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Should The App Catalog Be Purged???
View Poll Results: Should the App Catalog be Purged?
Yep - Empty it all out and let developers resubmit Apps they want to keep available. 6 17.65%
I want an "Amnesty Program" where developers tag Apps or they get deleted from the Catalog. 3 8.82%
I think Amnesty + User Votes are needed so we don't loose good Apps. 17 50.00%
What kind of crack habit produce this poll - You are insane!!! 8 23.53%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12/13/2012, 01:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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January 8th, 2009 was the launch date of webOS.

August 18th, 2011 it was announced that webOS would be discontinued.

In those two and a half years there was a lot of upheaval and change. Players came and went. The App Catalog grew and then stagnated.

It's kind of a mess right now isn't it? There are long abandoned Apps all over the place. It takes a keen eye, observation skills and a lot of hunting to find what works, what is still being supported and what is worthwhile for downloading...

Legacy webOS is pretty much at the final point of its evolution.

Yes we have developers who still create Apps and maintain those that they have previously published.

But how much of the App Catalog is wasted space? How many of the Apps are abandoned?

Should the App catalog be "reset" and pruned of dead Apps?

Could there be an Amnesty Program whereby developers have a time limit to tag their Apps as still viable and all those not tagged simply pulled for good?

Should there be an additional way for users to tag abandoned Apps as still worthwhile to save them from the purge?

It might result in wholesale slaughter of a lot functional Apps, but it would simplify things greatly.

I'm not sure that HP would undertake the effort - it would require some oversight on their part and the implementation of some code.

Is it even a good idea?

Am I nuts to even ask these questions?
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Old 12/13/2012, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, the big question is whether or not the App catalog will still continue to exist. Without HP to provide and maintain it, it'll fall to the folks at Gram to adopt it. We'll have to wait and see them actually produce something to know where that's going.

Right now, using Preware and the homebrew catalog about the best option to find functional, good quality stuff that's still supported.
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Old 12/13/2012, 02:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I like to take the apps (JavaScript ones), figure them out and make them work, or update them for myself...

Would hate HP/Palm to remove something I use, seem it would be a very hard filter...

As some developers might have given up, we might still be using the apps...

I suppose HP/Palm will decide at some point, but I have no need for a new phone, last phone I had for 8 years...
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Old 12/13/2012, 02:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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for an in-production device at least, a working, useable, friendly app catalogue is important, sometimes i get frustrated using android/ios when its showing me heaps of stuf i dont want esp when ive specifically thrown in an exact app name, then even more mad when you find it doesnt work right or at all unless you have 1 of a specific list of devices.
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Old 12/13/2012, 03:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think the app catalog should stay as it is, but with some adjustments.

1. if an app is not supported or updated anymore there should be a message, but the app should still be downloadable.
2. The app catalog should be international ant not limited to countries. At the moment I use the UK app catalog since there is no dutch app catalog. I cannot use the US app catalog because I don't have a US creditcard. I do have a Paypal account wich I use for the UK catalog. AFAIK I cannot use that in combination with the US app catalog.
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Old 12/13/2012, 05:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the app catalog should stay as it is, but with some adjustments.

1. if an app is not supported or updated anymore there should be a message, but the app should still be downloadable.
2. The app catalog should be international ant not limited to countries. At the moment I use the UK app catalog since there is no dutch app catalog. I cannot use the US app catalog because I don't have a US creditcard. I do have a Paypal account wich I use for the UK catalog. AFAIK I cannot use that in combination with the US app catalog.
im a fan of both ideas, and suggestion 1 i mostly like, i think "Out of date or unsupported" apps should have a section of their own so a user knows they potentially wont get any support and they download it knowing it may not function as intended or at all, ofc recent user comments would also show if thats the case or not.

1 thing i have noticed esp on the fruity app store is comments overall made by users should be split into versions, i often see newer comments slating an app once updated but see older ones praising it, it would be nice to have such reviews split by version numbers so its easier to see what issues relate to what version(s), this could help remove some confusion for users and maybe help a dev track down what went wrong along the way.
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Old 12/13/2012, 05:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Maybe we should make a list of apps that don't work and ask the developers politely if we can fix it for the good of the community.

We can start with forums (tapatalk) since we are in the forums
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Old 12/13/2012, 05:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A list of apps that are non-functional would be handy.
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Old 12/13/2012, 06:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Woah! Great thread guys, very relevant question

I think unsupported apps should be marked as such, but should remain available for purchase (with a disclaimer), so should "broken" apps, but also marked as such.

