Bartender change of ownership—potential security issue?

Anyone know any info about whether the new owner can be trusted? It seems shady that this hasn’t been explained on the Bartender website. I’m concerned because this has been a must-have utility for me.

https://www.reddit.com/r/macapps/comments/1d7zjv8/bartender_5_not_safe_anymore_warning_from/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=mweb3x&utm_name=mweb3xcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

4 Likes

Hopefully this is just something minor, like the developer moving across the pond and getting a new cert, rather than anything serious. I just upgraded last week when I (finally) took the plunge on Sonoma.

Keeping an eye on this thread. Thanks!

3 Likes

It seems Bartender has indeed been sold two months ago, and the new owners have confirmed that on reddit. There is not much additional information on who the new owners are, though. Sadly, this seems to be another poorly executed change of ownership with no communication towards users whatsoever. :roll_eyes:

3 Likes

For now I’m glad that I did not upgrade yet and started trying out Ice instead.

Hope the new owners will prove to be good guys (first impression is the opposite unfortunately).

2 Likes

That’s a bummer.

I have reached out to Setapp to understand what their processes are when a product changes hands without any transparency to end-users.

And I also asked them if they will be able to pin the version released by the old owner so that newer updates don’t go through.

4 Likes

The original dev shares most of the blame as he took our money and then didn’t even tell us that he had dumped his app. Anyone know which version is the last one before the new owners?

1 Like

The certificate change seems to be implemented going to version 5.0.52. Now, as the app was sold two months ago, presumably you’d have to use something older than that to be sure.

1 Like

Ok I downloaded the last three versions before they can pull them offline. Between this and Screens I am slowly eliminating apps I have supported for years.

1 Like

I don’t know if the sky is falling here.

Yes, the original and new developers should have disclosed the sale. Not doing so is obviously problematic, but the sale explains the certificate change.

Folks on Reddit went right to the “This is going to end in a subscription,” which for something people use every day, isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of options out there if Bartender goes away or changes.

6 Likes

I don’t think the potential subscription is the issue. The real problem is that Bartender requires permission to record the screen to work, and not being transparent about the change in ownership makes people suspicious of the motives (especially with what’s currently happening outside our walled garden).

8 Likes

In their Reddit reply they say “we included this fact on our blog,” but they don’t include the link and I can’t find it on the Bartender blog. This still isn’t inspiring much confidence that they or new versions of the app can be trusted.

Ice includes “Display hidden items in a separate bar” on their roadmap, which is good news. I hope it gets implemented soon—IMO that’s always been Bartender’s killer feature.

OTOH: Did they increase prices? (Looks like that to me)

For me that would be the profiles/triggers that Ben introduced in v5:

(on the bottom of the Ice roadmap)

1 Like

Afaik, so far the buyer(s) haven’t communicated who they are, why they bought the Bartender app, why Ben decided to sell it, etc.

All we know is that that Bartender was bought by some shadowy entity registered in Delaware.

The sky may not be falling, but I don’t think we should rush to assuming everything is just fine and keep installing new versions until we have more credible information.

1 Like

That’s an interesting feature and I can see how it would be useful to some people, but I pretty much either want my menubar items either visible or hidden in the second bar all the time. I always want to see my battery level at a glance, to use the example in the linked article. But that’s just me.

If Ice implements everything on its roadmap and its not buggy, it will be an excellent replacement for Bartender.

Except for a few cases where I’ve developed direct relationships with a developer, I haven’t the slightest idea who the people are that own most of the apps I use, whether they are the original owners or developers, and whether they are in good financial condition. As for security, I rely on Apple to watch out.

Seems like a reddit panic, not an uncommon occurrence.

Katie

4 Likes

In this case, though, they seem to have deliberately avoided communicating 1) that there’s been a change of ownership and 2) who the new owner(s) are.

They wrote that “This signature change is expected & valid!“ but said nothing about why it was expected or should be considered valid.

Bartender had a long track record as a respected and trusted Mac utility. That’s now been called into question, and the new owners have no one but themselves to blame.

2 Likes

Well, they aren’t the original developer and won’t sign with the previous developer’s cert/developer ID. Also, on the blog thing I think they could have been referring to a blog other than Bartender’s. (Maybe)

I feel your paranoia. It’s comforting to see because I’m usually THAT guy :nerd_face:! But, in this case it think this may be a nothing burger…

1 Like

Just to follow up, in their reply to the Reddit post (using the randomly generated Reddit name “Ordinary_Delivery 79”!), the new owners said “we included this fact on our blog” but didn’t include a link, and there’s no post about it on the Bartender site’s blog.

Their behavior certainly seems evasive.

1 Like