Paid proprietary apps on Open Store?



  • Hello everyone,

    I asked this question on the PinePhone forums, but because the UBports store allows proprietary apps, I was encouraged to post here.

    I know it's a controversial subject. I would just like to put the idea out there and hear what you think and whether anyone would be interested (or not).

    Whenever I talk about a Linux phone to friends who know what Linux is, I get the same answer: apps, apps, apps! What about Snapchat? Instagram? Bleh! I have zero interest in having Instagram for Linux, but I would like to have a wide selection of apps that appeal to geeks and non-geeks. I would also love it if indie developers could make a living developing Linux apps.

    So we could have closed-source apps sold on the open store. Those apps could be cross-platform (also sold on iOS and Android) for wider appeal, compatibility and profitability. A worker cooperative could own the apps and run the back-ends when needed (a pain point for free software I think). With the right public statutes, this organization would give everyone confidence that the developers are compensated fairly and that only ethical software is being sold. It would also be possible to prevent acquisition by a tech giant.

    So what do you think? Worth discussing further?



  • I think having paid apps is inevitable and it's just a matter of time or who can implement it in the store. In the Canonical store, paid apps existed and it was also used for Donation version of free open-source apps.



  • @Benoit Just moved this to General. I have a feeling it will be better suited to there.



  • Paid apps is a separate issue from things like Snapchat and Instagram.

    The 'must have' apps most people want are free anyways as far as monetary cost. What they never think about is what the cost really is: user data gathering and analytics... and those are things the platform fundamentally doesn't enable (nor should it). For this reason we will likely never see these sort of proprietary apps on this platform.

    There would also be possible IP problems. Is charging for an app that is a webapp of someone else's site (ie if Pesbuk was paid for) potentially dangerous for the foundation? I don't know... But the Open Store would need to maybe do more in depth checking for paid apps.

    Just my first thoughts, and not intented to imply anything about Pesbuk (just an example).



  • @Giiba said in Paid proprietary apps on Open Store?:

    Paid apps is a separate issue from things like Snapchat and Instagram.

    Yes, it's a separate issue, and I don't want Snapchat or Instagram either.

    Indie paid apps may allow more developers to make a living, build more apps, update more often, add features, host a back-end, etc.



  • what I miss in all stores is a pay what you want option...out there there are many developers willing to share their app for free and I really would like to have an easy and direct way to thank them (and also make a bugreport to their git*) and for the paid app let the develop choose if and what % share with the store/UT and let the user know what is that %



  • @Aury88 said in Paid proprietary apps on Open Store?:

    what I miss in all stores is a pay what you want option...out there there are many developers willing to share their app for free and I really would like to have an easy and direct way to thank them (and also make a bugreport to their git*) and for the paid app let the develop choose if and what % share with the store/UT and let the user know what is that %

    See: https://gitlab.com/theopenstore/openstore-meta/issues/183



  • I'm not opposed to having paid apps or closed source apps in the app store. Freedom of choice is wonderful and is why most of us are here. I do think many of the developers behind the big apps such as Snapchat wouldn't target Ubuntu Touch due to the low marketshare and the fact that data harvesting is something people who come here are looking to avoid.

    @Aury88

    Most apps I see in the OpenStore have a link to donate to the app creator through whatever means they listed such as Paypal, Liberapay, Patreon, etc.



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  • I think as others have said, you're mixing issues, many proprietary apps are completely free when it comes down to money, and many opensource apps ask for payment, I say many, I dont know to many, but I know they exist, I can use the example of Converstaions.

    Conversations is a completely open source application, which if you wish to get the app on the google play store, will cost you £2.99 I believe, however, you could also compile it, or download it from f-droid for free.

    The Ubuntu Store also had apps like ureadit which you could download for free, and ureadit(dev) which was about £2.99.

    I think we should absolutely have it as an option in the openstore, I think how we deal with it with open source apps is a different thing, of cause you should be able to select if your app is free or charged for when you upload it to the store, but in ways of donations, or having free stable versions and paid beta versions, would have to be considered.

