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Canonical woos developers with Ubuntu app prep portal

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Canonical has set up a site to help developers package and sell the code they produce. The site is designed to help to popularize the operating system, encourage new popular apps, and create more commission revenue for the open source organization.

The Ubuntu Developer Portal hosts a variety of tools and applications aimed at developers looking to build and test applications and then get the finished code ready for sale. Canonical will select the applications to go on the site based on how useful they are, the level of support the creator offers, and the level of integration showed with other code.

Based on those criteria, it looks as though commercial software developers are more likely to be featured on the site, particularly as they have more resources to devote to an application. But David Planella, Ubuntu translations coordinator, tells The Register that the criteria are still evolving and that there was an ongoing debate within the Canonical about the issue. That said, the main goal of the site is clear: getting more apps sold.

“To get an application up for sale in the Software Centre, now you have to learn about packaging, and that’s really hard,” he said. “So we’re highlighting software like autopackagers on the site. You can go to MyApps, package it and get it into the Software Centre really easily – that’s going to be the focus.”

Developers selling their code have to set a minimum price of $2.99, and Canonical takes a 20 per cent cut from the cost in exchange for hosting and for processing the payments via pay.ubuntu.com. That’s lower the industry standard 30 per cent cut, although Chrome developers only have to pay a five per cent commission to Google.

Earlier this week, John Pugh, the chap responsible for business development of the Ubuntu Software Centre, told users that Canonical had big growth plans for the site, including software specials available exclusively for the OS by build 12.04 and setting up a book store section. ®

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