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  • 2 Post By Preemptive
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  • 1 Post By Herrie
  • 2 Post By Frank Corso
  1.    #1  
    I was thinking that if it was possible to find where webOS saves the .ipk files, maybe we could start another app store, and use preware to install the .ipk files. paid apps would still be paid (or just not resold for legal reasons). Let me know if anyone has any ideas.
  2. #2  
    webOS doesn't save the IPKs unless you patch it to do so as described here:
    Guide: Saving Apps From The App Catalog Part 1: nodeleteipk patch | pivotCE

    Regarding alternative app catlogues, this work is already in progress.
    By all means contact the developers of your favourite apps and direct them to the thread. (note the 'apps' link at the top of the page) It is of course possible for them to host their apps behind a pay / donation link.

    There is also this:
    Our own App Catalog ???? - webOS Nation Forums
    Last edited by Preemptive; 11/26/2018 at 11:37 AM.
    MartinH@webos and xandros9 like this.
  3. #3  
    I may as well resurrect this thread. I've been thinking a bit about apps and had an idea. I don't intend to do this myself at this point, but it may be useful or you can shoot it down.

    This forum excepted, everyone doing anything with Legacy or LuneOS is a volunteer at the moment and it's all donation funded. In fact, hosting all available apps here at the webOS Nation gallery might help pull in a few more page (ad) views from us, so that's no bad thing.

    Running a 'store' and maybe offering paid apps, well that's a commercial transaction with certain consumer rights, legal liabilities and so on. Maybe someone would be prepared to take it on, but it would be hard virtually impossible to see a profit.

    If a need for an 'interim' app catalog should arise, one way to fund it might be to offer a subscription service. Space for N apps would cost X from some cloud provider. If dividing that number by the number of likely users comes to a reasonable annual sum, then that subscription pays for an authorisation/login to the store. The fee is for access, not apps. With a decent provider, downtime is unlikely to be a problem, so the risk should be low.

    This kind of makes sense (if the basic numbers work), but what of the developers? Assuming the majority of apps will be old app catalog stuff, there is still the possibility of devs including donation links (as now), but should there be a rise in popularity and the delivery of newer apps or if there are actually sufficient subscriptions to easily cover the hosting costs, then the service could donate money to developers based on the download statistics. As a donation, there's no commercial contract (I doubt HP's catalog ever guaranteed any income anyway) and again, any income is likely to be tiny, but this might be a way to bootstrap a commercial app catalogue. If a fair sized community were to adopt LuneOS, there might come a point where the project could transition from subscription access to free access & a traditional paid app model.

    As things are, with webOS just... persisting, LuneOS still under development & webOS Nation happy to host apps, there's no real need for this, but if LuneOS comes together nicely and starts to attract attention, this might be a way to start a dedicated catalogue. It could be a project from the Ports team, the community or a third party - perhaps webOS Nation itself, though I realise this might be outside it's business model.

    So that's it. Just an idea, not a plan & not currently necessary. It's just that for now it seems any mobile OS needs an eco-system to be viable. That means apps and apps that make some income for developers. This might be a low-cost, low-risk way to build towards a commercial app store.
  4. #4  
    Well... a chinese forum had an app catalog app (got told that it's not working since a bit, aka since that forum did an upgrade), and I casually managed to dig it up and save it somewhere.
    I suspect is similar to the hp app catalog... and dunno.. maybe can be of use for this purpose ?
    Preemptive likes this.
  5. #5  
    Actually, I thought of something else as I fell asleep last night. I thought, "don't forget", but I did and you just reminded me!

    Would it be possible to make a generic installer app? My thought is that any dev who wants can customise the app with links & an icon. When this light weight app is installed, running it could display a request for a donation - the user can dismiss this and continue to download, but another variation would require payment. The app could open a browser link to the payment site and when payment is made, the app is notified and proceeds to download and install. The 'actual' app either deletes or simply overwrites the installer part. Of course the tricky bit here would be the notification part! I don't know if there are such mechanisms. It may be technically difficult or create security problems... I guess this in fact is an 'in app payment', but I'm not clear if those work via an app store or are direct with the maker of the app.

