going to be getting excited this week with the imminent arrival of Mountain Lion. The rumours regarding the Mountain Lion release have been flying out, left, right and centre. Apple stated that the release date of the next big cat for OS X would be in July. Seeing as we are now towards the end of July, the Apple fans are getting a little bit twitchy. Many believe that the actual date for the Mountain Lion release date will be the 25th July which will coincide with an Apple announcement regarding earnings. It is expected that as the end of the Apple earnings announcement they’ll say, by the way, Mountain Lion is available and you can get it from the Mac App Store tomorrow.
The Mountain Lion gold master release in the hands of developers
The GM release is already available to developers and this is a definite sign of how imminent the new OS is. It has been noted that on previous releases the gold master release is in fact the final release. When the proper version is made available there are no changes to it compared to the gold master. One thing that we know for sure, is that when the software is made available, there is going to be a huge hit on the Apple servers. It may make perfect sense to decide to wait a day or two before trying to download the latest OS X cat. Not everybody though, will have the patience to wait a couple of days to be able to enjoy the new Mountain Lion features. There will be much more iCloud integration to enjoy also.
There is already a lot of information out there about Mountain Lion
On account of the fact that the Apple operating system developers need to work hand-in-hand with the creators of the third-party software, the Apple community already knows what is coming. Even though there is a nondisclosure agreement in place, there will be a certain amount of loose talk and bean spilling. It is not too difficult to get a Mountain Lion developer preview and to use the latest Mac operating system before the general populace gets their grubby little paws on it. We know quite a lot too from this year’s WWDC.
The best Mountain Lion features
Personally, I am looking forward to the inclusion of voice control included in the Mountain Lion release. This is because I already use Dragon Dictate for most of my writing, for the weblogs that I contribute to, such as for Video Magical. I can already use Dragon Dictate to open and close applications as well as for dictating whole articles. I do have some difficulties dictating into other applications, aside from the Dragon Dictate window, so I am hoping that Mountain Lion will fill that gap with the speech recognition software.
Control your Mac with your voice
Other Mac users will also likely be looking forward to OS X voice control of the operating system and applications, following getting familiar with Siri. It only makes sense, with the closer integration between Mac OS X and iOS that users should be able to do tasks in a similar way, whatever Apple computer is being used. It remains to be seen whether an Internet connection will be required in order to use the operating system provided voice control, as per with Siri. It could be that the Mac OS X voice control will take advantage of the larger storage space available and the heavier duty hardware and an Internet connection will not be required. Which way this eventually works, it remains to be seen.
The Mountain Lion review is coming
As soon as possible after the Mountain Lion release date, I will install it on my iMac so that I can give you a Mountain Lion review. So even if it might make sense to wait a couple of days after the release date before installing, I will be downloading as soon as possible. I have to do this so that I can give you a proper hands-on Mountain Lion review.
What else am I looking forward to with the Mountain Lion release?
Within the list of Mountain Lion features you will find the Mountain Lion Gatekeeper. There are a number of things to consider with regards the Gatekeeper. The idea behind this part of the Mac OS X of Mountain Lion, is to keep Apple users safe from viruses and malware. Also connected to Gatekeeper is the requirement from Apple for developers to sandbox their applications. We no longer have the advantage of security through obscurity. Macs are much more mainstream and therefore more likely to come under attack by malware makers.
Sand boxing and Gatekeeper have advantages and disadvantages for us users. Sand boxing means that one application can’t do something that will affect another application. This way an application can’t be used as a backdoor to be used by hackers for nefarious purposes. The only trouble with this, is that there are a number of applications which by the nature of the capabilities and functions that they provide, can no longer be sold through the Mac App Store due to the sandbox requirements. Some applications are already available in two versions, one for the Mac App Store and one sold from the developer’s website.
Using Mountain Lion Gatekeeper
There are three main settings in Mountain Lion Gatekeeper and the first of these is to have it set to only allow applications that are available in the Mac App Store. This will be the setting for the users that require the feeling of safety for being inside the Apple walled garden. There are a number of advantages to buying applications from the Mac App Store including the ability to put on more than one Apple Computer that you own, or belong to your family members. All of the developers that produce the applications are identified and verified as being okay. Applications are checked as being sand boxed and if an application is found to be malware it will be kicked out of the Mac App Store. If it is found to be intentional black hat type of malware, then I expect the developer would also lose access to the Mac App Store as a sales venue.
Mac App Store and identified developers setting within Gatekeeper
In Mountain Lion, the default setting will be set so that you can use applications from the Mac App Store and developers that are identified. As well as being able to run any applications from the Mac App Store, you will be able to run third-party applications that have been digitally signed by identified Mac developers. This will be a safe setting that most users will tend to use. This will partly be due to the fact that it is the default setting and also because you will have a reasonable level of peace of mind while using applications not from the Apple App Store.
It could happen that malware could be found in one of these applications, but is quite unlikely. If an application from an identified developer is changed by the man in the middle attacker, then that application would not run on your computer. You do have to realise though that these applications are not really getting a seal of approval from Apple. It is just the case that the certificate that is provided by Apple can be revoked, if it is decided by Apple that there is malware being distributed.
With Gatekeeper you can run software from anywhere
This is the setting if you are happy with the way things work at present, or prior to Mountain Lion Gatekeeper. If you are using an administrator account on your Mac you can change to this setting. In any case you can also override Gatekeeper by doing a right click on the application in the Finder and choosing Open. The app will launch without any complaining. When you have done this once with an application it will continue to open every time after that. It is clear that the Mountain Lion Gatekeeper is there to promote good behaviour and to get you to not run software that you don’t really trust. The choice of what applications to run are still in the hands of the Mac user. The Apple haters that complain about Apple being dictatorial – the Apple way or the highway – don’t really have a leg to stand on with regards their naysaying.
A review of Mountain Lion Gatekeeper
Overall it seems to be a very well thought out way to try and keep the Mac system as safe as possible for all sorts of users. The default setting will keep the basic user safe and a total novice and can be kept safer, by changing it to the Mac App Store only setting. The power users don’t really have too much to complain about either, as you can still run whatever you like.
The sand boxing requirement for the Mac App Store could possibly mean a certain amount of fragmentation of the Mac ecosystem of applications. Good non-malware type of applications could be forced out of the Mac App Store by the sand boxing rules, which is a bit of a shame. This could mean that there will be two versions of an application which could cause a user confusion if moving between machines with different settings. We may see Mac applications that are orphaned in terms of development, but we may have to see how this pans out in the real world after the Mountain Lion release date.
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