Mac users will soon be getting a second App Store for their computers that mimics the free and open nature of the Cydia store, according to recent reports. The OS X HackStore is currently being developed by Russian programmer Andrey Fedotov as a more open alternative to the Mac App Store.
Fedotov spoke to Cult of Mac about the project, which he began developing in December of last year. Fedotov wanted to create a centralized marketplace for app discovery and download that was as convenient as the Mac or iOS App Stores, but as open as Cydia.
When Steve Jobs announced that Apple was launching the Mac App Store ahead of OS X Lion last year, there was some concern among Mac users. The worry was that the Mac App Store would duplicate the iOS platform’s “walled garden” that prevented software from being placed on Macs without going through Apple’s approval process (a process which, at the time, was notoriously inconsistent).
Though that hasn’t exactly happened (notwithstanding the Gatekeeper feature that’s coming in OS X Mountain Lion), the Mac App Store has created problems for some developers. You see, the Mac App Store has rules similar to those of the iOS App Store. If you make an app - good, bad, or otherwise - that doesn’t fit those rules, it can’t go in the Mac App Store. With Apple pushing to have users focus on the Mac App Store as their one-stop-shop for Mac software, apps that aren’t in the store can get left out in the cold. That’s where the HackStore comes in.
Like Cydia, the “app store” for jailbroken iOS devices, the HackStore will be far more open than the App Store, while still providing a centralized, curated environment for people to find, purchase, and download new apps. The HackStore will cater to the kinds of apps that get excluded from the Mac App Store. Though Fedetov declines to say who, he apparently has a number of app developer friends on board to help get the HackStore populated quickly.
What do you think? Does OS X need something like the HackStore? Will you use it when it becomes available? Let us know in the comments.