elementary OS plans to revise the AppCenter payment method to make developers sustainable

The idea of AppCenter in the elementary OS was a big revolution. Instead of providing a package management system, it creates a tight bond between developers and users. The idea behind AppCenter is to provide developers a platform to publish their native elementary applications and monetize it if they think it is worth for doing so. This was an innovative concept was in open source world. Because, most of the time, open source developers had to spare their free time for developing apps without getting anything in return. With the AppCenter, developers were able to quickly publish, maintain and monetize their applications.


One of the primary goal pointed out by elementary OS team while introducing AppCenter was to create a sustainable ecosystem. Which means app developers can work as full time workers and get paid reasonable income from what they're doing. But when elementary OS team looks through the statistics after 9 months of AppCenter, they see that, AppCenter has attracted several developers. However, the income generated from these apps are not sufficient enough to sustain the life. This is the case even for popular apps like Harley, or Nimbus. The payout ratio was almost 1% or even less than that for most of the cases.

So, the elementary OS team is planning to revise the payment mechanism in AppCenter to make developers paid better. As part of this, there were some internal discussions within elementary OS team and following conclusions were turned out.
  • Beginning from Juno release, monetized apps which are not paid yet will be listed separately within update page. Along with these apps there will be a pay & update option.
  • When the Update All buttons is selected, all platform components and other critical applications will be updated along with unmonetized apps. If you want to update monetized but not yet paid apps, you need to explicitly do it.
  • Once the payment is done, monetized apps will also be updated just like normal apps.
  • User who don't want pay can still install and update apps by providing price zero with install/update button.
  • There won't be any periodic notifications or trial period expired or unregistered messages when using apps which are not yet paid. The elementary OS team don't want to interrupt users when they are doing something serious.
  • There will be a footer included in app description page, which will help users to donate for an app development at any time. Despite of the fact whether they've already installed the app or not.
For more information on elementary OS AppCenter changes, see original blog post published by elementary OS team.

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