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Re: [] Web app stores

From: John Sullivan
Subject: Re: [] Web app stores
Date: Fri, 06 May 2011 10:55:58 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Luis Villa <address@hidden> writes:

> And on non-freedom issues, app stores are pretty clearly superior to
> apt, yum, etc. as currently implemented. They're better for end users:

They make it more difficult for semi-curious end users to learn about
what they are using. There's no convenient distribution of source code
corresponding to the application being run.

> * You actually get the code that the developer intended you to get-
> it's updated regularly and reliably and it is better-tested. (Debian
> and Fedora rarely add value.)

That's only a function of most apps in current app stores being
proprietary, so that only one person/entity is permitted to distribute
them. In cases where we are talking about free software apps in a free
software app store, why do you assume that the person "packaging" the
app for a particular app store will be the original upstream developer?
This has in fact already been a problem with free software in current
app stores.

Whether a particular distributing person/group's modifications are
improvements is a historically specific question, not a fact of the
framework in which they are distributed.

I'm mystified by the statement about Debian/Fedora, given that Debian
and other distributions clearly add a lot of benefit, one of which is
testing -- any application spends time in unstable and then in testing,
where more experienced users use it, and report bugs which then go back
to upstream when appropriate. Your statement sounds like "it's better
tested before it goes through more testing".

But I think it's a non sequitur anyway. Even if you believe Debian local
changes introduce more bugs than they fix and that testing on thousands
of computers for months does not contribute anything useful to upstream,
the same could be true of any potential app store and the developers
actually participating in it.

> They're better for developers:
> * They're easier to develop for- because they're consistent
> everywhere. No duplication of effort.
> * They provide a bigger install base quickly- because, again, you
> write once and install everywhere.

Only if there is only one app store. And I don't think that's desirable,
given the things that happen when you give one entity total editorial
control over applications that are distributed. Choice does come with
some inefficiencies.

To the extent that you are saying "we should figure out how to
distribute free software more intuitively and attractively", I agree.
But I don't think the current proprietary app stores accomplish that in
a way that we want to model, and I think your analysis of what the
current problems actually are is off.


-John Sullivan
-GPG Key: AE8600B6

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