Handy Tip: Launching Open Source Software on OS X 10.9.3

June 26, 2014 at 7:10 PM Leave a comment

I’ve been using open source and/or free software of various stripes for a decade or more, and also using a Mac for a decade or more. (OK, I’ll admit my age, and say two decades or more!) So the surprise I felt, when confronted with a dialog box telling me that “my security settings would not allow me to run software that was not downloaded from the App Store or from a trusted developer”, was akin to the feeling of being slapped by my laptop. (Ouch!) I must say it was a very, pardon the expression, “Windows-like” experience.

I was attempting to run an open source package downloaded from SourceForge, something I’ve done many times before, and I don’t remember changing my security settings to not allow me to do such things. (And I can’t imagine making that choice, honestly.) So I think this must have been an enhancement that came with my most recent OS X upgrade.

I’m sure there’s a way to fix my security settings, but in the meantime I found a handy workaround, which is to right-click and open the app instead of double-clicking to run the app. There’s still a dialog box asking for my permission to run the software, but that I can live with!

The Mac has always done a beautiful job of treading the fine line between protecting users from themselves, a la Windows — “are you sure you want to do that?” “no, I mean are you really, really sure?” — and allowing users to do crazy things, willy nilly, a la Linux. (I’m looking at you, sudo.) I hope this isn’t a sign of the Mac OS moving in a more Windows-like direction of over-protecting users.

Entry filed under: Open Sourcery.

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