Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 03:12 UTC
Editorial I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?
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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by curio on Tue 13th Dec 2011 08:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
Member since:

Short Answer: They should "own" just the OS.

The long answer:

An unfortunate trend that is happening with software is that a major component of purchased software has become a platform for selling more software or services. This is has happened with MacOS X, with the inclusion of the app store. This is happening with Windows to an even larger degree, as all indications are that a certain OS feature (the ability to run Metro apps) is only accessible through Microsoft's store. This is also happening with games, where even boxed copies of games purchased at a store sometimes require installation of the publisher's own storefront.

This has the side effect of making a piece of software's ability to sell more software nearly as important as the software itself. Which is a bigger success: Windows 8 being a huge step up from Windows 7, selling millions and millions of copies, but the app store gets ignored? Or, Windows 8 is a mediocre upgrade, sells one third the number of copies by comparison, but everybody that buys one relies exclusively on Microsoft's app store?

The way trends are going, the latter scenario is preferable, at least for Microsoft. People that want or depend on better software take a back seat to the requirements of the sales staff.

Your long answer, however correct, smartly (for your sake) omits the other all important vested interest in this currently trending software distribution model. "The developers". Apparently, many love the potential exposure and convenience of these walled-gardens. They don't seem to care about the customers being corralled into platform specific monopoly Apps stores if it suites their own needs.
As a result and consequence, they are accepting becoming willing participants with Apple, Microsoft and to a lesser extent Google (because Google doesn't lock their garden gate) etc... in bending all their customers over. All the while assisting in creating even stronger, ever more oppressive and controlling gargantuan monopolies with every sale.
Problem too is, everybody else wants their own walled-gardens too. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Archos, etc.. So much for one stop convenience to market their wares or that desired one place for potential customer's eyeballs....

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:

I think they are at least doing it right. They didn't modify Android them claim it to be the original. Instead, they modified Android and pointed it at there own repositories. If one is not going to use Google's stock Android then they shouldn't be using Google's stock repositories. Amazon also has the media and software content to provide a full feature repository source and the device is blatantly marketed as consumer window into Amazon's garden so fair enough there too.

Granted, i don't know the developer side of it. Is it just the same app submitted to Amazon's repository under it's terms of use or does the app actually need to be written differently than it would for Google's repository. If it's just a seporate submission or package format then suck it up or don't publish for it. If, however, the difference is in the program language required for some strange reason then developer uproar seems justified. Somehow I don't think it's the latter though.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Wed 14th Dec 2011 07:00 in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:

The trouble is, the extra exposure isn't really worth anything if everybody gets it. Since you have to jump through hoops to get your software into the store, as more people rely on the store, you become unwilling participants.

A fine example is the app BBEdit by Bare Bones Software. To get the latest version of BBedit in the Apple store, they had to remove certain features that simply cannot be implemented within Apple's sandboxing APIs that were added to MacOS X a few versions back. Now, they must sell an inferior product to satisfy Apple's requirements, while maintaining a separate, feature complete version for people who buy directly.

It's easy to look at the success of smaller indy developers, and point to app stores as a major component of that success, but being featured on a good indy review site could be just as effective, nearly as accessible, and without having to compromise on features or your ability to provide full and proper support for your customers.

Reply Parent Score: 2