Android Market should stimulate Open Source Apps

As I mentioned a few days ago I bought a Nexus One and that the Android Market is something I like.

Android itself  built on Open Source software. Though many op the applications in the Android Market are free it is often not obvious if an application in Open Source or not. Sometimes a developer puts it in the description but it is difficult to find. Overall I think overall there are only few Open Source applications in the Market

Open Source Section

Since Android is built on Open Source I think Google should actually stimulate developers to make their applications Open Source. Open Source could have a specific section type like Paid and Free have now.

For Google this is also good because with open source multiple people can start contributing to apps such that they can improve faster. Furthermore people can start new projects by simply reusing open source code of other Open Source Android applications. All in all it will spur innovation and improve quality of applications and in the end that’s good for Google because the platform will become more popular.

Furthermore it fits in the Google policy that they stimulate Open Source.


Another nice addition would be that users can easily donate some money to authors of Open Source and Free applications. Mozilla added this possibility for their addons. I have donations setup for ReloadEvery and several times in a week I receive around $5 from people that want to show their gratitude. It’s not making me rich but it is a nice feeling that people actually find your software worth giving money for.

Or do you think it could work to have Open Source applications in the Paid section? Legally you can ask money for Open Source applications but I think probably pretty quick a clone would appear in the Free like in beer section of the Android Market.

Other Improvements for the Android Market

While I am at it here are some other ideas for improving the Android Market

  • Version Release Notes: Now when I get an update of an app I often don’t know what has changed because there are no version release notes. There is just a general description. Some authors write version release notes in there but most of them not. Also would be handy that the version number would be more visible on the page.
  • More than 2 screenshots: Currently there is a limitation that you can only add 2 screenshots for your application
  • Ability to add videos: Many people now like to watch videos to see how an application works
  • Better Web interface to the market: Sometimes it’s handier to sit behind your computer to find the app you need. Currently there is this website but it only lists a few applications. There is no search and the interface is a bit clunky.
  • Standard Android Apps also available market: Applications like Phone, Email, Messaging, Alarm Clock are part of the OS. It would be nice if they were available in the market. That way the OS and the apps could have different release cycles.