So it is of course obvious to any one that the introduction of code signing in Leopard plus the recent introduction of the Mac App Store are the first two steps on the road to your beautiful Apple computer becoming nothing more than a big iPad.

Here’s step three – a missive recently sent out to all OS X Developers who have apps hosted at Apple’s Mac OS X Downloads site.

Thank you for making the Mac OS X Download site a great destination with apps that offer users new ways to work, play, learn, and create on their Mac.

We recently announced that on January 6, 2011, the Mac App Store will open to users around the world, presenting you with an exciting, new opportunity to reach millions of customers. Since the introduction of the App Store in 2008, we’ve been thrilled with the incredible support from developers and the enthusiastic response from users. Now we’re bringing the revolutionary experience of the App Store to Mac OS X.

Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Instead, beginning January 6, we will be directing users to explore the range of apps available on the Mac App Store.

We appreciate your support of the Mac platform and hope you’ll take advantage of this new opportunity to showcase your apps to even more users. To learn how you can offer your apps on the Mac App Store, visit the Apple Developer website at .

Best regards,

Ron Okamoto
Vice President, Worldwide Developer Relations
Apple Inc.

The short version? Apple are closing their Mac OS X Downloads site. The long version? OS X Lion (or whatever cat follows that) will make app code signing mandatory and suddenly if you’re not in Apple’s cosy little walled garden you’re out in the cold, and your laptop joins your phone in being a device that you rent from Apple rather than actually own outright.

In the face of this disappointing future, three cheers for Jay Freeman (saurik) for his recent announcement of ‘Cydia for Macintosh’ – at least there’s one person out there who sees the way the wind is blowing and is in a position to do something about it. Note that it is very relevant that Jay sees that in the main Cydia contains ‘system tweaks’ rather than applications. Fighting Apple’s lockdown of your iDevice (whether phone, pad, or laptop) is and has always been more about giving you back complete ownership over the device you paid for rather than running any particular application on it.