Brent Simmons: More on the Default Feeds Issue
I’m trying to figure out what bothers me. I think there are two things.
One is just that the App Store has always seemed rather arbitrary. The guidelines don’t even have to change for unseen policies to change, and it’s impossible to know in advance if a thing you’re doing will be okay and stay okay. (Recall that NetNewsWire has been doing the same thing with default feeds for 18 years.)
This gets really tiring, because every time we submit an app — even just a bug-fix release, like 5.0.1 is — I have to deal with the anxiety as I wonder what’s going to happen this time.
The other issue is a little harder to explain, but it goes like this:
If a site provides a public feed, it’s reasonable to assume that RSS readers might include that feed in some kind of discovery mechanism — they might even include it as a default. This is the public, open web, after all.
Now, if NetNewsWire were presenting itself as the official app version of Daring Fireball, for instance, then that would be dishonest. But it’s not, and that’s quite clear.
To nevertheless require documentation here is for Apple to use overly-fussy legal concerns in order to infantilize an app developer who can, and does, and rather would, take care of these things himself.
In other words: lay off, I want to say. I’m an adult with good judgment and I’ve already dealt with this issue, and it’s mine to deal with.
I have been complaining about the App Store since its inception, but it's worth repeating that it's not just dolts like me who don't like it. It's arbitrary in ways that defeat its purpose, demean its constituents and take for itself the crown of only responsible grown-up. Responsible grown-ups bring up and infuse their kids with values, yes, but would walk on burning embers to give them the freedom to do with their lives what they want. Extracting new rules from the same list of information and applying it suddenly and unevenly is capricious.
It would take an incredible balancing act to actually run an app store well. Apple has done the best job of it so far, but it's still a tire fire that inhibits applications legitimate developers want to write. These events are not representative of every app review process ever, but they are representative of what happens when you have an app review process and you live in the real world. It doesn't have to happen in most of the cases to be a disgrace and an impediment.