I know i'm gonna be despised for the next few days for saying this, but abandoned apps should be available to us as the common legacy of the platform, a tacklebox into which we could reach and borrow something to reuse, such as an obscure bug fix no one else has thought of, or something to help us in our reverse-engineering efforts. In a healthy ecosystem, that would be dishonest, but this isn't a healthy ecosystem, this is one that's currently dying. If we are sitting on top of burning garbage that was once beautifully innovative, we can't just throw away the good with the bad and move on. We should save, reuse, re-purpose. That goes against the common IP (intellectual property) rules, i know. One must be careful... but still, we can dig up the buried statues, pottery and buildings in the city of Pompeii, and it's getting pretty close to that here. Look, dig, then ask for permission. Most devs are nice people and even if they have packed up and left, they might be kind enough to let you use their fix....


I wasn't as coherent here as i'd like (emotional, i might add), but i think there's a line between piracy in a healthy ecosystem and us trying to save an unhealthy one by studying abandoned apps to learn about OS bugs that aren't apparent to a newcomer like me. There's a difference between shamelessly using someone's hard work for free, and simply trying to save a 100 hours by looking at (now broken) code and paying for the privilege.

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Old 12/13/2012, 10:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Maybe we should make a list of apps that don't work and ask the developers politely if we can fix it for the good of the community.
I'd much rather see a community-based initiative to identify formerly great (or even potentially great) apps that have been abandoned (or at least not updated for 2.2.4). With that list, contact the devs and ask if they would be willing to either:
  1. Take the app open-source (with an appropriate license).
  2. Agree to share the source code with community-approved devs, who could then work on updates that would be submitted to the owner/dev for testing and submission to the App Catalog.
My line of thinking is that most of the devs who abandon apps do so because they feel it's not worth their time to continue development. If it's no longer their time that's at risk, perhaps they'd actually like to see their "children" grow up?

Perhaps Gram or webOS Internals could even be persuaded to sponsor this and act as a clearinghouse (as a way of assuring devs that things are being done on the up-and-up).

I'm just shooting from the hip, here, so please jump in if you see a way to improve on or sharpen this idea.
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Old 12/13/2012, 10:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'll set my contribution as clearly as I can: MAKE THE APP CATALOG AVAILABLE INTERNATIONALLY!!!

FIRST: Apps developer know that webOS fans gladly pay for good apps, but the BIGGEST mistake is limiting the already limited "wide" range of user base. Some developers have left because there's not enough flow of users to maintain servers and such. So, by making a little more wider user base by giving access to unsupported countries, there's a better chance that developers would find it feasible to keep supporting their hard work.

SECONDLY: Another thing I would suggest -to differentiate us from other platforms- is to pay developers for each updates. Say what, each app to cost $1 and each update $ .50. That would serve as an incentive to developers to work continuously and bettered their apps more and more. I think it is kind of unfair to buy an app for $1 and expect to have the developer working forever on it funded on the $1. I think we are a platform that really appreciate developers efforts and as such, we have to create an appealing environment for them to head up our direction.
Finally, I would suggest to HP -if they don't intend pursuing with the catalog- to give away the servers and infrastructure of the App Catalog to the webOS community for them to merge it with Preware... BOOM! How 'bout that?! Patches, Apps, Forums, I don't know! All together, ONE community, ONE OS...webOS! All in ONE place!

LASTLY: I think there are a lot of people that have left the platform because it couldn't handle their needs. That's why I suggest having key apps developed by Gram engineers or by donations funded developers. Apps that in other platforms are the most used/downloaded/bought/best_rated among their users. I feel tempted to try another platforms - always with my Preł and Touchpad on the other side, while they last- but I would love to stay with my webOS powered device. So, that something webOS Port guys should feed us on how they're advancing with the G-Nexus port (personally I'd love if they could port it to the SG Note II, but the Nexus 4 looks awesome).

So, in pretty basic terms, I think this would really attack the causes of webOS fragility instead of just the effects of the real illness.

That being said without prejudice of better thoughts and opinions of more skilled and knowledge people.

Last edited by ajguns; 12/13/2012 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 12/13/2012, 11:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Well webos apps are too cheap, especially if its something one is going to use on a regular basis. One dollar a piece may be good for iphone with hundreds of million user base. So yes I agree charging for updates a good idea.

