[OS X Emacs] Verifying Aquamacs

John Wroclawski jtw at csail.mit.edu
Tue Apr 21 11:03:03 EDT 2020


> On Apr 20, 2020, at 7:42 PM, Win Treese <treese at acm.org> wrote:
> Hi, Roussanka. Sorry to hear about the trouble. I haven’t seen that myself, although I don’t restart Aquamacs very often on my Catalina system. Some quick investigation doesn’t turn up anything obvious about what might be going on. 
> Has anyone else out there seen this?

This is the Apple function to verify the code signature, etc, of a newly downloaded application. What’s -supposed- to happen is that when a new application is first downloaded, it’s marked as “quarantined” by the OS (using an extended file attribute). Then, when you first run it, it’s verified, which includes checking the signature, signing certificate, and so on, and the quarantine attribute is removed so it doesn’t happen again.

Several things can apparently go wrong.

If one finds that the “verify” operation is happening every single time you run the app, it can means that a firewall somewhere is blocking access to the servers that Apple uses to check developer signing certificate validity. This is fixable..

If you’re running Catalina (10.15) and it happens intermittently, this is either a “bug” or “a weird interaction across Apple’s increasingly complex security and privacy mechanisms” that several people have reported in various settings, but that no one I know of, at least, understands the root cause of. (which, yes, is not exactly helpful..)

One thing to try, though, is to delete your old copy of Aquamacs, download a fresh copy, and install it directly in your /Applications folder, (with no intermediate copies, installing or running it from somewhere else, etc.). Then make sure you’re connected to the net and try running it again. 

This is of course complete voodoo and may make no difference whatsoever if what’s happening is that you’re hitting a bug in Catalina. But it does address a couple of possible causes, so who knows - it's potentially worth a try.

cheers, -john

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