App Store - Pay what you want! - Your thoughts Purism?


#1

When it comes to the App Store on the Librem 5 I would suggest a pay-what-you-want model. The developer suggests a price for their work. You can pay more, less, or nothing at all. Developers should get rewarded for their efforts. We reap the benefits of freedom from their applications and I think they deserve more than just our moral support, after all, they are spending their time and money to meet a need for all of us out there. Now, this is not a new idea of course. The newest example I can think of would be is being used by Elementary OS. Check it out https://developer.elementary.io/ Once you click on the link you can scroll down and see how they have set up monetization. They use Stripe but I’m sure other methods can be used if Purism would so choose. And the monetization split could be different also. I’m just showing an example here. You can check out the Appstore on Elementary OS to see it in action. Go to timestamp 1:42 in the video.

One of the reasons I’m suggesting this is that, in the past, we have seen good apps depreciate and no longer function on other platforms simply because the developer has no time, and especially no money. They created the app from their passion for a platform or system. However, to maintain an application takes time and resources. I’m willing to help out any developer who produces apps that I enjoy. This way we show support for app developers, not only in keeping great apps alive but also improve. This can only build a solid selection of apps for all to use. Your thoughts?


Why promoting flatpak for PureOS Store?
#2

I agree there should be money incentive for developer. I would like to add the model of paid or compiled yourself model. By buying from the App Store, user get updated from App Store. Or the user prefer not paying anything, then compile it themselves and do manual updating on their own. This does not violate free software that user could hack the app they wanted and ensure free from tracking by inspecting the code, but also incentivize people to pay free software, and maintain software with high quality like apple app store.

Both model could work, and the Purism should ensure both model is accepted in their future app store, or flatpak repository, so it could attract developer to develop free software app for Linux.


#3

Built-in cryptocurrency wallet would be great for payments.

Another model for paying could be “pay as long as you use it”. Instead of one-time payment, users could pay automatically once a month as long as they are using the app. This would create an incentive for developers to maintain it.


#4

There might be a problem with clones. Consider this hypothetical:
Group A builds Package A and publishes it as free software on the app store. Person B makes a bot that builds Package A without modification and publishes it as free software on the app store with a page almost identical to what Group A publishes. User C sees both packages and decides to pay. Which one should User C pay for?

Suppose the app store forbids clones. What action should be taken when Group A decides to stop maintaining Project A, but Person D wants to fork and maintain Package A?

Suppose Person E made a fork of Package A (call it Package E) and improves Package A with a patch Group A doesn’t want to adopt for some reason. Should Package E be allowed on the app store? If so, how can User C know which one to support?


#5

That’s true. It would eventually become a problem.

Clone should be forbidden, but fork is debatable. If the App store could not protect the profit of original group, it discourages developer to develop new projects. However, if no one could take over a orphan project by forking, then it violates the purpose of free software, where everyone could maintain the project they find interesting.

One approach could be time limitation. If the app is paid app, the original maintainer gain the right to forbid any forks to publish for one year, after that, fork is allowed. This does not apply to free app or pay-me-a-coffee model. Free app could be forked and publish to Purism App Store freely.


#6

on the concept that voluntary and free payment of open source software should be made possible, I absolutely agree.


#7

@uau7j7woi7 @Guybrush

Then maybe the better option would be my original proposal guys.

Please take a look at how Elementary is doing it. And please give thoughts on that. No need to reinvent the wheel eh? :slight_smile: Please share your thoughts on that method. :slight_smile:

The pay or compile may sound cool but I would rather approach this from a more user-friendly approach. I would imagine the average person just wants simply go to the store and install what they want, and we already know people are willing to pay if the product is good. :grin:


#8

If you seriously want to attract developers and not just the ones already around (hint: they are nothing compared to those focused on Windows, Android, or iOS development) it is going to take more than just the suggestion to pay for software.

I personally would not ever give away my software for free (exception being something for privacy or security). And I certainly wouldn’t agree to the schema you all are suggesting here.

Also encouraging proprietary software sales is a must. Until FLOSS truly has everything we can’t expect everyone to be as idealistic as Purism. At least in the beginning.

Android App porting is the obvious low hanging fruit here.

Just my 2c.


#9

@antpanlinux

Yes the pay is voluntary. In the Elementary Appcenter the developer lists their suggested price, what they think it’s worth paying for the app. Yet the user decides what to pay, more or less, or nothing.

If you watch the videos below and pay close attention you will see how the appcenter functions when it comes to pay-what-you-want.

After you see the above vidoes and see how the pay-what-you-want process. You have a better idea of what could be done for the Librem 5 :slight_smile:


#10

@2disbetter

I am sure not everyone would want to give away their software and I am not in anyway trying to compare anything to iOS, Android, or Windows. What I am saying is that what I have suggested here for pay-what-you-want is already working. I have no concern or desire to compete with iOS or Android. As another option for paying developers, I have another thread mentioning an App-a-Thon as well. Just advertise the campaign in the opensource world, once the campaign was set up, and let it go.