But still some are gonna be moaning and talking about what is free on what platform
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Old 12/13/2012, 11:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well webos apps are too cheap, especially if its something one is going to use on a regular basis. One dollar a piece may be good for iphone with hundreds of million user base. So yes I agree charging for updates a good idea.
Lets stay with the prices as they are (some apps cost $ 1.00, $ 2.99, $ 4.99, others $ 9.99 and more) and add the "pay per update" price based on the parameters established by the App Catalog managers (which could be a.- amount of new features implemented, b.- quality of the improvement -when HD is implemented on the apps graphics-, c.- others...). Socializing these parameters when an update appears, would let the users know the improvement he's paying for and legitimate the cost of it. That would give a "understandably" feeling to pay for apps support. Imagine buying "Happy Pigs" ;-) once and the its developer just updating the app 10 levels per update at a reasonable price based on already socialized parameters. I don't know, but something like that.

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But still some are gonna be moaning and talking about what is free on what platform
Not true webOS die-hard-want-to-see-our-beloved-platform-and-developers-succeed kind of fans. I remember a few months ago when Inglourious Apps released an Enyo app just for android because of lack of user base on webOS. Long story short, they released it on webOS App Catalog and it sold better than android! That's because android's user have too many free apps and are not use to paying. We on the other hand, are willing to support our developers by purchasing useful/fun/trendy apps.
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Old 12/14/2012, 12:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think the app catalog should stay as it is, but with some adjustments.

1. if an app is not supported or updated anymore there should be a message, but the app should still be downloadable.
2. The app catalog should be international ant not limited to countries. At the moment I use the UK app catalog since there is no dutch app catalog. I cannot use the US app catalog because I don't have a US creditcard. I do have a Paypal account wich I use for the UK catalog. AFAIK I cannot use that in combination with the US app catalog.
I agree with that idea, those thousands of apps that aren't updated/no longer supported should be kept within the HP Catalog. A lot of application still works despite not being updated, like music radio application "Pandora" or many others, so it would be unfair to remove those apps because HP wasn't competent enough to continue their efforts with WebOS and decided to abandon it.

And it also creates a problem too(if HP decides to reset the HP Catalog to start it from scratch), image this scenario: what if a WebOS user have to doctor their devices due to a malfunction in the software side, causing it to remove all apps and information along with the hardware reset performed on his device. How will that person recover or redownload those apps that he uses most in WebOS, HP pruned those apps that were abandoned?

My suggestion to HP/WebOS Team will be this:

  1. Continue to support the HP Catalog with the Open WebOS efforts (combine them together), similar way like the HP Catalog places categories of apps compatible with certain WebOS devices. That way, there will only be one Catalog for all WebOS users eliminating confusion with this Open WebOS software and legacy devices running on the older WebOS operating system.
  2. Just like Apple has expanded the reach of their iTunes Store, the same thing HP should be doing for the Catalog. That would allow users from other countries to have access to apps that could be found in the US. (sorry someone already mentioned this idea).
  3. Revive the "Pivot Magazine", that should help developers highlights some of thebest apps of the week/month that has been released on the Catalog. While also creating a list of the most downloaded applications, helping smaller developers to get recognition for their own work they placed on building the application.
  4. HP/Gram/WebOS should create more incentive for developers to create apps for the OS platform, like offering RIM is offering for developing application for their platform[Link is embedded here].
  5. Bring back the HP Play with more functionality, like integration the WebOS Catalog into the program that would allow you download or sync music/movies/apps from the PC to your tablet or any WebOS powered phones (much like Apple's iTunes can download apps to your mobile device wirelessly when synched).
  6. Launch conventions/Appathons for WebOS platform, calling for big or small developers to create application to win prices or make it more interesting money.
I'm sure that this small steps for WebOS when it comes to the HP Catalog, will help improve the ecosystem and attract more developers into this platform.
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Old 12/14/2012, 01:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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If you're asking HP to dole out money and throw bodies toward rebuilding outreach efforts to bring back old and bring in new webOS developer talent, they aren't going to do it at this time, and especially not for anything 3.0.5 and prior.

