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Kind of like the iPhone App Store, but for Linux

By: 27 January 2011 14 Comments

According to a story in PCWorld, a bunch of Linux vendors are getting together to build a unified application store so that users can easily find the software they want and install it.

Those who have an Apple iPhone, a device running Google’s Android OS or some other fancy-schmancy phone are familiar with the concept — visit an app store, run a search, click a button and watch the chosen program install. According to the aforementioned article, developers from Red Hat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia are working on a common application store that will work across their respective Linux distributions.

This is an intriguing development for at least two reasons. For one thing, installing programs under Linux about a decade or so ago took some serious work, similar to a Microsoft DOS operation rather than the “click and wait” process common to windows. Second, Ubuntu has had something similar to an app store for some time — it’s called the Ubuntu Software Center and it’s full of programs that are easy to find and install.

In fact, one of the more appealing aspects of Ubuntu is its Software Center. While some of us like Ubuntu quite well, there are those who prefer other Linux distributions. A unified applications store that cuts across several platforms, then, should come as good news for some people not using Ubuntu.

Also, a unified store is great news on another front. One of the issues facing Linux users is that there are several distributions of it and the software that runs fine under one might not work on another. That compatibility issue becomes considerably more minor when there’s a unified attempt to make software available that works well under several distributions.

Finally, there are the new users to consider. Making it easy for us to find software easily can only help Linux grow in popularity.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

14 Comments »

  • Ellipsis said:

    Aren’t Red Hat and Fedora developers really the same thing?

  • mandy sauls said:

    Lunix Common Software Centre App
    For Open Software is great unified
    FOSS Toolkit for users

  • Shelli said:

    I don’t think those groups of “mature” ladies wear fedoras to their meetings, so it’s logical to assume that red hats and fedoras are different. However, your average haberdasher will hone a repertoire of several genres. Now when comes to operating systems, the answer is easy. I don’t know.

  • Paul said:

    I love ‘Ubuntu Software Center’.

    I’m so happy Distros are coming together to make a great unified stand.

    This collaboration should benefit us all.

  • Moma Antero said:

    Would my new audio-recorder app fit to their app-store?
    Ref: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=10382643

  • ricegf said:

    The Click’n’Run Warehouse* is reborn. Oh, goodie.

    (*Check out the archive image at http://web.archive.org/web/20080302090232/www.cnr.com/index.seam)

    Sarcasm aside, a common app store *might* work out if well-implemented and widely supported. Poorly managed, as cnr was, and it will be a similar failure.

    But the article fails to mention that, since 1998, most leading distributions of Linux have had their own “apps stores”. Sometimes called the “repository”, they often contain tens of thousands of free applications. A few, such as Ubuntu’s Software Center, even support paid apps.

    Better still, Linux replaces Windows’ “click and wait” with “click and keep working” – you don’t have to wait for a “wizard” to finish installing the app, as installation happens silently, and can even install multiple applications simultaneously. You can even use Linux while it is installing itself!

    Bringing these long-standing capabilities together into a central store would certainly be a boon to developers. Hope it works out well.

  • Ethan C. Nobles (author) said:

    Paul — agreed. That is a step in the right direction, I hope.

    ricegf — I hope it works, too. I merely mentioned Ubuntu because, well, that’s the distro I’ve got and I know the center works very well. That’s one of the things I liked about Ubuntu — kind of works like the app store does on my iPhone. Cool.

  • r00t4rd3d said:

    A “store” is not what any linux user wants or should want in any way , shape or form.

  • Ethan C. Nobles (author) said:

    r00t — Really? I didn’t realize we had a spokesman…

  • r00t4rd3d said:

    A store would never work , plain and simple. Lots of people use Linux cause its free and 99.9% of the programs available for it are free. Any type of store that sold applications would not do well and I bet the majority of hardened Linux users would scoff at the whole idea of it.

    Go ahead though Ethan , invest all your money in a store for Linux apps if you think its such a good idea. You will be broke before the end of the year.

  • Ethan C. Nobles (author) said:

    r00t — I don’t think the notion of “paid apps” has come up here. Under Ubuntu, the “store” in question is merely a simple way of finding and installing apps — most of them are free.

    If you’re talking about a marketplace where primarily paid apps are available through a cross-platform “store,” I can certainly see your objection. However, I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here.

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