As you probably know, Ubuntu is building a “Snap Store”, a distribution framework for making it easier for developers to share their applications. However, Elementary OS is trying their own concept, “AppCenter”, which doesn’t have sandboxing or anything unique “in the backend”, but the frontend is truly awesome. They have “Download from AppCenter” buttons, and a unique feature is a developer can request a donation (e.g., the price button says $1.00, but the user can choose to type in $0 instead). They even (I believe) have auto-build from GitHub.
Snap, right now, lacks an official front-end (UAppsExplorer doesn’t count). Elementary has a very nice frontend, dashboard, etc. but doesn’t have anything special on the backend (just debs as usual). It may make sense to try to collaborate with Elementary and make “AppCenter” the Snap Store front-end. This would also help Snap Store’s cross-distro goals.
The reason I bring this up now is because, if Snap Store is successful, it will defeat the point and of the work done to AppCenter. Some ways we could integrate AppCenter features are:
A) AppCenter has a suggested donation option inside the Store. We could probably implement this inside the snapcraft.yaml, using settings similar to:
donation-server: stripe (or ubuntu, or others)
Elementary doesn’t force people to make donations. The button says $1.00, but there is a drop down arrow next to it, where users can type $0. There isn’t a DRM or anything like that.
B) AppCenter has an open source Dashboard, which can fetch code from GitHub and auto-package debs. It is really nice and easy to use, written in NodeJS, and 100% open source. Just reconfigure it to auto-package snaps, and that is pretty much it. Ubuntu has an open source dashboard now. One of the top Snap Store objections, removed. This would also help out the “governance” issue quite a bit.
C) Integrate AppCenter (the app inside Elementary OS) with the Snap Store, and move the apps over to Snaps. Because Snaps don’t support GTK Theming yet, it may also make sense to leave them as debs until they get support.
D) Best of all, there is no Ubuntu SSO account with the open source dashboard. You sign in to the store with GitHub. Not perfect, but far more distro-neutral.