Linked by Kostis Kapelonis on Sat 14th May 2011 15:43 UTC
General Development Application stores are growing everywhere like mushrooms. While users have initially embraced application stores because of the ease they offer with application installation, developers have several complaints. Division of profits from paid application and ineffectiveness of the screening process are among the major issues. Are application stores the best distribution channel possible? Can they satisfy both developers and users?
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App stores vs distros
by WorknMan on Sat 14th May 2011 16:54 UTC
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Users will be able to install illegally applications outside the application store with the same ease (i.e without any technical know-how, think Aunt Tillie) with no external help for the "jailbreaking" process.

Users can already do this now with Android. You simply tick an option in settings and you can side-load the APK files. Of course, some apps still require root access for installation, but even most of those are available in the Android marketplace, so that's not exactly the same thing.

Installing applications outside of the application store will be completely legal and most users will have a mixture of applications (official and non-official).

As stated before, you can already do this on Android. You have to jailbreak to do this on iOS, but it is no longer illegal to do so in the US (thanks to the Library of Congress).

Basically users will select application stores as Linux users choose deb/rpm repositories (ability to use other ones apart from the "official" one).

You can already choose between multiple app stores on Android and iOS (though iOS still requires jailbreaking). On Android, there's the Amazon app store and on iOS, there's is Cydia (and probably a few more I don't know about).

As for the Linux distro repositories, they are not without their problems either. For example, if Android worked like most Linux distros do, each individual phone would have its own app store, and when a new app/version of an old app was released, you'd have volunteers for each phone to package up that app and make it available on the phone's app store. If you are an end user of the phone, you may find that the app you want is not on your app store, or is several versions behind what's current, so you've either got to try and figure out how to side-load it, or you just have to beg and plead to the distro gods to update your app..

On the other hand, I haven't messed with the whole Linux distro thing in years, so maybe it has gotten better over time than how I remember it. *shrug* My point is that each of these two models has its pros and cons, and maybe we can find the right balance over time.

One last thing to note is how the author talks about apps being removed from these app stores, but I have a hard time believing that if some big company was threatening a lawsuit because of some app that was on a Linux distro was infringing on their copyright (or whatever), those overseeing the repository wouldn't take it down in a heartbeat.

Edited 2011-05-14 16:56 UTC

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