back to article Linux app depot Flathub may offer paid-for software

The GNOME and KDE organizations are working on a proposal to crowdsource a big change in Flathub: to make it an app store for Linux – including for paid software. The proposal appears on the GitHub page of the Plaintext Group. This is an initiative of Schmidt Futures – an NGO backed by former Alphabet chair Eric Schmidt and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The scum wants in to the Linux community so bad!

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Nothing wrong with paying for stuff we value. As always, the devil is in the detail.

      Nothing wrong either with setting stuff free. All depends on intention and expectation.

      1. OhForF' Silver badge

        Yes, asking for money to allow use of your software is fine.

        Claiming your software is free (as in beer) and then starting to sell your user's data or displaying ad's or trying to upsell is dishonest though.

        So far they are only adding an app store which is fine with me. With the stated intention to promote "sustainability" displaying advertisements on the desktop (like Windows) seems to be a logical next step.

        1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

          Some Linux people: woe betide anyone trying to upsell you, for we shall call it dishonest.

          A clue from my clue bag for you... if you know about it, it is not dishonest.

          1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

            "if you know about it, it is not dishonest"

            I think it depends on how you found out about it.

            1. ThomH

              Indeed, it does rather suggest that it would be logically impossible to plead guilty to a dishonesty offence.

              1. John_3_16

                Levels of "honesty"

                This dream folder project was found out; not revealed by the project's dreamers/supporters. Like one comment said, it is how you find out that dictates the levels of honesty. IMHO ;>)

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Commercial software for Linux isn't new. There are several companies who make commercial software that can run on Linux, sometimes it's open source software which you could build yourself for free*, and sometimes it's closed-source. Both are fine, with the proviso that you're entirely free not to install it if you don't like it. A lot of good software is free in cost and in licensing, but software can be commercial and good as well.

      * I'm thinking of programs like Ardour, which is often not in the repositories at all and they have Linux builds designed for portability which you pay to get. You can clone the source and build as you like, and I did it when I was testing it out, but if I had a nontechnical user who wanted to run Linux, I'd suggest they buy that license instead because we can't reasonably expect the nontechnical user to know how to compile everything from source.

  2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Cost of moderation

    exceeds the rent the store can collect?

    Bad things happen.

  3. Criminny Rickets


    Maybe if some authors are receiving compensation for their software, we will not have as much abandonware of really good programs. I'm looking at you Banshee.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have no issues paying for software if its useful to my needs. But the question goes as to whether it will be just open source apps or closed source app allowed in the store?

    If they allow both, then i guess it could get more developers from Windows / MacOS to port their software software to Linux if they know they can get paid for it, as well as FOSS apps being able to take donations from inside the Flatpak store which will hopefully mean they get fairly rewarded for their work as well.

  5. bofh1961

    Attempting to milk the world's smallest herd of cattle...

    isn't going to be as easy as fleecing the sheep that flock to Apple and Microsoft. If it was, they'd already be doing it.

  6. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Linux on the desktop

    -> The big Linux corporates mainly focus on server products and services, which has been very lucrative for Red Hat and not too shabby for SUSE. This doesn't help the desktop world, though.

    I agree with this 100%. Linux, inheritor to UNIX, is at home on the server. It doesn't do anything particularly better than "old" UNIX, and in some ways with its increasing (and unnecessarily so) complexity it does some things worse. But overall, server side, it's hard to beat unless you specifically want to run Windows for $app.

    Linux on the desktop, and the much-mentioned "year of the Linux desktop", is still insignificant. Some Linux proponents keep trying to pretend otherwise. They say "but look, we have Steam for Linux". Yes, I did look thank you very much. The figures are < 1.5% of all Steam users ( Linux is not at home on the desktop. It does many things significantly worse than Windows or Mac. I say this even with the knowledge of the horror show that Windows 10 and 11 are. "But what about the Windows telemetry?", some GNU/Linux + IceWM + GNU/IceCat + Vim/Gruvbox + Liberation Serif user will interject. I agree, I don't want Windows telemetry/spying either. But pointing out horribleness in Windows does not make Linux on the desktop better. It looks like turning a blind eye to Linux's own weaknesses.

    I am not against Linux on the desktop, I use it myself. But the server side is where the Linux market is. So that is where the investment will be. If any of that trickles down (remember the "trickle down" so-called economic theory? Yeah, it was a theory like the moon is made of cheese) to the desktop, good. We see the spitefulness here in The Reg towards $somecompany (e.g. Canonical) trying to get some users to pay a few $£€ towards the cost of maintaining Linux. They are quick to criticise but SLOW to actually put their money where their words are and pay a few $£€.

    1. call-me-mark

      Re: Linux on the desktop

      I'm sure that we all know that it's "free like free speech not like free beer" but do users necessarily know that? It wasn't the users who chose to use that (potentially misleading) word. With that in mind, I don't think it's spitefulness that the typical user then turns around to Canonical (or whoever) and say "you told us it was free; why should we pay?"

    2. LionelB Silver badge

      Re: Linux on the desktop

      > [Linux on the desktop] does many things significantly worse than Windows or Mac.

      > I am not against Linux on the desktop, I use it myself.

