PCGen Opening

Opening PCGen on Mac OS Sierra

7th April 2017

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After updating to MacOS Sierra I started to have issues running PCGen. I used PCGen on Mavericks without any problems, so what’s happened?

PCGen is a character generator for paper & pencil roleplaying games like D&D and Pathfinder and, although looking dated, it has always worked well for me on both Mac and Windows computers. After setting up a new machine on Sierra I downloaded the same version that I’d used previously, from the same site (Sourceforge). Instead of the usual message about installing applications from unknown developers, instead I’m told the application is damaged:

PCGen is damaged

Among the changes rolled out with Sierra were updates to Gatekeeper – Apple’s security system. Where previously you could go into your System Preferences and allow applications to be installed from “Anywhere”, this option is now removed. Instead, some people see the above message that the application is “damaged and can’t be opened. You should move it to the Trash”. I re-downloaded the file and tried again. Same result.

Bypassing Gatekeeper

Fear not; in most cases the application is not damaged. I knew that this version of PCGen wasn’t, as I’d installed it on another computer just days earlier. In this case, Gatekeeper is just being a jerk and only allowing applications from the App Store and a list of “identified” providers.

By disabling the overzealous Gatekeeper it is possible to install the (undamaged) PCGen application, and it only takes a few moments.

Open Terminal, enter the following and hit return:

sudo spctl --master-disable

You’ll most likely need to enter your password. Once this is done, Gatekeeper is disabled. Run PCGen as normal – this time no “damaged” message. Once you’re satisfied re-enable Gatekeeper in the Terminal:

sudo spctl --master-enable

PCGen will continue to run normally, both now and in the future. This is a handy trick to bear in mind for other apps from unidentified sources – provided you know the application is safe!

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About the author

Rik Kendell is a developer, designer and writer in Leeds, UK. Originally from Bradford but always from Yorkshire, he specialises in front-end, responsive websites and WordPress builds. Having worked in software houses, the radio industry and design, marketing and digital agencies Rik has almost 10 years commercial experience and has worked with clients ranging from the NHS, Sky and Skipton Building Society to McDonalds, Lamb’s Rum and Crabbies Ginger Beer.

Rik is also a keen writer, covering digital/tech news, gaming, food and short fiction. His blog posts, reviews and Tweets have been published by the BBC, the Evening Standard, a number of agencies and industry websites and Rik is a key contributor on a foodie website.