Flathub: A Unified App Store For Linux?
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 03 March 2023

Work is in progress to add payments, donation and subscriptions to Flathub, providing Linux developers to earn revenue from this app store with the aim of promoting diversity and sustainability.

Linux developers are at a disadvantage compared to their Windows/Mac, Android/Apple counterparts due to the lack of any obvious way to monetize their apps. This is the situation that is addressed by a proposal authored by GNOME president Robert McQueen; former GNOME executive director and Debian project leader Neil McGovern; and KDE president Aleix Pol which adds not only payment facilities to Flathub but also the appropriate legal and governance setup required to protect both sellers and buyers. 


Flathub was launched in 2017 as a vendor-neutral service for Linux application developers to build and publish their Flatpak applications directly to their end users. It is governed by a desktop-neutral committee involving key representatives from GNOME Foundation and KDE, and currently has around 1500 collaborators maintaining some 1800 apps on the existing service.  

The impetus to convert Flathub into an Linux App Store that can sustain itself through transaction fees and corporate sponsorship is two-fold -  for the general benefit of OSS and for the benefit of Linux developers.

As the proposal explains:

A key barrier to the growth and adoption of open source software on the desktop is the requirement for certain applications to be available so that they are able to be fully productive using the open source desktop. The current nature of open source operating systems, especially for end users where applications are distributed at zero cost alongside the OS itself precludes establishing any incentives for application developers and prevents the distribution of paid-for applications.

So, to promote future sustainability of open-source software it is necessary to:

open new pathways for individuals  for individuals and small businesses to monetise their participation in the OSS desktop space, we hope to create a more level playing field for innovation and creation of sustainable economic models, as can be found on competing proprietary platforms.

The proposal seeks funding to enable Robert McQueen, who was one half of the team that launched the original Flathub service, together with community contractors and a new staff member of the GNOME foundation to to help establish the operations, review and security processes around the new paid service.  

Flatpak, the tool for building apps for Flathub currently caters for 38 Linux distros and is thus allows developers to write apps without suffering from the fragmented state Linux ecosystem 


More Information

Proposal:Flathub: Linux App Store (on GitHub)



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Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 March 2023 )