[linux-elitists] Nadav Har'El about Non-FOSS Android Apps

Jason White jason at jasonjgw.net
Sat Jan 18 00:25:26 PST 2014

Shlomi Fish  <shlomif at shlomifish.org> wrote:

>    If only there was a way to explain to the authors of the mobile
>applications that no, most of them will not get rich from the applications,
>like most of the authors of shareware did not, and it’s just better to write
>free software…

Given a choice between (1) downloading my hypothetical software with
advertising enabled from the central repository, and (2) downloading the
source code from my Web site, compiling it and installing it manually, I think
a large proportion of users would opt for the former. The same holds if the
second option were to download from the central repository for a small fee.

Of course, I'm assuming there's a policy on the part of repository maintainers
to exclude near duplicate apps, i.e., preventing anyone from compiling my free
software, modifying it a little (perhaps by turning off the advertising or
just directing the revenue to themselves) and attempting to upload the
modified version.

The hypothesis, for which I don't have empirical support, is that many users
would pay for the convenience of downloading free software from their mobile
operating system's central repository even if, with more effort, they could
acquire it at zero cost elsewhere. I suppose someone could write an app to
reduce the inconvenience of acquiring it for free, especially if there were a
lot of free software distributed in this way. Thus perhaps the proposal
doesn't scale, or maybe users in large numbers would continue to pay the price
anyway, especially if the central repository has security and reliability
advantages compared with installing from other sources.

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