The thing about free and open source apps is that anyone can take the source code and make their own version of an app with few (or no) changes. Many open source licenses even allow you to redistribute your version of an app. So it’s unsurprising that app stores are sometimes litters with unofficial versions of popular apps… sometimes with “developers” charging money for apps that are normally available for free.

In order to crack down on that, Microsoft recently updated its Microsoft Store policies to prohibit sales of open source apps that are available for free from other sources (such as the developer’s website or GitHub). But some developers of free and open source software do make their software available for free download from some locations while charging a fee for the same software when downloaded from app stores… so Microsoft has gotten some pushback.

Open Source digital painting app Krita is available to download for free, but it’s also sold for $15 in the Microsoft Store.

Now Microsoft’s Georgio Sardo says the company will delay enforcement of the new policy until the company can “clarify the intent,” although it’s unclear if the problem is with the intent or the impact it will have on actual developers.

Keep up on the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook and follow @LinuxSmartphone on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news on open source mobile phones.

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2 replies on “Lilbits: Linux laptops and handhelds, iOS 16 beta, and Microsoft Store policy change blocks sales of some open source apps”

  1. Windows is now defaulted to the safety mode when you first load the computer up. Once you turn that off, it disappears. The $15 for the free app is a safety measure for that safety mode.

    1. I don’t think it works that way. I recently installed windows 11 on a few machines, and it didn’t go into s mode, but then again that was Pro and I forced the use of local accounts then immediately joined them to a domain, so maybe it will if you join the domain. It also didn’t turn on on a couple windows 10 home machines that “upgraded” themselves. But I see some other websites saying that so maybe that’s true if you use it like you’re “supposed” to.

      In any case the “safety” is you’ve got a certificate in some complicated pile of authentication from microsoft saying “this isn’t malware”, and they do that for everything from the store and all the files those binaries create. That includes the stuff you get for free. You could choose to trust the certificate the normal Krita binary is signed with, but it is significantly more difficult to manually make windows trust every single file a win32 installer creates when your users lack the best antivirus (Common Sense 2022) and/or you’re a priority target for someone and thus you have to exclude everything by default.

      What microsoft, along with the rest of Big Tech, is trying to do, is create an oligopoly on trust. They tell everyone that “if it’s not from us, you can’t trust it”. I think maybe that’s a major goal of AI research. To create spambots so sophisticated that they can tell service providers “if the device that posted that wasn’t from one of OUR computers, with OUR keys in OUR TPM, you can’t assume it was a person using it”.
      And once they have that in place everywhere, say goodbye to being able to post anything their advertising/social engineering customers don’t want you to say, as they’ll take away your computer for that. Because with windows on it, it’s not really yours.

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