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    Not sure I agree that an App Store is a requirement for a platform. Game consoles existed for a long time before App Stores became a thing, and I certainly would consider them “platforms”.

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      I don’t ever use the App Store on Mac or Windows and I seem to have a perfectly functional environment. They didn’t even have stores until just a few years ago. So I agree, I don’t see how this is a requirement.

      I think the actual requirement is the ability to package up an application into a downloadable installer that’s guaranteed to work.

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        I can’t think of a major game console released this decade that doesn’t have an App Store, so I’m not sure this argument holds as much water as it might have.

        IMO an App Store is just a package manager that takes payments.

        I definitely want a package manager, and I don’t mind paying for software, so I tend to appreciate having one.

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          released this decade

          Why does that even matter? The PlayStation 2 is still a platform. The Wii didn’t need Internet access. People have already pointed out F-droid. Linux distributions allow you to add 3rd party repositories or overlays. Play/AppStore do not.

          Modern platforms should be able to run and operate if their underlying service go away. They currently cannot, and that’s a big problem.

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            “Released this decade” is relevant because it speaks to current consumer expectations.

            RE “underlying service going away”: Once I buy/install a game on the switch, AFAIK it will never need connectivity again.

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              Current consumer expectations don’t always involve an app store. People in a corporate environment that use Windows don’t expect an app store, especially if their environment is still windows 7. Yours is a narrow-minded view of the idea behind calling something a platform. User expectations don’t go so far as to assume some kind of central store for apps.

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            While not GNU/Linux, LineageOS + F-droid is a functional platform that doesn’t have an ‘app store’ that takes payments. It (F-droid) does encourage donations to projects it distributes, but I still think defining a platform on the requirement that it includes an ‘app store’ that takes payments is not correct.

            The article doesn’t actually define what exactly they mean by ‘app store’ though (package manager vs package manager that can charge you).

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              LineageOS + F-droid

              Off topic, but can you recommend something from F-droid? I recently switched from using iOS for years to buying a refurbished android phone and throwing LineageOS + mindthegapps + f-droid on it. I have installed most of the apps I use from the play store, a few from direct download from websites, and only a single one from f-droid: Material Files which works very well. I haven’t yet found any of the things I need (spotify, mullvad, firefox …) in the f-droid app, and yeah, any recommendations for free libre apps on f-droid that can replace things I might be using from play store? I know about the firefox fork that’s more open, but other than that?

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                Really depends what you want.

                • Amaze is a nice file manager
                • BeHe keyboard is a slightly more tech-y keyboard app, which doesn’t send everything you type to an AI somewhere
                • K-9 Mail for non-gmail email client
                • Syncthing is a decent non-dropbox file sync
                • VLC for video playing

                What I haven’t found yet is a good, general-purpose music player that lets me work with actual files instead of assuming everything’s in albums the way iTunes does. If anyone has suggestions…

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                  I really like Vanilla Music, but I do have everything tagged correctly and am fine with the Album/Artist view. It does have a file tab, but it’s probably not as full-blown as you’re looking for :(

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                    Thank you, I’ll check your suggestions out!

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                    We had a whole thread about it.

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                      Thank you!

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                      I haven’t tried this, but this app claims to be capable of fetching and updating Spotify.. I’m not aware of any pure FOSS client that can interact reliably with this proprietary service.


                      I’ve never heard of this so I had to search. If you are referring to the VPN service, they seem to use Wireguard, so unless they are doing something super crazy it seems like you should be able to use the Wireguard client on F-droid..


                      fennec, which is literally just Firefox without any proprietary bits or Mozilla branding.

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                  I would call the Windows app store pretty much a failure, too.

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                    I have not personally used it, but from what friends and colleagues have told me, it does sound like a tire fire.

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                    The NES might not have had an Internet connection to browse and download new games, but it definitely had a specific place to go to find new content (toy stores), which was heavily curated and managed by the platform owner, and which charged developers to participate. And every game console ever since has followed the same basic business model.

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                      Back then you had actual, physical app stores, e.g. Gamestop.

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                        Presumably they just mean “an easy way for users to discover and install new programs, and for developers to publish them”.

                        A package manager is a building block for such a thing, but it currently isn’t very easy for desktop users to add new repositories, which makes it harder to install new software. And having to manually add these is extra effort. Of course, that’s a tradeoff: I wouldn’t want random developers to be able to ship their crap to me (which is what the app stores basically boil down to, as much as Apple and Google try to pretend these things are curated, they’re not; they just try to keep the worst offenders out).

                        On the other hand, quality of officially packaged software in Debian or Ubuntu really varies a lot, as well. But at least it’s all free software.

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                        Here’s a video on the topic by CGP Grey: https://youtu.be/oAHbLRjF0vo

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                          I could not agree more with his criticism of re-implementing features that are intrinsic to the web in JavaScript to make them “prettier” or “more responsive” while breaking so much basic functionality. Here’s a favorite of mine, loading more search results with an AJAX request when you reach the bottom of a page rather than having pagination with “Previous” and “Next” links. One culprit of this is YouTube; I’ll often browse a channel’s videos, find one that I like and click on it. When I’m done watching, I’ll press the back button of my browser and I’m back at the top and I need to scroll down a bunch of times to get back to where I was. Something similar happened on Twitch.tv when I was looking for a highlight from 2-3 years ago on a channel: I spent a good 5 minutes just scrolling down to the bottom, waiting for more results to appear and scrolling again. If there had been something with page numbers like we see on many BBS, I could’ve jumped easily by 20 pages or even just change the URL to a large enough number and go from there.

                          If I was a better writer, I’d make a quip about “those who forget web 1.0 are doomed to reimplement it, badly” or something to that effect. It’s especially frustrating when you consider that many of those “new and improved” web experiences require so much memory and CPU power that they are completely unusable on a laptop that’s a few years old.

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                            I could not agree more with his criticism of re-implementing features that are intrinsic to the web in JavaScript to make them “prettier” or “more responsive” while breaking so much basic functionality.

                            Indeed. I have a special hatred for javascript scrollbars.

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                              Infinite scrolling is like the new javascript scrollbars from 2003.

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                                I think sites doing everything themselves in WebGL+Canvas because “the dom is too slow” may be the latest addition to the list of possible reasons for “why is my laptop on fire?”.
                                Still a bit soon to tell. ;)

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                              One solution that preserves both the convenience of infinite scroll and jumping to a given page (as well as saving your place on the page) would be keeping the page number in a URL fragment and incrementing it on infinite scroll. So far I’ve seen it used only in RES.