      Should we conclude that it also does some things significantly better than Windows or Mac?

      (My answer is yes, certainly, for a raft of reasons connected to my personal usage scenario -- hardly a mainstream one -- to the point that I have no motivation to use Windows or Mac.)

      As for "year of Linux on the desktop" - that's so 00s. And in any case is not going to happen until such time as mainstream desktop hardware routinely ships with Linux preinstalled (so maybe never, but who knows?) - for the simple reason that the vast majority of non-tech users are never, ever going to even consider installing an alternative OS, even if they were aware that that option were available to them (why would they, if what they're given is familiar and, as far as they are concerned, works?) Proprietary and legacy-bound lock-in in the business sector is another reason, as is the migration to cloud computing, which is more or less agnostic about what's running on your desktop.

      More to the point, who cares? Just use what works for you.

      1. John_3_16

        Re: Linux on the desktop

        Another thought is that from the very early stages of school, M$, Google, & other mainstream biggies advertise by donating computers, OSes, & attachments to schools. This is where the foothold begins. We all know how we hang onto the "familiar". I have been writing code & operating since the 80s. My first exposure to "linux" was Unix on an IBM mini-mainframe. Card reader, 50 pound aluminum data disks & all.

        I actually like Zorin Pro & don't feel obligated but do buy the $39 version. I don't like hidden telemetry, stolen personal data or ads I don't sign up for. My earliest desktops were the first Apples & generic cpm driven versions with serial cassette tape storage. Long way back. I still own a working model with CPM installed.

        To grow the user base would require exposure at the grade school level. Otherwise, at the college levels, it will be for computer scientists looking to work in industries using Unix like languages or hardcore self-taught white & black hats wanting more power & control for their endeavors. I don't see the paid app store as a way to expand the use. Expansion will be for those already using it. Problems I find already with the freemium versions is the poor extremely limited "free" versions offered to try before buying. I have never purchased any using this model. Trusted freeware following this road may lose more than they gain if they suddenly drop support for free users.

        Good reasons for keeping it in a "future dream folder". And maybe why this secret was found out; NOT revealed.

        I am still using Win 7, fully updated & protected, until mainstream places like banks & utilities stop allowing log-ons from it or browser support stops totally. Mostly I stream & download with it. Running my trusty Zorin right along with it, of course. 2026 may see it rule by itself. I am ready. ;>)

  7. Mockup1974

    Why do the payments have to go through the store? Why not just offer your download "for free" on Flathub and then you need to enter a paid license key to use the application, which you buy on the developer's website? Sounds much easier.

    1. OhForF' Silver badge

      Have you set up a website to process payments with multiple options and kept it operating securely for a few years?

      Would be only worth doing for an app if you expect significant money for those license keys you (hope to) sell.

    2. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      So Flathub becomes a free web hosting site for people to sell software? That's a good business case right there.

    3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

      Why have a store then, it's multiple extra steps.

      Much easier to purchase from one central location and have it store all the keys and software. The issue is how to cope with the possible loss of the store front provider.

      Taking games as an example, with all software can be locally downloaded and is DRM free. Steam software may or may not be DRM free and if you lose access to your account or Steam goes out of business you're basically stuffed. Neither is likely to happen but are still dangers.

      It's hardly unusual now, or even previously, to have keys e-mailed automatically after purchase.

  8. Long John Silver

    Who pays for software for use on a personal Linux PC?

    If one must resort to using proprietary software, there's usually means for obtaining it free of charge. When fearful of it being dodgy, software can be tested in a VM.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

      Re: Who pays for software for use on a personal Linux PC?

      Anyone who wants to support the platform?

      Your moral choices are either :

      Pay for someone's hard work with software which grows the Linux market, and normally makes your life easier

      Set up the free option yourself, with varying degrees of pain.

      Few people will develop substantial software for a platform if it doesn't result in sales. See : the Amiga, OS/2, etc..

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Who pays for software for use on a personal Linux PC?

      "Who pays for software for use on a personal Linux PC?"

      Me, although not all that often. It was proprietary, it was better than the open source alternative. It was something I couldn't just make on my own over a couple weekends. It was cheap. I bought it. It still runs today.

      "If one must resort to using proprietary software, there's usually means for obtaining it free of charge."

      And you can try that if you like, but I usually value not committing copyright violations and not having to worry about the random site I just downloaded a binary from more than the purchase price. Of course there are some products that would be so expensive that I'd balk at paying for them, which is why I use so many pieces of open source software which have fewer features than the commercial alternatives but still work fine for my use cases. You don't have to use proprietary software if you don't want to, but if you find it's worth having, then you could always pay the creators what they're asking for if it's a fair price.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Who pays for software for use on a personal Linux PC?

        "Me, although not all that often. It was proprietary, it was better than the open source alternative. It was something I couldn't just make on my own over a couple weekends. It was cheap. I bought it. It still runs today."

        Me as well. I recently purchased a two-seat license for rar. The software would have continued to function just fine beyond the 40-days evaluation period, but it's their software and their shareware terms. And rar is the only program that meets my niche use case, which proves its value to me. Paying for the license was the correct thing to do.

  9. YukaToshi


    Possibly the most overused word in modern English.

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