    The idea is that transactions are between the user and the app maker. I think Kalemsoft takes payment on the website, then sends an unlock code via email. This idea is to basically do it like that, but in an app & automatically.

    One problem might be that an online store could be subject to similar laws as an real store - the store is responsible to the buyer for faulty goods sold - even if it is the fault of the manufacturer. The store has to take up the problem with the supplier. Actually, this probably isn't the case, if ebay is an example. They are the conduit and take a cut. Though they arbitrate disputes, ultimately the transaction is between buyer and seller.

    I'm just thinking of ways for a system with a small userbase to generate and distribute income without significant investment or risk exposure for any party. A user pays a small sum direct to a seller for a product listed in a subscription access catalogue.

    To reiterate why I'm making these suggestions:
    Worst case: File-sharing IPKs - inefficient.
    Good: Free app catalogue - searchable listings (as now)
    Better: Subscription catalogue - maybe funds development and even distrubutes excess profit to developers. A transition from free, to income and maybe even profit.
    Best? Free app catalogue with payment system - splitting profits between the service and developers. (Is there a structure more beneficial than this standard model?)

    Well, things like this may have some value in the future...
  6. #6  
    The Mozilla marketplace app is open source as well that might be a solid basis to start from as well eventually.

    -- Sent from my TouchPad Go using Communities
    HP Veer (daily driver), HP Pre 3, HP Touchpad Proper 4G/LTE (Sierra MC7710), HP Touchpad 32GB WiFi, Palm Pre 2
    Preemptive likes this.
  7. #7  
    Alan Morford is now trying Symbian & tweeted this:
    Latest Apps and Games | AppList for Nokia/Symbian

    For an example of an independent app store it seems nice - don't know how many apps there are. It looks like a one-person effort. There don't seem to be any payment options.

    Nokia's Symbian servers were apparently switched off in January 2014. I've no idea how the system is doing since.
  8. #8  
    Being a WordPress developer, I have some experience with payment gateways and eCommerce solutions. It would be possible to handle the payments and processing in the Enyo app using the Stripe API which is JavaScript or even CardConnect's API which is also JavaScript based. This is much closer to my experience than some of the other suggestions/ideas I have seen. Would something like this be beneficial at this time? I don't think so. Maybe once LuneOS gets a few more updates into an almost daily driver system, then I could see me spending the time to develop it. At least parts of it to make it easier for developers.

    I would love some thoughts from other developers who may want to collaborate on this.
    Preemptive and KURT B like this.
  9. #9  
    I'm applying the electrodes once again...

    This is the reason: Rebble · Pebbling after Fitbit: introducing the Rebble Web Services

    You may be aware that Metaview made a patch to enable webOS phones to work with Pebble watches. Pebble took a similar approach to Palm - keeping things as simple and elegant as possible. In fact, some former Palm employees went on to work for Pebble. The story there was familiar: A well liked product went up against bigger players. Financial difficulties lead to a purchase by Fitbit, who then shutdown the hardware product. The support services will also go in the summer. Fortunately, a group of users are working to keep things going.

    I will have to look more closely into this project, but my idea / proposal is to see if we can organise the webOS / LuneOS community to approach Rebble and see if we could collaborate on a shared app catalogue / internet services offering.

    We would hopefully be able to offer our (admittedly small) user-base, some coding expertise in this community and a phone system that will work with the Pebble (ultimately, perhaps LuneOS could also support these watches? Or even other OSS phone projects based around Halium or pmOS?). This might persuade Rebble that there is some value to working with us. In other words, we could offer some 'synergy'. If we have nothing to offer, then they will look upon us as simply trying to 'piggyback' on their offering and turn us down.

