With more than 2,000 apps available and daily downloads of over 700,000 (!) it’s fair to say Flathub is now the de-facto ‘app store’ for Linux, not just for Flatpak apps.

And things show no signs of slowing down.

Endless CEO and GNOME board president Rob McQueen has shared a new blog post to bring the Linux community bang up-to-date on the effort going on behind the scenes to get Flathub here, and what will be required to get Flathub to where it wants to go next.

And (to be a party pooper and spoil that post) the key aims for this year are:

  • Add direct uploads, verified apps, payment support to Flathub website
  • Establish an independent legal entity to own and operate Flathub
  • Raise $250k in funding/sponsorships
  • Establish governance to oversee project
  • Start Flathub focus groups for feedback from devs

Flathub says it’s already secured $100k in funding for 2023. It plans to seek a further $150k. The money will “cover the next round of development on the software, prepare for higher operations costs (e.g., accounting gets more complex), and bring in a second full-time staff member.”

Vital work, basically.

A lot of the backend work on the new Flathub website (making it less of a store front and more of a store itself) was done last year, and this includes a really effective rebrand. Adding support for verified developers is a big one, as is supporting direct uploads – potentially letting us users get new version of our fave apps faster.

Developers are flocking to Flathub in droves, which means users are too, and even Linux distributions (well, bar one) are getting in on the action by making making it easier to install apps from Flathub with the friction of setting things up using terminal commands or odd sounding download files.

Flathub & Payments

I think, as a Flathub user, the “big” user-facing change on the horizon will be introducing a mechanism for app payments/contributions — and it is a necessary thing.

Developers (who are fortunate and able to) pour their time, talent, and expertise into making things for free. They should be able to get something more tangible (than bug reports) in return. Flathub wants to facilitate this by laying a proper foundation on which an inclusive and sustainable economic model can flourish.

Still, it won’t be easy. The Ubuntu Software Centre tried paid software a decade ago and it, to be blunt, died on its derrière! A framework to support financial contributions to help sustain development is but one side of the coin: a culture shift within the wider open source community may be required too.

If you’re interested in learning more about the plans for 2023 then Rob McQueen’s blog post will fill you in. The post is also mirrored to the Flathub discourse should you want to offer (constructive) feedback to the folks ferreting away to make Flathub so fantastic for all of folx to enjoy.