The GPL/LGPL App Store For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and Solaris

Last night I updated the software on my Mac, and ended up with a new icon on the menu bar, the Mac App Store.

The Mac App Store is nothing new. It’s an imitation of the IPhone App Store. Which is nothing new. It’s a feeble imitation of Apt. And Apt itself is a version of Yum for Debian systems.

Of course to the average Mac user, it probably looks really neat. To me, well, it looks like nothing much.


What if someone ported a graphical version of Apt and/or Yum to the two proprietary operating systems, and used to it distribute GPL/LGPL applications? There would be certain costs involved, but by using the original projects repositories, the costs could be limited. This is the sort of project that the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation would both have strong philosophical reasons to back. And there’s no reason that it couldn’t cover both Desktop and Server applications.

Of course someone would have to write the software first, preferably using something cross-platform like Python…


Wayne Borean

Sunday January 9, 2011


6 thoughts on “The GPL/LGPL App Store For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and Solaris

  1. This is all well and good, but I feel the real question is practicality…how would one implement a cross-platform GNU-powered app store? Would there just be different native app stores with platform-specific builds of Free Software? (For example, searching for KDE apps in a Windows FOSS App Store would bring up Windows KDE binaries?)

    I think it’s a good idea, but like I said, it’s a question of implementation. In other words, who is going to bell the cat?

    1. Actually I think that you overestimate the technical issues involved. They have already been solved. The other issues I am working on.

      1. Nevertheless, they are certainly of concern to me. I think a cross-platform GNU/GPL-licensed software repository would certainly help software adoption across the board.

        1. Let’s face it, Linux had an app store long before Apple’s Iphone/Ipod app store existed. We’ve got the experience to deliver to Windows and Mac OS X users the same great app store experience that all of the Linux distributions have had for years.

          All we need to do is get it organized. And if it’s setup right, the users who benefit would be able to donate to the projects that help them. It would be a win-win solution for everybody, except the proprietary software companies, who I expect to oppose this to the death.

          Their problem is that they can’t win. They can’t use patents against it, because we can prove prior art, going back to the early internet, and the Electronic Bulletin Board System days.

          Now admittedly I don’t have the time or skills to do the work. I do however have hosting which I could contribute. Possibly it could be extended to cover the Rim, Android, and Brew smartphone platforms, and later, to cover the Mini and Mainframe markets.

          Who’s willing to work with me on this?

          Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

        2. I know that it would. The idea came from having to help my son with that disaster called Windows XP. Rather than having a single place to go where everything was available, rated, and neatly laid out according to function, we had to go chasing all over the place, working from memory.

          A single App Store application for each platform would be a wonderful way for people to get high quality free as in speech software. I was talking to a local geek, who knows who I am, and what I do, but doesn’t always keep up with the blog, and he thought it was the greatest idea he’d ever heard. Like me, he’s not a great programmer, but he also is willing to help. But I need more bodies, specifically bodies who can do the coding.

          Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

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