    Another thought: I don't know the status of PebbleOS. I assume it is proprietary and still owned by Fitbit. UPDATE: This appears correct, but PebbleOS is apparently based on OSS FreeRTOS and work is under way to build a similar UI on it (much like LuneOS on the Android kernel). Like our old webOS phones, the hardware will eventually die. Assuming it was a relatively simple product, it may be possible to create new hardware. UPDATE: Rebble appear to think this is possible in the future. We already know that webOS have been adapted to a watch, so perhaps LuneOS will be of interest to the Rebble community (given the updates, this seems less likely, though might be of general interest to watch fans who want something more like the Apple watch). It seems there has been generous support from Fitbit to enable users to transition from their services to the Rebble alternative. Though parts of webOS were open sourced, there was not this kind of support from HP, though perhaps that was in part due to Rebble being more organised than the webOS community in reaching out to the products owners when the shutdown was announced.

    Some previous discussion about app stores is here: Describe your perfect webOS store - webOS Nation forums
    Guide: Pebble Smartwatches for webOS 2.x | pivotCE

    Rebble App Store (prototype)

    So does anyone have thoughts and comments?
    Last edited by Preemptive; 02/20/2018 at 09:22 AM.
  10. #10  
    These are the words of Josh Marinacci, former Developer Advocate for webOS at Palm.

    Ongoing Revenue: How to build a new smartphone platform

    I'm only posting because I agree with this approach!

    The obstacles are of course:
    • Someone has to do it. Herrie suggests Mozilla's Marketplace code is available.
    • It has to be run as a business - even if it's ultimately non-profit.
    • Legacy apps could only be hosted by permission of the authors as there would be a risk that it would appear that someone is making money from copyrighted material.
    • The cost of an app store with a monthly fee would obviously be greater than the mainstream platforms, which are free to use and have many free apps available.
    • Is there a viable micro-payment system that can be used? Frank Corso suggests Stripe above.

    Now, an OS like LuneOS can potentially be installed on an old Android handset that you might already have or can buy second-hand. The total cost of ownership will likely be cheaper. The system will likely be kept up to date, so will have less security concerns than commercial systems that have limited updates (often none after a couple of years). Finally, it will likely cause less concern in the area of data harvesting.

    I think I remarked before that 'free' apps should be avoided - even if the price is very low. Even if it just covers costs or supplies the occasional cup of coffee, it will be an incentive for developers to supply apps. Revenue systems for mass-market apps will not apply as the 'pool' of users will be too small for in-app payments or data-harvesting models to bring in enough for the developers.
    Last edited by Preemptive; 05/01/2018 at 06:44 PM.
  11. #11  
    Another thread bump following some discussion at the webOS User Group.

    It was agreed to attempt to specify a proposed app catalogue for the use of legacy webOS and possibly / likely for LuneOS. This should give some idea if a project is viable.

    Current resources are the App Gallery on this site (not working very well - if at all), Preware and some small independent offerings. pivotCE offers a web interface to the Preware feeds, allows developers to list apps via their own feeds and hosts a handful of apps.

    Of existing, known, corporate entities, only LG might be willing to offer an app catalogue. Since the release of their OSE version of webOS, there appears to be a level of cooperation with webOS Ports. Possibly a section of their TV app catalogue could be offered to legacy and LuneOS users. However that would be their choice and within their control. Historically, the corporate support of webOS has caused scepticism in the community, but it's hard to say if community support would be able to offer enough resources. If we assume a future 'community' app catalogue, what would be required?

    Currently, I'd suggest four possible options.
    • A standalone app catalogue.
    • Turning the pivotCE listings into a full app catalogue.
    • Possible collaboration with the service
    • To extend the previous option, offer access to multiple, orphaned / legacy device communities, using economies of scale to manage running and set up costs.

    At this point, it's only worth discussing the first two options. Even if an existing service was interested in supporting webOS users, some specific code would be required. It was suggested at the meeting that setting up a minimal viable product (MVP) could cost $50K at commercial rates. As pointed out above, Mozilla has OSS marketplace code from it's FFOS app store, there are off-the-shelf e-commerce solutions and Preware exists as a front-end app (but it's unlikely to be able to manage payments).

    The most basic requirement would be storage space. The easiest option would be to rent it. We would need to determine the number of apps to be hosted and the volume of data. This would give an indication of the running cost.