Nor are they going to re-hire the editorial and design teams for Pivot.
Nor are they going to spend the money to complete HP Play as it was meant to be,
Nor are they going to extend the App Catalog internationally (it takes money to get accounting and legal representation; right now they're already supporting what amounts to a catalog on life support, and don't you think they'd have done this already if they ever intended to?)

The problem goes back to something very fundamental that the echo chamber seems to be forgetting: There is no retail presence for webOS. There are no devices on the roadmap for webOS. The incentive to create webOS apps as a means of revenue is non-existent.

Look at Astraware's total sales over more than a year; a good deal of comparable apps sell that in less than a day on other platforms. Your average Joe Developer out there already looks at the #3 and #4 platforms, Windows Phone and Blackberry like they're a joke; webOS as a reasonable platform to release on, to them, has been long dead and buried. And developers, as a general rule, don't do charity cases for lone OSes when they need much more to financially support themselves.

Furthermore, when it comes to the donation idea to attract developers, it's been mentioned several dozen times around here but not one person who's mentioned it has actually done anything to create an actual plan and organize such an effort. Much less get it up and running. In, again, almost a year and a half now.

tl;dr: These ideas are largely the same unrealistic ones talked about ad nauseum around here, and as usual they're predicated on HP beating dead horses by burying and asphyxiating them with dollar bills (or Euros, your choice).

Last edited by dignitary; 12/14/2012 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 12/14/2012, 01:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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If you're asking HP to dole out money and throw bodies toward rebuilding outreach efforts to bring back old and bring in new webOS developer talent, they aren't going to do it at this time, and especially not for anything 3.0.5 and prior.

Nor are they going to re-hire the editorial, writing, and design teams for Pivot.
Nor are they going to spend the money to complete HP Play as it was meant to be.
Nor are they going to extend the App Catalog internationally.

On that last point, it takes money to get accounting (taxes!) and legal representation (red tape!) to expand to different countries; right now they're already supporting what amounts to a catalog on life support, and don't you think they'd have done this long ago already if they ever intended to? If anything, were it ever in the plans to begin with--and it likely was to an extent, I imagine--they were almost surely cancelled when HP threw down the axe on devices.

There's simply no reasonable way for HP to justify blowing a bunch of money opening up the App Catalog to serve the two people in Turkey who managed to purchase a Pre off eBay for a few bucks, and that's where RumoredNow and Remy X's idea of a third-party App Catalog really makes sense since they're small and don't have 6 miles of red tape they need to work through...unlike a publicly-traded multinational corporation that isn't allowed to play cowboy. Irony, huh? But it's the truth.

Palm and HP also did "Appathons" paying out nearly a couple million bucks in the past. Guess what? Many quick and hastily-thrown together apps were released as a result, and many actually won cash despite the poor quality--even above some fantastic and well-thought out apps. Many who won also cut and run after getting the cash (just like BB devs will with the $10k "guarantee"), and others invested it into expanding to other platforms given that the webOS developer base was already shallow and picking up little to no steam even then. If you've been around here long enough, you know that those "Hot Apps" Appathons came during a very slow time between the Palm Pre/Plus and Pre 2 when things were looking...desperate for the platform under Palm. Which is why the PDK "Hot Apps" was done by HP right after they bought Palm out--and they lowered the prize values, to boot.

Oh, conventions. Open webOS already visits industry conventions, but there's no point to them working to attracting app developer talent if there's no complete OS yet to actually develop for; it's still an OS in development and it would be pointless to do so. (And how many legacy webOS apps break in Open webOS, again?) At least give them enough time to stabilize the platform and produce the next iteration of the SDK before wondering where the developers will come from.

And conventions may be good on a face-to-face basis, but 99.9% of the success of a platform is going to come from developers talking to other developers about their awesome development experience and money they're raking in rather than how they were convinced at a conference to come on board. Look back at the old webOS developer conventions Palm/HP used to have, and tell me how much that helped overall. Not much other than brand exposure; it's not by any means the crucial factor in platform selection by a developer. (Google I/O, Apple's yearly shindig, and Microsoft's conventions attract existing developers and those who are already true believers, so they don't count. Apples to oranges.)

The problem goes back to something very fundamental that the Blue Sky Echo Chamber here seems to be forgetting: There is no retail presence for webOS. Legacy webOS is dead. The number of active webOS users grows smaller by the day. The incentive to create webOS apps as a means of revenue is non-existent. Open webOS isn't even out in the open yet in a completed state and, as such, can't be profited upon by app developers. Just as or even more importantly, there are no announced devices on the roadmap for Open webOS--and rumor is not an announcement.

