experiments with marketplace

Thursday, Jan 15, 2009| Tags:

We started an interesting experiment. From today applications, artwork or document templates can be uploaded to, and for free downloading as before. But starting today, you may also select to sell them to users on the Marketplace of We try to do this in a way which is in line with the free software spirit

The Marketplace/App Store on does not take a commission on sales. So 100% goes directly to the developer. It also doesn’t dictate which applications, artwork and documents may be listed. Instead, all applications and artwork are welcomed, including binaries of free software, icon designs, wallpapers and document templates. This is new for the free software world.

Free software for money?
Is it fine to sell free software? Isn´t it forbidden to sell GPL Software and artwork? Isn´t it immoral?

No! It is OK with the GPL to sell free software. All you have to do is to provide the source code. At the moment companies like Redhat or Novell sell binaries of free software. People buy their products because they don´t have to compile the software on their own and they also get support for the software. But, the money goes to the Linux companies and not to the developers. So the new thing is that the free software developers can provide binaries, addons or support for a little money for their users and the income goes 100% into their pockets

Why do we do this?

If the free desktop wants to grab a bigger market share from the desktop market (let’s say, 20% to 30%), we need more full-time developers. Framework developers and also 3rd party application developers. We need thousands of them. But, how do the thousands of developers pay their rent? They can´t all be sponsored by Linux companies. So we need a way 3rd party developers can earn money for their hard work. We hope our Marketplace will create an ecosystem where developers and small companies can sell their applications and users can find easy to use application and tools for little money. We hope the Marketplace will stimulate the market for free software and bring developers and users closer together.

To give a few examples…

– The Amarok project could sell the Windows and mac binaries for 99 cent to their users. So if a lot of users buy the software, the Amarok developers can spend more time on developing Amarok and probably quit their day jobs in future. This is some kind of donation to the project.

– Some artist could create nice wallpapers and give away the 1024×768 version for free, but charge 50 cent for the 1600×1200 version. This way artists can earn a little money and spend more time on creating artwork in future.

– A free software developer can sell a premium version of his software to users who are willing to pay a little bit of money for more features or a different license. Similar to or MySQL. So if a lot of users buy the software, the developers can develop this application full time in future.

– KOffice Template. A user can create a nice document template for KOffice and sell it for $2 to KOffice users. So the users get more, and better, document templates and the people who create these templates get a little money for their work.

We provide the online platform and the payment facility which is Paypal. The only cost incurred by the seller, is the commission charged by Paypal. At the moment we have over 3,800 application and 55,000 artworks uploaded and maintained by developers. We have over 200,000 downloads per day and over 110,000 registered contributors.

With these download stats, 99c per binary, 50c per wallpaper and $2 per document template could add up to a sizable daily turnover for our community of developers. That’s what we are hoping for!

What do you think?


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