An emerging app store could help Ubuntu and Debian push deeper into the consumer and corporate markets, where Linux novices and curious VARs are seeking simple ways to track down, install and evaluate applications. But here’s the twist: The emerging app store, which offers Ubuntu Linux and Debian applications, wasn’t built by Canonical. Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy.

Still in beta, the store is called apperi. As of July 21, the online destination claimed to have nearly 120,000 indexed packages for Debian 4.0 and 5.0, and Ubuntu 8.04, 8.10 and 9.04. The apperi site also tracks the top 25 software packages — apparently based on user popularity.

No doubt, just about everyone in the software industry has been trying to emulate Apple’s wildly popular App Store — which has managed 1.5 billion downloads, 65,000 applications and 100,000 developers since debuting a year ago.

Shopping for Open Source

Back in Ubuntu and Debian land, apperi isn’t saying much about its own app store strategy. A simple “about us” statement offers this info:
Apperi provides a simple way to search and install applications on your Debian or Ubuntu Linux computer. By using the official repository package lists and apt-url it allows for one-click installation of every official package in it’s supported distributions. Apperi was developed by Ryan Quinn who is also the founder and lead developer of the currently dormant GNU/Linux distro SymphonyOS.
In an effort to monetize the site, apperi seems to be built on an advertising model.

Is this the start of something big? Too soon to say. And there’s no guarantee of success: Don’t forget, Red Hat’s own online exchange for applications has had hit-and-miss results with customers and partners. Ultimately, Red Hat diversified its distribution strategy by co-launching the Open Source Channel Alliance.

Still, an online destination featuring Ubuntu and Debian applications could be different, since Ubuntu is mainly popular as a desktop operating system. The VAR Guy believes the Ubuntu market remains eager for a centralized, commercialized destination that allows users and partners to find, discover, download and install new applications.

Canonical’s own online store contains some Ubuntu-related software, But, um, it leaves much to be desired. And Canonical itself has indicated changes are coming.

In the meantime, apperi is in beta. The VAR Guy is curious to see how the site evolves.

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