Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Donate Now - Join us and Relay FM in supporting St. Jude.

iDOS emulator may be removed from the App Store

Chaoji Li, developer of iDOS reports that the app has fallen afoul of Apple’s prohibition on executed code, and will probably be removed from the App Store (though it’s still available as of this writing):

The bottom line is that I can not bring myself to cut the critical functionalities of iDOS2 in order to be compliant with Apple’s policy. That would be a betrayal to all the users that have purchased this app specifically for those features. Existing users should still be able to download this app in your purchased history, however, if someday you can’t and the appstore [sic] says “removed by developer”, it’s definitely not my doing.

This is a damn shame and points, once again, to the flaws in Apple’s one-size-fits-all rulemaking. As the developer points out, iDOS runs code inside an emulation environment within the app sandbox, meaning that it’s not really a security risk. While you might be able to argue that it provides the opportunity to load objectionable content outside of the purview of the App Store…we’re talking DOS here, people. I don’t expect you’re going to find a lot of kids trawling the Internet to find an old version of Leisure Suit Larry to install. After they learn how to use DOS.1

Apple also points out that this could allow for the loading of unlicensed material that circumvents App Review, which, fair, I suppose, but again, we’re talking software that is decades old, most of which is probably classified as abandonware.

iDOS is an impressive app: heck, you can use it to install Windows 3.1 on an iPad. Wild! Apple should be in the position of celebrating the resourcefulness of its developers, not punishing them for pushing the limits of the platform.

Over the last few years, Apple has been advancing the narrative that the iPad is just as good as a traditional computer2, but if Apple is going to continue to dictate the boundaries of its capabilities by arbitrarily deciding what software can and can’t do on the platform, the truth is simple: this platform, good as it is, will never be as good as a computer. And Apple will have no one to blame but itself.


  1. DOS is by far the more objectionable content, amirite? 
  2. What’s a computer? 
—Linked by Dan Moren

Search Six Colors