Apple Removes Scratch from the App Store

This decision (via the Computing Education Blog) is entirely consistent with the recent changes to Apple’s developer license. Scratch is a learning programming language that I think of as the spiritual successor to Seymour Papert’s LOGO. The language and its programming environment are open source, developed by MIT. There is a thriving community around it and an annual learning event.

You ask me, this is simply a dick move, regardless of Apple’s grunting noises about a superior native experience. If anything deserves an exemption, and would actually work well on the iPad to boot, it is Scratch. Scratch’s programming environment is entirely graphical, I could see enjoying dragging the lego like blocks around to snap together a program on a large touch screen tablet. This is also a hell of a missed opportunity. Collaborating with Scratch’s creators to address any real technical issues at the heart of Apple’s license change wouldn’t have hurt it in the eyes of its staunchest critics even if it won’t necessarily win anyone over from the closed is bad camp.

What would it have cost them to try? And what the hell happened to the company that donated a metric ton of first generation G5 Macs to a university, even upgrading them to G5 Xserves later when those became available? Instead, I rather think this entrenches those of us deeply skeptical of Apple’s ever more frequent moves towards greater control.