[Mageia-discuss] A name for mageia-app-db

Michael Scherer misc at zarb.org
Wed Feb 16 16:03:36 CET 2011

Le samedi 12 février 2011 à 21:44 +0100, Romain d'Alverny a écrit :
> On Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 20:08, Wolfgang Bornath <molch.b at googlemail.com> wrote:
> > 2011/2/12 Michael Scherer <misc at zarb.org>:
> >>
> >> Well, to me, the name market and all of it connotations is quite
> >> consumerist, and doesn't really fit with the spirit of a community
> >> distribution, based on collaboration more than pure commercial
> >> exchange as the various proposed name implies.
> >>
> >> When samuel presented his idea, I was quite interested because it would
> >> allows me as a packager to find who would be ok to test packages,
> >> to collaborate when i need confirmation for a bug and so on.
> >>
> >> But it seems that the vast majority of proposal are geared toward
> >> replicating the model of Apple Appstore, Google market and others :
> >> - app market, app box, software database, app center, Appworld,
> >> software portal.
> >>
> >> Where is the collaboration in all of this ?
> >
> > Yes, I agree to this point of view. "market" is connected with
> > "selling", "app*" is connected with Apple's commercial appstore.
> That a word is used or misused would not justify to abdicate our own
> use of it, if it is relevant. Or we are headed for newspeak each time.

Well, some people tried. Ask around you what they understand when we say
"hackers" or "communist". Or "geek". I do not like either to change the
meaning of word, that's very 1984 as you put it. But I also perfectly
realize that we cannot by ourself fight against the rest of the world.

> "App" has been used years for software applications before Apple
> coined the "AppStore" name. And their application platform has
> fundamentally nothing new, but that it does build a hugely profitable
> ecosystem, for now at least.
> A "market" is a place where people meet and exchange stuff. From this
> have grown many different things of different sizes and implications.
> And sometimes, there is sales and purchases there, because that's how
> it takes place.

I beg to differ, according to historic source, there is sale per
definition ( http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/market ).

>  And nothing here opposes collaboration: it just takes
> place in a certain way, provided both parties are happy with the
> transaction that took place.

For some people, market is also often associated with competition
( especially when associated to the capitalist view of the word, ie
"free market" ). And competition is kinda opposite to cooperation ( or
at least, not from the same person ). 

Sure that's not the only meaning, but there is a significant share of
people that will associate this rather with "competition" than

Again, just do a quick test around you.

> "Market" may indeed not be the best word in this very case, but this
> reflexion hints something interesting: that you oppose the possibility
> to have paid-for stuff witin mageia-app-db. Why not. Is it so really?
> Is it assumed?

If people ask me the question ( just in case someone is fool enough for
that ), I would oppose, yes. Not because I am fundamentally against
commercial activities, I do computer support for a fair trade
association from time to time that do commercial stuff, and more than
once I helped to sell tshirts on free software fair. And I also know
that people may need money to live ( mainly because I also do, as
surprising it seems ).

But I would be against this in madb for 2 main reasons.

The first is this was not suggested by anybody so far, and was not
expressed in term of requirements. So without this, it is better to say
"no until this is more clear", rather than "yes" and change mind later.

"Having paid-for applications" is too broad, and this encompass things
like "adding flattr button" to "accepting DRM in rpm", or "filtering per
country what people can see in the application".

The second one is that adding commercial business in a software
distribution is gonna be risky and have some side effects, varying on
the type of commercial business.

The introduction of Kiosk, while based on a interesting idea ( and well,
quite new at this time ) and good intentions, had a unfortunate chilling
effect on community. And the worst part was that community was in
competition with it when kde backports were offered as part of the
service. The same goes for the club ( despite being not so bad in term
of revenue, until Ubuntu appeared ). 

While both projects got killed in the end for various reasons, the end
result is that Mandriva seems to still suffer from the reputation
problem. And that's a sufficient reason to be cautious when adding
commercial business in the mix of a free software project.

Unfortunately, the PR issue is quite tricky to get right. Let's take for
example Canonical.
Despite having a strong community, and enough ressources to have a
decent marketing team, they suffer from the same type of issue, ie bad
PR just du to the fact they try to make a living with commercial

See the controversy around Ubuntu One naming (
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntuone-servers/+bug/375345?comments=all ),
the very recent controversy with Banshee
( http://gburt.blogspot.com/2011/02/banshee-supporting-gnome-on-ubuntu.html ), the older one about Rhythmbox and Magnatune ( http://lwn.net/Articles/377314/ , the story do not tell that the rb developers were not aware of the canonical patch ). And that's just the top of those that I can remind of, and a lot of reason of why people do not contribute to Ubuntu.

Not everything will end this way of course, and we could provides
several example of commercial business mixing well with free software. 
But it should be clear that answering "yes, we want to do some
commercial stuff" requires to be cautious and propose a solid and clear
case to avoid misunderstanding, bad PR and in the end lose in the
community. I think we can all agree that our community is still
recovering from the error of the past, and that it warrant to be more
than cautious, extra cautious.  

So in the end, I think "no for the moment and the first years" is the
proper answer.

Michael Scherer

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