The next phase of the Flathub experience is on the horizon with initiatives from GNOME, KDE e.V and PlainText Group to bring payments and donations to the Flathub store.
In a GitHub post announcement, the Plaintext group proposed to the GNOME foundation and KDE, e.V. that they will introduce “systemic improvements in the open source software ecosystem – rather than just funding a specified list of OSS projects” and apply it to improve the current Flathub ecosystem for Flatpaks.
Plaintext group is a technology innovation policy initiative from Schmidt Futures that help fund non-profits to carry on complex governance, structures and other business avenues for better user experience.
This year we are planning to launch this work together with appropriate legal and governance setup, and are seeking additional funding to add: subscriptions / recurring donations, review tools to prevent abusive application submissions and automated security/vulnerability scanning. Over time we hope that Flathub can become self-sustaining through transaction fees and corporate sponsorship.Plaintext group
Although GNOME or KDE does not initiate it, bringing two major desktop environment foundations to improve Flatub is a great idea. There might be various incentives for the app developers as well. A few application developers can start earning for free and open-source projects via donations and contributions.
The elementary OS implements this idea for its curated App store, where you can pay a minimal fee (such as $5 or $10) for many apps. This brings overall a good ecosystem and a win-win for all parties involved.
In my overall experience, I have seen that if an app is good, solves problems or smoothens your workflow to a greater degree – please do pay for it, although it is open source. Because for many users, paying $5 is easier than compiling from source.
It’s probably utterly unreal that this proposal comes just after one day after Canonical announced stopping Flatpak installation by default for its flavours. And if this proposal succeeds in the coming days, Canonical just made a terrible decision.
At this stage, it is a proposal. But if GNOME foundation, KDE, e.V. both accept and if all work together, Flathub might become the best thing ever happened to the Linux desktop. Imagine all non-Ubuntu-based Linux distribution is pre-installed with Flatpak and Flathub integration and a single AppStore. It will be fantastic for everyone.
Let’s wait and keep our fingers crossed that it succeeds.