Monday, February 02, 2009

A Linux App Store?

This is just an idea, but one whose time might have come. Take the packaging systems that Linux supports and add the ability to purchase software from within it. So in a typical use case, you could filter the applications available in your package manager based on whether you need to pay for them or not, you can choose the applications you'd like to install, pay for ones you need to and download and install in one step. Wouldn't that rule?

There are a lot of side effects, one being that the advantage "free" applications have right now would vanish - that of all being available and searchable from one point. Then there's regulating the descriptions and claims of the commercial software packages - what qualifies as a description and what qualifies as an ad? Speaking of ads, do you let them on? God no! But then with companies, that's a hard sell. How would you do it?

I think the answer is similar to the question, "How do you know which websites you can trust?". I think the solution is similar too - let the community (and the customers) regulate it based on ratings, popularity, etc. Guess what? We already have that built in! Well in Ubuntu at least (that's based on Debian - I'm not sure about other packaging systems though I would be surprised if they did not have something similar).

If any of you guys at Ubuntu are reading this...please do try it out. It has the huge potential of funding other open source projects. Take a small percentage from the application sales (Apple and Android take 30%). Make it self sustaining. Put the profits into the open source projects that matter.

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