    Theres also the question of, how that purchase would be carried over to your other linux distros, which use there own stores, and don't use click, for example, fluffychat is in the snap store, if the fluffychat team decided to charge, would a user have to pay twice, once for mobile and once for the snap store?



  • Just to add one aspect, for legal and tax reasons it is not so easy to just sell stuff in the Openstore. It would be required to have a legal entity behind. Also, how should the payments be made? Many people would not want to use "big" payment systems like Paypal, even credit card.

    There is already 1 proprietary App for UT, its the call blocking App (http://f-call-dev.blogspot.com/) and they embed a part of your IMEI number as a key in the software. But payment and stuff is made by themselves.

    As long as Openstore does not need to transfer the money this approach will be fine.

    BR Florian



  • @PhoenixLandPirat said in Paid proprietary apps on Open Store?:

    I think as others have said, you're mixing issues, many proprietary apps are completely free when it comes down to money, and many opensource apps ask for payment, I say many, I dont know to many, but I know they exist, I can use the example of Converstaions.

    As I wrote, I have no interest in having Instagram or Snapchat for Linux. I also mentioned ethical software. So by proprietary, I only mean not open source, not GPL. My interest is in having more honest apps, more resources, more indie developers, and hopefully, more Linux phone users.

    Theres also the question of, how that purchase would be carried over to your other linux distros, which use there own stores, and don't use click, for example, fluffychat is in the snap store, if the fluffychat team decided to charge, would a user have to pay twice, once for mobile and once for the snap store?

    Yeah, I didn't think of that. That's a whole other can of worms.



  • @PublicLewdness yeah, I would like to thank the developers for their work/apps but this doesn't mean I trust them enought or their website to give them my credit card number...I usually prefer to pay throught a store/broker that I trust .



  • @Benoit said in Paid proprietary apps on Open Store?:

    So by proprietary, I only mean not open source

    That's still confusing the point, why would you make payment's only open to proprietary app, but not to Open Source, GPL apps?

    The suggestion in your post is that you should have an option to pay for proprietary apps, but not open source apps, however, I think if you make an open source, gpl, free software app, you should be allowed to charge for it via a store.

    Perhaps you wont get much out of it, because someone could just fork it and put it up under a different name, but that's beside the point.

    However in the openstore, we do have donation options for app developers, if you throw a few bones in there, then that'll promote the development of OSS on the platform, and if they use things like patreon, then you can use there monthly donations as a way to show that there is money in developing Ubuntu Touch apps.

    however, this is going into a different argument, however, you can absolutely promote app development, via donations atm.

    I would also like to see the option for paid Open source, GPL software and proprietary software at some point, but perhaps as flo said, there's more hurdles then previously thought.

    Perhaps the future will hold some other solutions for us.



  • @Aury88 I think that many devs in the openstore, link to things like Librepay, Patreon and coffee anyways, so I dont think its there own website, but I'm sure some people will be tricky.

    I think that'd be one of the bigger benefits if openstore did have a payment option tho, you wouldn't have to sign up to loads of different websites to give money to devs which will be a sticking point for some people.

    Like maybe I want to give money to the podbird developers, but do I want my info to go to ANOTHER website, especially if I'll only use it for that, then it might get hacked and I wont think about it or notice it because I used it once to donate to podbird?



  • Although I do see the benefits of variety and paying options, I personally do not like the idea of paid apps and all that stuff in OpenStore. I think it would loose the UT's idea of open source. We then couldn't call it OpenStore anymore. 😉

    And how can you trust those paid apps that they do not collect data? They won't be open source I suppose... I am using UT because it is not Googles PlayStore with loads of sneaky apps around.



  • @danfro Well, the "Open" in "OpenStore" is not a 1:1 correlation to open source. Also, paid apps doesn't necessarily mean proprietary. Having either paid or proprietary apps won't make the store itself less open.

    Further, about trusting the apps, that's the whole reason for confinement. So you don't have to trust the apps, because they can't just go read your data. You need to give explicit consent for an app to read your contacts via content-hub for example. Granted, some of this is true even on Android, and to use certain apps you have to grant access to certain things or they won't work.


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