    The old HP / Palm services had an account service that managed purchases and payment details. It backed up PIM data, and a list of installed apps. It was possible for a user to log into a web interface and remotely wipe a lost or stolen device.

    At minimum, an account login and record of purchases would be needed. Remote wipe would be useful, if possible to implement. As PIM data is often synced with 3rd party services, this might be a low priority, especially if personal back up services were available.

    Any properly provisioned service would have a cost. It's unlikely that the level of income from the community will be enough for a profitable service, but there might be enough to maintain it and possibly supply some 'tip' money to administrators and app developers.

    Users and funding
    At this point, most users will have acquired the old apps they want. Some new apps will occasionally appear (Qt5 now available!), but there is unlikely to be a flood unless LuneOS takes off. Running costs will likely come from the service offer, especially if app sale income goes exclusively to developers. Even assuming that a new catalogue can be built by volunteers, running costs will need to be split across the user base using a monthly fee to ensure a stable income. There would need to be enough users to pay a reasonable cost for the service.

    Permission of the developers would be needed to host apps legally, which might substantially reduce the number available, but again many users will already have a number of apps. New apps would therefore be prioritised. A requirement of a fee for each app would help the income situation and some developers (especially of older apps) might allow the app fee to go towards the running costs. Purchases might have to be done via the web rather than an app, with the service recognizing the device to permit a download via Preware or a similar app. Some services might be limited or not ever implemented.

    So, the following questions need to be answered:
    • How much server space will likely be required (at first)?
    • What would that cost to rent?
    • What existing software could be used to manage users, payment & a purchase record?
    • What system / app would be used to download & install apps & possibly manage payments?
    • What other services could be offered?
    • What would be the likely time commitment for an administrator & what would be a reasonable fee for that time?
    • How many users are likely to use the service and therefore what would be the likely monthly fee?

    Answers and suggestions are welcome.
  12. #12  
    I've just remembered that restoring the on-device help system is a project. Copies of the old files are available and were formally hosted by HP / Palm. Restoring or replacing this service could also be offered.
  13. #13  
    Here is a search link to repositories of the mozilla Marketplace. It shows 40 repositories. My assumption is that this could provide a largely of the shelf solution (for an app-store at least). But no doubt some updates would be required.

    Here is documentation:
    Last edited by Preemptive; 08/20/2018 at 07:10 AM.
  14. #15  
    You may have seen mention on these forums of the Pinephone. I think the projected price is around $150. It's still in development. Here are the possible OSes that could run on it:
    1. Postmarket OS Early Alpha test build [microSD Boot]
    2. UBPorts mainline build
    3. KDE Plasma Mobile build
    4. Sailfish OS build
    5. Maemo Leste build
    6. NixOS build
    7. LuneOS build
    8. Nemo Mobile build

    Yes, that's 8 projects.
    I saw a comment somewhere on the internet where someone was hoping that their preferred OS would get an app store together so this would take off.

    For projects like these, (some) Android phones are the most available devices to target, but to use the hardware, you need some minimal Android bits (mainly drivers, but also the kernel I think). Someone had the bright idea of making this part as a project to prevent duplication of the effort for individual projects. So the Halium project was born: Take AOSP and strip down to just the bits needed for the hardware - then an OS project can build on that - like putting custom bodywork on a car that's just a chassis and engine. (Pinephone is open hardware, so doesn't need this, just pure Linux I think)

    Here's a list of projects based on Halium. Look familiar?

    So we have bunch of OSS mobile OS projects that can use a common platform for access to Android hardware. What else might they have in common? The need for an app store.

    Depending on the point of development and backing, some of these projects may already have app stores, but I'm wondering if a common app store - perhaps even common protocol - could make it easier for all projects to progress. Apps (e.g. web apps, Enyo apps) that worked on multiple OSes could even appear to all those users, so the common app-count could be larger.

    Does it make sense to propose this? It would probably mean agreeing common policies and for those with existing systems, they might say, "just use ours - it's the best", but are there any technical blockers?
    Last edited by Preemptive; 06/23/2019 at 08:57 PM.

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