Haxies, Leopard, and Input Managers

Both Ars Technica and TUAW are reporting that InputManager plugins will be disabled in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

from Ars:

“Apple isn’t really broken up about it since InputManagers were often used for nefarious purposes anyway,” our sources said, but the loss of InputManager control will break a lot of shareware and commercial software that currently makes use of that control.

To tell you the truth, I’ve read about possible InputManager exploits, but I’ve never seen any “nefarious” plugins in the wild.

Now, in the original version of the Ars post (I wish I had a screenshot), there was speculation that this would break Unsanity haxies, but that info has been altered since then. Still, I thought I would shoot off an email to Unsanity and get a direct answer. Rosyna was kind enough to provide me with some answers, and I thought I’d share these with you here.

Q: You may not be able to answer this one, but can any of you confirm or deny rumors that InputManager plugins are broken in Leopard?

A:  We cannot comment.

No surprises here!

Q: Whether or not the rumor is true, do you see the disabling of InputManager plugins as a good thing or a bad thing?

A: I couldn’t say, honestly. If true, it’d cause a lot of useful software to be otherwise disabled.

Q: Would this impact APE in any way if it were true (hypothetically speaking)?

A: Why would it impact APE at all? APE has nothing whatsoever to do with InputManagers. Only two of our products (SCR, MEE) use Input Managers and both of them are quite free. Input Managers are cocoa only and are therefore not adequate for our needs.

At this point, my other questions were rendered moot. The short story is that APE is here to stay.

Of additional interest, the TUAW post has a comment with a questionable picture (comment #7) that refutes the total disabling of InputManager plugins, and an update at the bottom of the Ars post says this:

When you install Leopard, InputManagers are (currently) disabled by default, but they can be enabled when Leopard finds something of yours that uses an InputManager and presents you with a dialog box. You can currently enable them this way, but if you click “Disable” (which is the default option), they apparently go away for good.  “That’s what Apple says is the current behavior. They’re not sure what the final behavior will be,” says one developer. “Apple says they are deprecated, and in ‘a future release’ they will be disabled permanently. They won’t say if that release is 10.5.x or 10.6.”

As far as InputManager-powered products go, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but it does seem certain that APE modules will be completely unaffected by this, which is good news for me as well as many other Mac users!

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