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Daniel Foré
Just another crazy person trying to change the world.
Just another crazy person trying to change the world.

Daniel's posts

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Just +Sam Hewitt and I iterating through copy for like an hour and a half :p Getting there.

BTW, this is another great use case for settings URLs. Piece of cake to just throw an anchor element into a label. No wizardry required. It just does the right thing.
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David Hewitt is working on things :D

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I just listened to this episode of +Bad Voltage and they talk about our AppCenter campaign which is awesome! There were a lot of interesting points raised and I wanted to respond to a couple of them :)

Our section starts at about 30:15 if you wanna follow along

34:00 Jono says 30% cut is high and there's some discussion about desktop vs mobile stores and what cut they take. Stuart later mentions that 30% is the same as the Mac app store. I think it's worth noting that the Mac app store also charges $99/yr on top of the 30% and the Microsoft store does 30% as well.

36:20 there's a question about where our users are coming from and +Jono Bacon calls "BS" ;p This is actually one of my favorite stats and I wish more platforms would share it so we can kind of see what the standard is, but I have analytics open right now and (looking at last 3 months) our downloads by platform breakdown is: 65.2% Windows, 7.6% macOS, 24.1% Linux and then everyone else.

I'm not sure if this speaks to the technicality of our user base, but I think it does speak to the "linuxy-ness" of our users. Which I think is the more important bit which comes up a few times in the show.

39:20 Jeremy asserts that "Mac and Windows users are used to paying for software". I have some stats for that too! Hilariously, iOS users pay the most to download elementary OS. Yeah iOS. Not macOS. iOS. Right? They currently average $8.66. Then comes macOS users at $6.52. But Linux users are right behind at $6.47. Windows users are way behind at $4.96 and it's actually Android users that bring up the rear at $3.55.

Now I think it's important to note that these averages exclude 0 payments. So there's plenty of room to make an assertion like "Linux users don't pay". That might be the case. But when they do pay, they pay more than the Windows users who pay.

(What's really interesting is the folks paying on mobile and then coming back to download later. I think that might go to show just how important it is to make sure your website is responsive these days!)

42:00 +Stuart Langridge brings up a really important point which is that the apps we really care about are the ones who are part of the specific 3rd party developer community of +elementary. Nothing to say about that yet, just that it's noteworthy.

There's a lot of other discussion over the next few minutes. At 43:40 Jono starts talking about attracting large ISVs to the store and Canonical's efforts to attract them and the lack of success in that arena. There's discussion about culture and where value comes from and defining the monetization problem and the like.

50:00 Jeremy says he's curious about how we'll get people to write apps with such a strict development path. And I think the answer to that is kind of unintuitive but I think it's what we've found. I think a huge problem for a long time with writing apps for any Linux-based desktop was the lack of a one-true-development-path. Developers ask how to do a thing and the answer they receive is "You can do it however you want!". It's the paradox of choice. There's too many options so they just give up and don't do any of them. By picking out a toolkit and a programming language and a build system and a code hosting platform ahead of time, we take a lot of mental work off a developer's plate. They don't have to make 100 decisions before beginning to write their app. And we provide documentation that takes you through every step, not just the Vala steps, but setting up a build environment and using revision control and translations and CMake and packaging and everything. So I think our model makes it much easier for a developer to get set up with a blank canvas on day 1 with a publishable template and lets them focus on the actual writing the app part. And that's the same with the HIG. It's a reference full of design patterns so that when you have a question about "What's in a good dialog?" you can open the docs and see an example of a good dialog and just copy the template. So rather than being something that developers are forced to fit into, it's something for them to stand on.

51:00 Stuart brings up the point that app distribution sucks on Linux right now. This is not really an optional problem to solve. We just can't even pretend to be competitive without solving this problem for our users and developers. I think he's spot on here.

53:00 Jono says he feels like we're doing a lot of "if you build it they will come". In some ways, sure. But for the most part they're already here. We've seen a lot of folks write apps for elementary OS and then they get stuck because there's no clear distribution path. Several small community projects have cropped up to try to maintain a list of apps built for elementary OS and how to get them. It's a pain for our developer community and they're actively asking us for a solution. The number of apps might not be in the 100s just yet, but there's a not insignificant number of made for elementary OS apps that will be ready to ship day 1. (Something to consider is not just how many developers are already writing for elementary OS, but how many have wanted to and then realized there's no good distribution step and then decided not to)

53:50 Jono talks about "consider moving [my app] to another platform". And I wanna revisit this because this is the point Stuart tried to make earlier. Targeting large established ISVs isn't really in the game plan. The focus is on indie Open Source developers. I think that what really makes a platform compelling for developers is users and what really makes a platform compelling for users is exclusives. Users aren't going to switch to elementary OS just because we get Office. They already run Office on their current OS. It's not a compelling reason to switch. But they will switch for something like Sketch, which is purpose-built for the platform and comes out of nowhere and is now an industry staple and you literally must use macOS to get a certain job now. So I think those are the apps that are the most important to get is the ones that developers haven't written yet, but when they are written they are purpose-built apps, not cross platform apps. And when users have to run an Open Source desktop because the thing they want to do literally can't be done on the closed sourced platforms and they're switching in significant numbers and the revenue model is proven, then we'll see ports of things like Office and Photoshop.


Anyways, I want to say thanks to the +Bad Voltage dudes for talking about us on your show. Lot's of really interesting conversation and I highly suggest people listen to the whole thing. And also thank you very much for backing our campaign! I know at least a couple of you did and that means a lot to us. It's really awesome to have your support and I really appreciate that you are encouraging the idea of the thing and giving us a chance to prove a concept even if you have questions about all the bits and pieces.

Also, I wanted to tag Jeremy but I wasn't sure which Jeremy Garcia he is, so sorry about that :p

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Back in the old days we had Do and it performed all kinds of cool actions. I'm happy that we're starting to bring back some of that functionality in Slingshot. Shoutouts to David Hewitt for adding AppCenter search ;)


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+Universe Sandbox is super cool. I've watched the earth cool down and the early moon form like 4 times now. Also I accidentally blew up our solar system oops.
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Less than a month away from our sprint and 85% funded! Major shoutouts to all of our backers <3
Another AppCenter blog post coming your way! +Cassidy James Blaede gives us updates on the campaign and more information about the schedule and task list for the sprint.

Woo, +Corentin Noël just landed a branch that massively improves performance in AppCenter! Good things coming down the pipe guys, good things :)

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Gonna share this with just you guys because you're my friends. So shh it's a secret! Playing with some ideas for badges people can throw on their websites. Just some exploration, nothing final. Gonna bang out real ones at the sprint ;)

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Definitely worth the read, especially for the pictures :D
We just published a new blog post answering some of the biggest questions we've received about AppCenter and including some screenshots and mockups of our progress so far :)

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We're over halfway there! Big shoutout to +Jupiter Broadcasting for giving us a spot on their show today. This is possibly the most important thing we've ever built and I'm really looking forward to seeing it all come together next month!
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