I have no desire for Android or ports of Android apps. That’s not what I was trying to achieve. Just trying to attract those already in the opensource world who would gladly develop for opensource had they the funds to support their efforts. Not trying to mimic the proprietary world with a big mass of software. Just applications that would be worthwhile. I would suspect that if people want Android they would just buy Android. :slight_smile: To encourage existing Linux developers would be the concern here. :slight_smile:


#11

After reading your App-a-Thon post, I think it would create better incentive. User can create a wishlist to list their desired app and people could place a bounty on the app. Any developer could take the bounty if they could finish the app. If more then one developer decided to take the challenge, then they either group up a team to finish, or develop independently and let users decide which is the best within certain deadline. Purism could create such platform for this kind of bounty programs.

Btw, this pay what you want model could work, but I don’t think enter $0 dollar to get free download is a good UI pattern. The elementary OS download button is notorious for its dark user pattern to create a misconception that user need to pay for elementary OS. A more ethical pattern is a grey text url “Don’t want to pay?” below the price tag, and then a confirm pop-up shows something like a sad emoji following with message like “Don’'t want to support the developer? Then you can get it for free.”. Maybe also show some statement about the importance of financing developer. This is less disruptive and preventing bad PR like the Ubuntu and elementary OS.

Alternatively, the developer could also use the sublime text model. If anyone who don’t know sublime text, it is free to download, but show a pop-up to beg you to pay after 30 day trial for every startup. This model works because many user is willing to support the developer for creating useful tool.


#12

ser can create a wishlist to list their desired app and people could place a bounty on the app. Any developer could take the bounty if they could finish the app. If more then one developer decided to take the challenge, then they either group up a team to finish, or develop independently and let users decide which is the best within certain deadline. Purism could create such platform for this kind of bounty programs.

Not a bad idea, but it’s probably not worth it in the long run either since an app needs good support over time, we don’t want working but low-quality implementations to take the bounty and then simply not be supported afterwards.

Btw, this pay what you want model could work, but I don’t think enter $0 dollar to get free download is a good UI pattern. The elementary OS download button is notorious for its dark user pattern to create a misconception that user need to pay for elementary OS. A more ethical pattern is a grey text url “Don’t want to pay?” below the price tag, and then a confirm pop-up shows something like a sad emoji following with message like “Don’'t want to support the developer? Then you can get it for free.”. Maybe also show some statement about the importance of financing developer. This is less disruptive and preventing bad PR like the Ubuntu and elementary OS.

Completely agree, elementary OS way of pushing people to pay is bad UI since it is not clear that you actually can get it for free and try it out before paying. Selecting “custom” and entering $0 seems more like a trick than an actual option. When I was a kid I pirated games not because I wanted them for free but because I couldn’t afford them and I wouldn’t have played them at all otherwise, this is what I want to avoid. Paying $0 should be a clear option, but giving a tip should still be hinted at being recommended. For example instead of having “$10, $5, $2, Custom” as options as elementary OS does for their distro downloads simply just have “$10, $5, $2, $0, Custom”.


#13

It seems to be obvious enough, as they complain that there is very little money coming in.


#14

Bounty program could include bug fix. Many free app is low-quality, full of ads and unmaintained in Android and IOS, while low quality open source app could be improved by anyone if the demand is there. Combination of sublime text model and bounty program should give enough incentive for developers to maintain support.


#15

Bug bounty programs are not enough.
If someone creates a bug bounty for “App crashes randomly” and someone fixes one case where the app might randomly crash there might still be 3 more occasions where the app crashes. Applications need continuous maintenance. Bug bounties do not work do not work because of this, however feature bounties are pretty good. But what is needed the most is continuous good maintenance of the application and the only way to get that is if the app has an responsible maintainer who knows the code and can have a reliable source of income monthly for example through donations from an appstore or through Patreon/OpenCollective.


#16

Why shouldn’t the app store support libre apps behind a paywall? It’s not like it’s the only way to install libre packages on a libre operating system anyway. Remember, “free software” refers to freedom, not price.

With that said, I think the suggested price as default is more ethical than $0 at default because the end user will at least note the asking price before entering $0 and downloading it. The end user will have an idea for how much the developer wants for it, and will be able to say “Yes, it’s worth this much,” or “It isn’t quite worth the asking price,” or “The devs undersell it, I recommend paying more” in a review. If the default is $0, then end users will not be as likely to note the asking price and mention it in the review, so other users will not be as likely to notice the opinions on the price. Since the app store would necessarily be libre software, you can change it to a $0 default anyway.