So this got me thinking. Why not have some kind of Linux friendly App Store that included both Adobe AIR apps and native Linux software? Seemed doable.
Perhaps the problem is that there's not a definable market for it? After all, Linux has long since been perceived by outsiders as a platform used by cheapskates, at least from a software perspective.
And web-based software, while plentiful, is rather limited in what its able to do. Besides, there is not really any challenge in finding web-based apps. Just go to Google.com and 99% of them are right there.
After rolling the idea around for awhile, I finally came to terms with the issue that an age old problem exists and is showing no real signs of ever changing. Most folks are not interested in mixing proprietary software in with their open source software repositories. Yes, Ubuntu among a couple of other distros do this. But they do so sparingly. And even then, they get a lot of grief for it.
Realizing this, I believe that there must be a way to keep the proprietary apps completely out of the repositories. Yet at the same time, allow an app store to offer these closed source Adobe AIR applications while also utilizing the default Linux software repositories provided by your specific Linux distribution.
It's a tall order, I wonder if it is doable?
The key to a Linux App Store
I think the key to putting together an app store for Linux stands with being able to take what works, then making it better. This means accepting reality.
People are going to generally seek out software based on its function, not its license. This means providing access to both free and paid software. Obviously the bulk of the paid stuff coming from Adobe is AIR-based solutions such as iplotz, as one such example.
Clearly narrowing down to a business model that is both sustainable and something palatable for the existing Linux user community is no small task. I believe the biggest issue is to offer definable value where there is none at the moment. Figure out what is missing from the typical application installation methods, then enhance around them without stepping on any toes along the way.
Dreaming of Linux Delivery
This article has hit upon a number of areas that might be defined as sensitive to a number of people. At no time am I claiming that existing methods of software installation need to be replaced.
Rather, I see existing software installation being enhanced, perhaps made a bit more consumer friendly -- especially considering the sheer number of applications in the Adobe AIR realm that are not available in a GTK/QT build, yet would be of real benefit nonetheless.
I don't pretend to have the magic formula in which GTK/QT based software can live in the same marketplace as software using options such as Adobe AIR. Even though both software families appear to run quite smoothly on each of my desktops, there may be challenges here I havent anticipated.
I have a dream in which application discovery is free of licensing concerns and instead is based on what it can do. I dream of a Linux software marketplace that is able to make this a practical event for all to enjoy.
Sadly, at this point any thought on how to best merge these two very different worlds of software has left me high and dry. Nothing. No idea how such a thing would come together. Maybe shooting for something like what we see with Google Android?
Perhaps someone out there reading this thinks there is some vague merit in my vision? One can only dream, I guess. Then again, stranger things have happened.