iPhone Software 2.1 to stifle open source copy-and-paste effort

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An open source project aimed at bringing universal copy-and-paste support to Apple's iPhone has hit a major roadblock due to security-related changes in the next version of iPhone software, according to the group's organizers.



The initiative, dubbed OpenClip, was conceived by student developer Zac White earlier this month after an Apple executive remarked that copy-and-paste functionality on the iPhone remains a low priority. Many iPhone users worldwide don't agree with that stance, however, and often single out a lack of the feature as one of the handset's most glaring omissions.



To address the problem, OpenClip sought to develop an source framework that developers could use as a means of implementing the Cocoa-based NSPasteboard functionality into their apps, without violating the terms of Apple's iPhone Software Developers Kit.



Essentially, the framework made it easy for iPhone developers to utilizes a shared space on the iPhone, allowing any application that used the new framework to read and write data from the common area, thereby allowing copy-and-paste between participating apps. A video demonstrating the concept can be seen below.



Developers of nearly a dozen applications almost immediately vouched support for framework. Future versions of Twittelator, MobileChat, and MagicPad were listed on the OpenClip website among the applications that would eventually see support for the unofficial copy-and-paste framework. But not if it runs counter to Apple's plans to plug perceived security holes in the iPhone's software.



On Friday, White updated the OpenClip website, noting that changes discovered in beta 4 of the upcoming iPhone Software 2.1 break his copy-and-paste concept because the new software no longer allows apps to access to the common storage area of other apps.



\t\t\t\tCut and Paste for iPhone from Cali Lewis on Vimeo.



White's not throwing in the towel just yet, however, arguing that "though Apple is killing the concept behind the current OpenClip, that doesn't mean we can't change the concept." His new idea proposals include a share clipboard that could be stored in an Address Book card or even on a remote server.



"The address book version, would have to write a very weird looking address book card to your address book. It would probably get synced and it would show up on your Mac or PC or even MobileMe. I'm not too cracked up about that, but I would be interested to know what users think of that," he wrote. "The network solution is impossible for Apple to shut down, but it is no easy task."
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Apple's move to circumvent the OpenClip initiative begs the question of whether the company's official copy-and-support solution for the iPhone (and iPod touch) has been re-prioritized in light of recent third-party activity...



    This is wrong. As mentioned on John Gruber's website days ago the changes in iPhone OS 2.1 were in the works from the beginning and the developers of OpenClip knew that from the start. Apple is not "circumventing" OpenClip, OpenClip was taking advantage of a temporary "hole" that was always going to be closed.
  • Reply 2 of 42
    It is clear that this is an in-demand feature that is lacking from iPhone OS. If Apple doesn't want a 3rd party solution-they better offer the feature and quickly.



    Love my Jailbreak for my phone-Apple has little to say about unofficial software
  • Reply 3 of 42
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    Apple kills clippy.







    but personally, i haven't had a real need to copy and paste, but others might.



    i'd rather have the capability to play my music while using my game applications. this is silly.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    This is wrong. As mentioned on John Gruber's website days ago the changes in iPhone OS 2.1 were in the works from the beginning and the developers of OpenClip knew that from the start. Apple is not "circumventing" OpenClip, OpenClip was taking advantage of a temporary "hole" that was always going to be closed.



    Yes, Apple is simply closing what they deem a security risk; they don't want malicious code to be able to sniff data from a common location that apps share. If apps can see each other's data (via a common app storage area), then there is a security risk - in Apple's collective mind.

    Hopefully, Apple will come up with their own solution.
  • Reply 5 of 42
    Whatever, they should allow this kind of invention to continue. Especially because it comes from people who clearly love to use Apple products.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    "Apple executive remarked that copy-and-paste functionality on the iPhone remains a low priority. Millions of iPhone users worldwide don't agree with that stance,"



    Source?



    A Google search +Copy +Paste +iPhone finds under 1 million pages. I'm sure many do want copy and paste, but you can't just blindly say that millions don't agree without some source.
  • Reply 7 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spamsandwich View Post


    whatever, they should allow this kind of invention to continue. Especially because it comes from people who clearly love to use apple products.



    thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you !
  • Reply 8 of 42
    ringoringo Posts: 328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Meanwhile, Apple's move to circumvent the OpenClip initiative begs the question of whether the company's official copy-and-support solution for the iPhone (and iPod touch) has been re-prioritized in light of recent third-party activity.



    This statement really hurts my brain. That's quite a statement considering that the iPhone developer documentation states that such an action should not be possible (the fact that it was possible in 2.0 - 2.0.2 was a bug). Further, the beta that closed the hole was seeded to developers before the OpenClip project detailed the inner workings of their framework. Either Apple has a man inside the project (tinfoil hat time!) or they simply fixed what is clearly a bug.
  • Reply 9 of 42
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Whatever, they should allow this kind of invention to continue. Especially because it comes from people who clearly love to use Apple products.



    Not if Apple has any intention for the iPhone to gain traction among corporate users. For the iPhone to be accepted there, Apple is going to have to convince them that it's as secure as a Blackberry. Permitting applications to blow holes through security sure won't help that cause.
  • Reply 10 of 42
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Being able to search web pages and e-mails for text strings is of far greater importance to me. Not that copy/cut/paste isn't desired.
  • Reply 11 of 42
    It's surprising that Apple doesn't have cut-n-paste on the iPhone to begin with.



