Update for 2012:

Apple did it again. They broke RedPill. This time it was the OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) update that broke things.

Unfortunately, I’m still running OS X 10.6, and have no plans to upgrade. The reasons for this are many, here’s a quick rundown of the key ones:

I don’t want an iOS-like interface on my Mac.

I don’t want to have to sign code with an Apple-approved key before it’ll be usable by other people, or force people to jump through “security theater” hoops to run it.

I won’t buy a phone or tablet unless I can run whatever code I like on it. That means no iPhone or iPad for me. And that, in turn, means a lot of the supposed features of Mac OS X and Apple’s ‘cloud’ are of no use to me.

I don’t want Facebook and Twitter integration in my OS. Back in the 90s, Apple would have created an open API so I could set up whatever social networking systems I wanted to use, but these days they’re more concerned with blocking Google, as some kind of petty revenge for Android.

I don’t use proprietary document formats. Since iWork’s formats are no longer documented and it doesn’t interoperate with ODF, I’ve switched to using TeX for my documents and Google Docs for my simple spreadsheet needs.

I don’t want RAM soldered on to the motherboard so it can’t be upgraded, or a computer that uses special proprietary drives.

I don’t want batteries glued into my laptop so they can’t be changed without sending the machine away to be serviced and producing a pile of e-waste.

I don’t want to have to spend hours installing MacPorts and compiling code just to get up-to-date copies of all the standard GPL-licensed tools I use as a developer. If I have to install the equivalent of a Gentoo system alongside OS X, where is the added value in OS X?

I don’t want to financially support a company that resorts to patent trolling and trying to get competitors’ products banned over things that have 20+ years of prior art, like detecting phone numbers and making them dialable (Borland Sidekick, 1986) or arranging application icons in a grid (Palm Pilot, 1996.)

I don’t want to financially support a company that engages in petty censorship of software and e-books.

After more than 20 years as an Apple customer, the company has decided to stop producing products I actually want. My needs haven’t changed much, but Apple no longer wishes to meet them.

That’s not the whole story, though. I paid for an Apple developer account, polished up RedPill, and completely rewrote SnowSaver. I submitted them to the Mac App Store. They were summarily rejected. After a couple of cycles of rejection, I said that if Apple was sure there was no way they would accept my screensavers, I’d like a refund. I got the refund.

So, as far as I’m concerned, if you want to know why SnowSaver 2 and RedPill aren’t readily available as signed packages for Mountain Lion, take it up with Apple.

Having said all that… I’ve been told of a potential quick fix for RedPill. I’ve applied it to the code and uploaded everything to GitHub.

In the mean time, I’ve been spending most of my spare development time working on Android projects, and making plans to switch to Linux.

32 thoughts on “RedPill

    1. I planned to put RedPill and SnowSaver 2.0 for Lion on the Mac App Store.

      Unfortunately, Apple rejected them, so it won’t be happening.

      1. Matt, Red Pill is a great screensaver that I use on my Macs, an older snow leopard and a new lion. Just gotten new iPad -0 will there be one for it?

          1. Hey,

            I just installed the screensaver in my son’s Mini, running 10.6.8, and it doesn’t work. Any suggestions?



  1. I’ve always really liked this screensaver, so I was bummed after I just updated to OSX 10.8 and the glyphs are messed up now. The saver still runs, but it doesn’t look like it is rendering properly. The glyphs have vertical lines running through them and don’t look good at all. I took a short video of the preview window if you want to take a look at it:

    I tried reinstalling and it didn’t help. If I get ambitious I might try playing with the source, or recompile it, but i don’t have a lot of OSX coding experience.

  2. Hey Mathew,

    Just checked out Red Pill under Mountain Lion 10.8 and it doesn’t appear to be displaying properly. Any plans for an update for Mountain Lion.



  3. Hi Matthew,

    I appreciate and agree with your distaste for what Apple is doing lately – and the rejection of your screensavers is truly ridiculous (especially on the grounds they cite). However, let me propose that you never needed to use their delivery mechanism before. A lot of people love your RedPill screensaver as it’s lauded as the best-looking screensaver of that movie’s ilk – we all pretty much downloaded it and installed it ourselves. Mountain Lion does let us install software without it being “signed” – Preferences>Security>General> Allow applications from Anywhere. I use OSX for work, and need to be on the latest version – count me among the people who agree with you, yet would like an update that works with 10.8 that doesn’t need the silly app store walled garden. Would be happy to donate to help the process along. :)

  4. Super bummed out that you’ve had a bad run in with Apple over this. However, it is not necessary to release it through the app store, it is pretty easy to turn off Apple Gatekeeper and install the software you want to, so please consider making it available!

    I have been using Red Pill since Snow Leopard and was really bummed out to see that it does not work under 10.8.

    Some of us must run 10.8 for various reasons, so please consider updating it! It’s a great screen saver.

  5. RedPill is the only ScreenSaver I ever used, pls consider make it working for ML. As other has already mentioned, submitting to App Store is not a must.

  6. FVI: I noticed that doubling the Glyph.png (located in Red Pills app package) file’s size is all you need to do to fix the screensaver. In any image editor (including preview) scale it to 200% and save, that’s all.

    I hope you won’t delete this post, being pissed at Apple is your right, but please don’t punish the many fans of your work (myself included) that want to keep using your awesome screensaver in 10.8

  7. Hi there,

    I LOVE the screensaver ! I’ve been using it for years. Thank you very much for the good work.

    For me, it didn’t work by scale it 200% BUT works when scaling… 50% :)

    Keep up the good work,

    Kind regards,


  8. Doubling the Glyphs.png worked! Is there a way in the code on GitHub to remove the randomizing of the letters so that words created in the image file (Glyphs.png) might/would remain readable?

    I just wanted to have words versus random characters appear.


    Great work!

  9. Yes! Scaling to 200% worked running 2009ish MBP OSX 10.94 used Preview worked liked a charm.


  10. and what’s their problem! it annoys me. Let’s add an option for giving the time and temperature like other apps!

  11. I have no ability to fix the screen saver myself so the link that Lordz provided fixed my problem, thank you for that. I’ve had the red pill screen saver for over a decade now and was bummed when I realized it wasn’t rending? properly after my update to Yosemite 10.10.4 . I’m glad it works once again.

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