Look at Astraware's total sales over more than a year; a good deal of comparable apps sell that in less than a day on other platforms. Your average Joe Developer out there already looks at the #3 and #4 platforms, Windows Phone and Blackberry like they're a joke until the developer community decides to latch on en masse (if they ever do); webOS as a reasonable platform to release on, to them, has been long dead and buried. And developers, as a general rule, don't do charity cases for lone OSes when they need much more to financially support themselves.

Furthermore, when it comes to the donation idea to attract developers, it's been mentioned several dozen times around here but not one person who's mentioned it has actually done anything to create an actual plan and organize such an effort. Much less get it up and running. In, again, almost a year and a half now. They talk up the idea, then whine about why nobody else is doing anything about it.

tl;dr: These ideas are largely the same unrealistic ones talked about ad nauseum around here, and as usual they're predicated on HP beating dead horses by burying and asphyxiating them with currency.

Last edited by dignitary; 12/14/2012 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 12/14/2012, 01:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Now, I digress back to the actual topic from the tangent it got stuck in: The biggest problem with leaving the broken apps in the App Catalog is this:

If someone buys a broken app, they're screwed. No recourse, no refunds, and a seriously bad impression of the platform and its development community.

Like Derek says, this is only exacerbated by time, abandonment, and a dire lack of new applications to take their place. In some quasi-niche categories, there's only one app representing the group.

That alone should necessitate some sort of strategy to purge non-working applications, even if that purge is isolated to paid apps only.

One might argue that the onus is on the user to read the reviews prior to purchasing, but what if they want to purchase an app with few reviews, or that was last reviewed well before it became broken? Again, what if it's a niche app and the only one of its kind represented on webOS? These are all areas of negative impact should someone buy one of those apps and discover they've just wasted their money.

How can those people trust that any application they purchase isn't going to already be broken, or be abandoned in the near future? (Short answer: They can't.)

The solution? A refund system, not unlike Android's 15-minute window they give to vet the application after purchase. Would I ever expect HP to do it at this stage in the game? Not a chance, and from a development, legal, and accounting standpoint it's not a trivial amount of work to make it happen. As much as it would have been nice to have one when I was still developing for the platform back in the day, I certainly don't blame them for not doing anything more than keeping the lights on at this point.
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Old 12/14/2012, 01:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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[snip]
If someone buys a broken app, they're screwed. No recourse, no refunds, and a seriously bad impression of the platform and its development community.
[/snip]
You bring up a great point. However i think abandoned paid apps that have third party patches available to restore lost functionality should be available for purchase with a disclaimer.

IMHO, the situation here is so chaotic, that no single fix would benefit everyone 100%..
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Old 12/14/2012, 02:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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You bring up a great point. However i think abandoned paid apps that have third party patches available to restore lost functionality should be available for purchase with a disclaimer.
It's one thing to release a patch free of charge that modifies someone else's (closed-source) code.

It's another thing entirely, both legally and ethically, to charge for it without the express written permission of the original author whether it's for a paid app or not. And, I imagine, those authors would be mighty interested in profit-sharing lest a patch developer want to find themselves in legal hot water and have their name dragged through the mud for the ethical breach.

There's a very real reason why 99.9% of the Warez community never, ever charged for their patches to retail apps and games. Not to wholly equivocate, but there are very clear analogues in approach.
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Old 12/14/2012, 03:10 AM   #20 (permalink)
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It's one thing to release a patch free of charge that modifies someone else's (closed-source) code.

It's another thing entirely, both legally and ethically, to charge for it without the express written permission of the original author whether it's for a paid app or not. And, I imagine, those authors would be mighty interested in profit-sharing lest a patch developer want to find themselves in legal hot water and have their name dragged through the mud for the ethical breach.

There's a very real reason why 99.9% of the Warez community never, ever charged for their patches to retail apps and games. Not to wholly equivocate, but there are very clear analogues in approach.
oh no, did I really sound like I suggested having the patches available for a fee?

Because that wasn't what I meant... I suppose that was a sloppy way for me to say it... I meant having the broken app available for sale and not pulling it, if a patch was created by the community

Sorry and thanks for the heads up... This is what happens when I don't read my own writing but spend a half hour refreshing the page and rereading your first post
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