“There’s an App for That” (Trademark Apple, Inc.)

As a catch phrase, it has been successful.

Apps

Photo Credit: William Hook - Flikr cc-by-sa

It has also been successful in getting people to grab little tools for their mobile phones and probably soon, their tablets. The little apps might be useful or time wasting, but they are available in the tens of thousands for Apple iPhones, Android phones, Blackberries, etc.

Linux users can get their app “fix” through an Android phone or tablet where app stores make access convenient.

On the computer where I’m typing this post, I’m using Kubuntu, one of the many distributions of GNU/Linux. I don’t have an app “store”, but I’m not missing it.

Instead, I have thousands of “packages.” Each package is an application or, sometimes, a suite of them like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc. I choose which ones I want from the list and install them. The system on Kubuntu is called kpackagekit. If you are a user of the Fedora distribution, you’ll be using the RPM package manager. With OpenSuse, you’re using Yum.

No matter which distribution, getting software designed to run on your system is pretty easy.

I rely on recommendations from others, most of the time. The recommendations come from tweets, blogs, emails, etc. I want to thank all the people out there who have made those recommendations. Sometimes I try software and get hooked because it helps me do a job I need to do. Sometimes I try software and it sits unused on my computer. I don’t feel cheated, though. It was word of “mouth” which lead me to the package/software/app. I didn’t get tricked by advertising. The recommended app worked for the ones who recommended it. I just have differing needs from theirs.

I’m not under pressure to use the software somebody else adores. I’m not suffering from the “industry standard” argument used to justify paying high prices for software.

I’m a software freedom advocate. I prefer software which doesn’t lock me in to a standard dictated by a single vendor. I abhor the upgrade cycle demanding the purchase of a new software version which marginally upgrades its real base capabilities while modifying the file format it uses. I celebrate the open standards like the Open Document Format (ODF) which does change, but does not demand a costly upgrade of software. The apps which support the ODF are mainly produced by a dedicated group of programmers who want to provide tools for their own use, and simultaneously provide those tools for others. They share their skills. They develop apps which benefit others. They do these tasks for themselves, their employers, and the world at large.

Thank you, the developers of open Free/Libre software. I salute you. Your donation to my good, to the common good is widely unknown, but vastly appreciated. I use your work, and I cheer your creative, giving spirit.

I’m starting to watch a cross-distribution effort called AppStream.
http://distributions.freedesktop.org/wiki/AppStream
Blog Post/Article: http://mybroadband.co.za/news/software/18243-Open-source-app-store.html

AppStream is an effort to bridge/combine the tasks done by kpackagekit, Fedora RPM package manager, Yum, etc. The goal is to create a common meeting point for the various package systems, providing app listings and a system to allow users to combine their recommendations through a ratings system. I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

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