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Flathub seeks funding to add payments, donations and subscriptions

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Making the rounds recently is a proposal being made to add in payments, donations and subscriptions options to Flathub.

The proposal is available on the Plaintext Group GitHub, which was submitted by Robert McQueen, who is CEO of the Endless OS Foundation and GNOME Board President. For some context here Plaintext Group are "a nonpartisan, technology innovation policy initiative being developed by Schmidt Futures" (Schmidt Futures was founded by ex Google CEO Eric Schmidt).

As per the proposal they're trying to incentivize more "participation in the Linux application ecosystem, and remove financial barriers that prevent diverse participation" and they've already been working on adding in donations and payments on Flathub via Stripe and verify developers too with this year moving onto adding in subscriptions, reoccurring donations, new review tools to prevent abuse, automated security scanning and more to eventually have Flathub become self-sustaining. This is a joint effort between GNOME and KDE.

What they're trying to do is get extra funding to help towards their goal of expanding Flathub, as explained in the proposal they're seeking $100,000 USD from the Plaintext Group to cover the remaining budget needed to enable all this.

To note: this proposal has actually been there since November 2022, when the proposal itself was accepted into the GitHub repository for consideration.

What do you think to this? Especially interesting with Canonical recently going on the opposite direction by having Ubuntu flavours remove Flatpak by default.

Flathub is also going through a rebranding.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, Open Source
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Arehandoro Feb 27, 2023
They're also redesigning their web. You can have a peek on: https://beta.flathub.org
denyasis 8 years Feb 27, 2023
I'm all for donations and being able to support various developers, but when I hear "subscription" I think something more commercial (especially since it's mentioned above in addition to recurring donations). And when I think commerical payments, I'm expecting commercial level support... That seems like a pretty high expectation for a dev from a consumer.
gradyvuckovic Feb 27, 2023
Sounds like a great idea. There's room for free/open source stuff alongside 'pay what you want' stuff, and paid/subscription based commercial software, it all has it's place on Linux in my opinion and the more developers are encouraged to engage with Flatpak, Flathub and the Linux ecosystem, the better.
ElectricPrism Feb 27, 2023
Sunk Cost Fallacy. In poker terms, I've been All-In on Linux for many years now. Sure I'd throw some money at it.

I don't care how it happens but getting money to linux software devs is in MY best interest.

I would buy several commercial tools right now if they were available starting with Affinity Photo 2 -- it was my understanding some people got it running in Bottles a few months back.

People exchange money for convenience.

If they carve out a niche and there are rewards like profile badges or a exchange that drives development I'm open for new models and new things.

Money is for a protection, everyone needs it and theres nothing wrong with making some making FOSS licensed stuff in exchange for ease like Ardour.
CyborgZeta Feb 27, 2023
I'd have no problems throwing some money Flathub's way. I am, after all, a heavy user of Flatpaks (from Flathub). Nothing wrong with supporting the people who make, or package, the software I use.
Klaas Feb 27, 2023
Quoting: CyborgZetaNothing wrong with supporting the people who make, or package, the software I use.
I wonder how they prevent someone from lazily throwing a package together and selling it on flathub while the original authors get nothing. Similar to what happens on Steam, e.g. https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2022/10/someone-released-the-foss-rts-0-ad-on-steam-without-speaking-to-the-developers/.
dvd Feb 27, 2023
Quoting: Klaas
Quoting: CyborgZetaNothing wrong with supporting the people who make, or package, the software I use.
I wonder how they prevent someone from lazily throwing a package together and selling it on flathub while the original authors get nothing. Similar to what happens on Steam, e.g. https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2022/10/someone-released-the-foss-rts-0-ad-on-steam-without-speaking-to-the-developers/.

Nothing, anyone can sell free software.
Numeric Feb 27, 2023
Quoting: Klaas
Quoting: CyborgZetaNothing wrong with supporting the people who make, or package, the software I use.
I wonder how they prevent someone from lazily throwing a package together and selling it on flathub while the original authors get nothing. Similar to what happens on Steam, e.g. https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2022/10/someone-released-the-foss-rts-0-ad-on-steam-without-speaking-to-the-developers/.

Looks like a verification system is in the works alongside the donations. Haven't looked into the details of the gatekeeping method, but at least something is being worked on.
poiuz Feb 27, 2023
Quoting: GuestSounds like bad news as all the app developers will transition to flatpak and paid services. There will be few free FOSS developers left and this will likely leave distro repositories empty. I'd also expect that the open source movement will die as app developers seek to protect their revenue and close their code so they can continue making money.

Overall I think this is bad news for linux
If application developers wanted to make money, they would've created applications for systems where they could actually make some money. These days it's so simple to create cross platform applications (and monetize them) but people still create Free Linux/GNOME/KDE/<INSERT YOUR PREFERRED DE PROJECT> applications because they want to. Nothing is going to change.
Purple Library Guy Feb 27, 2023
Quoting: dvd
Quoting: Klaas
Quoting: CyborgZetaNothing wrong with supporting the people who make, or package, the software I use.
I wonder how they prevent someone from lazily throwing a package together and selling it on flathub while the original authors get nothing. Similar to what happens on Steam, e.g. https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2022/10/someone-released-the-foss-rts-0-ad-on-steam-without-speaking-to-the-developers/.

Nothing, anyone can sell free software.
Contrariwise, though, if it's FLOSS there's also nothing to stop anyone from putting it up for free. Charging money for Free Software is perfectly fine, but somewhat self-limiting.

Personally, I think that vis-a-vis Free Software this is not an important move--it might help a few projects get some contributions, and that's fine, but it's not going to damage the open source model; anyone who thinks it could is not remembering their open source history.

What interests me more is the closed source, commercial software side. This could set up Flathub as a distribution source for Linux software from closed source software publishers. That could be good for Linux. Not in the short term good for open source, but I think that on Linux, open source software tends in the long term to win out (less so in games, which have various weird characteristics such as being ephemeral and art-heavy). What one could see is an increased ecosystem of closed source (mostly non-game) Linux software distributed via Flathub, complementing the ecosystem of mostly closed source game software from Steam, and combining to make Linux a viable desktop for more and more use cases. But the open source software continues to be distributed on it mostly via more traditional distro repositories and package management. As the Linux desktop grows, with more user and developer base I would expect more and more of the open source alternatives to these Flathub-distributed closed source applications would reach critical mass and gradually supplant the closed offerings.

So. Summing up, I think:
--Short term, for open source, some people get a bit of money to help development, impact minor
--Short term, for closed source, could help distribution of closed software to the Linux desktop, creating more interest in providing same
--Medium term, could help grow Linux desktop but somewhat crowd out open source software on Linux
--Longer term, I'd expect on a bigger-share Linux desktop, open source alternatives would grow again and displace the closed offerings. In the vague, nebulous future a good thing.
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