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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Member since:

On the repository side, one can have the best of both worlds.

Debian's standard repositories for stability and consistency; Main, Contrib, Non-free.


Third party repositories for developer managed packages (availability); Webmin, Mondo Rescue, Firefox 4 (iceweasel 4) and so on.

Subversion or similar methods can provide developers with a way to ship distribution neutral programs also if it's something like Metasploit that benefits from having the latest additions and isn't targeted at user's who'd have any issue using svn or scripting it into a system wide update process.

In general, the first two options, distro and third party repositories, can easily cover average user needs.

I'd also suggest that App Store style repositories could stand to deliver more consistancy. Something between Apple's heavy handed but staff and business strategy limited system and Google's easy to exploit wide open system.

Reply Parent Score: 3

toomuchtatose Member since:

My opinion that multiple repositories (such as free, contrib, non-free) is non-consequential to the lay customers, the target Appstore is suppose to service.

Most "repository" related suggestions fail to take note that multiple repositories only serve to increase distro fragmentation and loss of customer mindshare. The is one of the reasons why Linux desktops for the masses fail to take off.

One also should not assume that commercial vendors and software developers are capable and ready to maintain multiple repositories (if they want to, in the first place).

As of now, application distribution is best provided via standardisation and formalised application store logic. Following the path of least resistance, customers with exceptional demands may get additional "application fixes" via manual sideloading or "informal" repositories (e.g. kinda like PPAs for ubuntu)

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:

So consider a distribution like Maemo where additional repositories are setup automatically by applicable applications or easy "click here to add" links. Both you're points of concern are still covered. Availability is not exclusive to the app-store single repository model.

I also don't see how multiple repositories within a distribution causes grief since they appear as on consolidated library through the package manager. How should a distribution manage core and third party software? Because Debian favors libre source, it shouldn't provide any method for users to opt-in such as adding the non-free repositories? Doesn't that further limit the user rather than support them?

The distribution is what is garnering "mindshare" not it's repository branches. It's not a non-free repository plus stuff, it's a distribution which also provides a non-free repository. It's not a kernel plus stuff, it's a distribution which happens to use the Linux kernel.

Commercial vendors and developers also don't need to maintain distribution specific repositories. They have the option to work with distributions. They have the option to target parent distributions and let the child forks inherit the software. They can hire or sponsor package maintainers; probably cheaper than managing a repository server and packaging process per distribution. Work with the upstream where possible. Provide source code that distributions can build packages from. Heck, provide binaries that install cleanly across several distributions like Nvidia does.

As of now, application distribution is best provided via standardisation and formalised application store logic.

But that's exactly what the repository is providing. "App store" is just a re-branding of the same repository mechanism; a library of software installed, updated and uninstalled through a centralized manager. How software submission is managed, if one can add secondary repositories or if one can directly download and install individual packages does not change this.

Download from a Maemo repository. Add and download from a secondary repository. Have downloaded apps install there own repository. Install apps completely separate from a repository. It's already happening; the user can enjoy the best of both benefits (the distro management and the developer's latest update availability).

Reply Parent Score: 3