    However, it's not that surprising when put in context with the fact that they're in bed with the Recording Ass. Of America.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    ktappektappe Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post


    For the iPhone to be accepted (among corporate users), Apple is going to have to convince them that it's as secure as a Blackberry. Permitting applications to blow holes through security sure won't help that cause.



    OK, so Apple should implement cut & paste, and THEN fix the security hole. It's their order of operations here that is going to irk a lot of people.



    Or Apple could actually determine if the data being written to (or already in) the shared area was written by the function call that has been agreed to by the development community. If so, Apple could allow the data to remain, but block all other accesses to that shared area. Point is, there is a way for Apple to allow this function to continue while also tightening security. But noooo, Apple must do it their way and everyone else gets the highway.



    People ask me frequently if I'm happy with my iPhone. I hesitate. They notice this. And the reason I hesitate is because of things like the cut & paste deal and new firmware. The iPhone is great, but it could be astounding. It's Apple keeping the platform from improving at this point. They need to let their baby bird out of the nest to spread its own wings.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    f1turbof1turbo Posts: 249member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Being able to search web pages and e-mails for text strings is of far greater importance to me. Not that copy/cut/paste isn't desired.



    +1



    We need Spotlight search on the iPhone.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Whatever, they should allow this kind of invention to continue. Especially because it comes from people who clearly love to use Apple products.



    and here we see that the exciting inaccuracy about Apple "circumventing" hackers promulgated in this article takes root in the public mind ...



    Seriously, I'm sure the news is more exciting this way, but could AppleInsider do a bit of research maybe?



    Now the whole story is going to be about Apple "shutting down" the OpenClip guys when in fact that's the central inaccuracy of the article.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    Using an addressbook entry to store clipboard data? Come on, copy-paste should not be based on a hack. I'm sure Apple will implement something pretty soon.



    Also, I agree that a sandboxed app should not be able to read from other apps' directories unless that's explicitly sanctioned by the API. Wonder how such a glaring omission ever made it into ANY build of the iPhone software.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I like Zac White's take on all this. He is thought through a solution and then is trying to find alternatives instead of complaining when Apple patches up a hole. His video on how Apple could implement a systemwide copy/paste is very thorough. I think Apple will do pretty much everything, if not everything, he discusses in the video, below. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a gander. White even discusses how Apple has a lot more hurdles to tackle than White had for hi MagicPad app.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Apple is not "circumventing" OpenClip, OpenClip was taking advantage of a temporary "hole" that was always going to be closed.



    That is very sensationalist on AI's part.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Matthew Yohe View Post


    "Apple executive remarked that copy-and-paste functionality on the iPhone remains a low priority. Millions of iPhone users worldwide don't agree with that stance,"



    I agree with Apple, here. I want the current features to be ironed out first. I want the phone to be stable. That is a lot of stuff to take care of and should all come before Apple introduces another feature to the mix, especially one that requires every single applicable application to be rewritten to include this feature. It's just adding a Clipboard, it's adding all the ways a user can execute a cut/copy/paste function.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Being able to search web pages and e-mails for text strings is of far greater importance to me. Not that copy/cut/paste isn't desired.



    That would be nice to have, as well as Mail searching. How could that be implemented in Safari?
  • Reply 17 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau View Post


    ...personally, i haven't had a real need to copy and paste, but others might.



    I haven't really either. When I say really though, that means I have had, but not often. When you do need it though it would be great to have, and it should be added. As I said before; I think they should add text clipping using the magnifier and a prolonged still hold to initiate it.



    Like this!
  • Reply 18 of 42
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Fix the article already.



    I fixed Katie's article an hour ago. I addressed the issue almost immediately. Maybe your cache is still showing the initial revision.



    K
  • Reply 19 of 42
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    Sad but true, this really is poor reporting on Appleinsiders part.



    As to cloy and paste well if go about purposefully trying to implement something that is clearly the domain of your toolkit supplier you are bound to run into problems.



    As to Apple and IPhone bugs; well this is about the worst software release I've ever seen from Apple. I spport them 100% in their quest to fix all the bugs in 2.0.x. There are more than a few!!!!!!!!!!!!! In any event I thought that Apple already had a way to exchange data via URLs. Maybe that could be extended to copy and past.



    As to Appleinsider please realize that your credibility is tied to your reporting. We don't expect the accuracy and research of the Wall Street Journal but at least a little effort. If you continue down the path of sounding like a womans supermarket magazine you are bound to loose a considerable amount of readership.





    Dave
  • Reply 20 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    This is wrong. As mentioned on John Gruber's website days ago the changes in iPhone OS 2.1 were in the works from the beginning and the developers of OpenClip knew that from the start. Apple is not "circumventing" OpenClip, OpenClip was taking advantage of a temporary "hole" that was always going to be closed.



    AGREED! PLEASE correct this article. This is poor misinformation bordering on propoganda. Please read Gruber's article. When Apple screws up, I want to hear about it. When a developer misfires on what they thought was possible, blame should go where it belongs.



    ~ CB
Sign In or Register to comment.