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

Shlomi Fish shlomif at shlomifish.org
Thu Jan 30 06:33:11 PST 2014


Hi Jason,

sorry for the late response.

On Sat, 18 Jan 2014 08:25:26 +0000 (UTC)
Jason White <jason at jasonjgw.net> wrote:

> 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.

Well, there is a third option - downloading the package that was built from
source and is provided somewhere. This is just like the fact that a lot of open
source software applications, which are also available for MS Windows, provide
binaries for it on their site, that are built from the source for the
convenience of their users (or alternatively are available as pre-built
packages on the package repositories of Linux distributions such as Debian or
Fedora).

> 
> 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.

"Free" in what sense - gratis or libre?

> 
> 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.

I don't think you can guarantee security and reliability for all the apps in
the central repository, but if an application there is popular enough, it may
gain enough good reviews to warrant for trust.

Regards,

	Shlomi Fish

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