Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Mac OS X not a supported platform?

In late 2010, at the conference 360|MacDev, I announced that I was working on Substrate for Mac OS X. I hoped to bootstrap the same kind of ecosystem that we have on jailbroken iOS devices for desktop platforms, something I thought was important, especially with the upcoming Mac App Store.

However, the response that I got was quite poor: people did not see why an unconstrained platform such as Mac OS X would require these development models. While there were a few forums where people reacted positively, the comments that people left on articles about my talk were mostly negative.

In fact, I ended up leaving that conference early, feeling quite depressed, and after spending the next week getting pummeled in the spotlight of the press and having only a single developer contact me regarding getting access to a beta version of the software, I moved on and decided to concentrate on Android.

When Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) came out in 2011 and it became clear to more people what Apple's overall trajectory was, the situation changed somewhat; suddenly, people were asking me where Substrate for Mac OS X was, and I started getting tons of flak for having not released it previously.

By this time, however, I was gearing up for the initial announcement of Substrate for Android, which I made a few months later at Android Open. As Substrate for Mac OS X had been dropped, there were a bunch of issues that I had yet to account for... it couldn't just be dusted off and released.

The situation has only gotten more difficult, actually: with Mountain Lion (Mac OS X 10.8) the sandbox restrictions on applications have been getting more onerous, making it more and more difficult for a shared system like Substrate (which modifies code and loads shared files) to work.

Now that Substrate for Android is stable, documented, and released, I do have intentions to put more effort into Mac OS X as a development target. However, I make absolutely no promises as to when it may appear, and will point out that it may actually come with a kernel patch for an "OS X jailbreak". ;P