Ubuntu 12.04 is for App Developers

Ubuntu 12.04, the Precise Pangolin, is scheduled to be released in a little over a week.  This is a very exciting release for us, not only is it an LTS release with 5 years of support, but it also brings some major improvements to Unity and other areas of the desktop.  It’s also going to see a very big focus on independent application developers.

Developers, Developers, Developers!

During the last six months we’ve spent a lot of time building tools and documentation for app developers.  In September of 2011 we launched the Ubuntu Developer Portal, a site dedicated to helping application developers target the Ubuntu platform, and for getting their applications distributed through Ubuntu.

The developer portal provides all the information an app developer needs to write apps for Ubuntu.  It will get you started with tools like Quickly, tell you what languages, toolkits and IDEs are available, and introduce you to the tools and workflows that make developing for Ubuntu a joy.

Once your app is ready, the Developer Portal will walk you through packaging it and submitting it to be published in the Ubuntu Software Center.  The MyApps section lets you upload and manage all your applications, provide branding and screenshots, and set your purchase price.

Going Native

In the past couple of months we’ve added extensive documentation on Unity integration, which allows your application to become part of the desktop experience.  The Unity APIs give your application a presence in multiple areas of the desktop, letting you to add extra information to the Launcher, indicators in the panel, search results in the Dash and more.

All about the Apps

Everybody knows that “Apps” are the big thing now.  No longer relegated to tablets and smartphones, “App Stores” are coming to both major proprietary desktop operating systems as well.  The Ubuntu Software Center already supports independent free and paid app downloads, and with 12.04 we want to grow that segment exponentially.

Not only do we provide a rich platform for app developers to target, we also have the means of delivering those apps directly to over 12 million users worldwide.  With Unity, your app isn’t just visible in the Ubuntu Software Center, but we put it right in the Dash!  Your app will show up whenever the user searches their system for something similar, giving it a level of visibility that no other platform offers.

Join the conversation

Developing applications for Ubuntu doesn’t have to be something you do in isolation.  Having a strong community is an important aspect in today’s software market, and Ubuntu provides you with the tools for collaborating with the existing Ubuntu user community and for growing a strong user community around your own application.    These users can help grow your app by add translations, identify bugs, and even submitting patches.

We’re also building a vibrant community of app developers, and we want you to be a part of that.  Learn tips and tricks from other app developers, share your own expertise and build professional connections.  Here you will also find a number of Ubuntu and Canonical developers who will take your suggestions and feedback for making app development on Ubuntu even better.

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11 Responses to Ubuntu 12.04 is for App Developers

  1. Trevor Williams says:

    Out of those 12 million users, how many have credit card numbers associated with their accounts? In other words, how many people are likely to pay for an app on the Ubuntu Software Center?

    • Bèr Kessels says:

      Interesting question, though I doubt Canonical will answer that here.

      Though, for developers who want to sell their application, some really simple guesstimation might convince you to start (porting) today.

      * There are 36460 “items” (in my) software center. That includes libs and dev stuff.
      * Canonical estimates about 12 milion users of Ubuntu[1] in 2010.
      * This is about 1, to 2% of all computer users. According to several unreliable sources.
      * Amount of windows and mac applications is unknown, but a small investigation with apt, learns me that nearly all the packages are GPL and hence “theoretical portable” to windows or mac. Lets assume that only 1/3rd is actually usefull and ported or portable to other OSes: on a mac or on Windows you get 36460/3 PLUS all the windows and mac-only applications. It is unknown how many applications there are for sale, freeware and free on these platforms, but it is safe to say that it is *at least* that one-third of the apt-packages plus several hundreds of thousands. If not much more.

      So, by developing your application for the 98% of Windows or Mac users, you have much more potential users, but the competition is a gigantic amount higher.

      The chance that you, when investing some, develop, say, a killer gmail-reader for Linux/Ubuntu is 100%. The chance you do the same for Mac or Windows is very much lower. You will be competing against already established applications such as, say, sparrow. In other words: it is hard to make “a better sparrow” and convince the sparrow-users to switch. But it is easy to make “a better Ubuntu sparrow”, since there simply is none.

      The chance that Random Ubuntu user Ulf bumps into your application is a large factor higher then that Random Windows user Willem sees it.

      When only 1% of the Ubuntu users buy your application for $9.99 (the price of , say, Sparrow), you have already made over a million Dollar.

      Now, it would indeed be very interesting to see if 1%-of-the-users buying is realistic.

      [1]: http://ostatic.com/blog/canonical-announces-12-million-ubuntu-users-google-makes-a-comeback

      • Jo-Erlend Schinstad says:

        «by developing your application for the 98% of Windows or Mac users, you have much more potential users»

        You don’t make money selling software to percentages. Your money comes from users. If you develop on Ubuntu, you have your tools ready for you, easily and free of charge. That doesn’t stop you from developing for Windows and OS X as well.

        You shouldn’t develop apps for operating systems. You should develop them for people.

      • ydk2 says:

        Och in China , Windows is baned, like Apple iPhone, default OS is Ubuntu for now. Look producents everyware Windows but not in China there is Ubuntu. China is bether insted USA for sell Apps, and Linux user pay not hack like Apple or Windows users. Look torrents Linux software is mostly legal.
        But my App in Apple store not sel , but users hack as well, in Ubuntu it is the opposite.

  2. smilepiper says:

    Will my pay games appear in more than just Ubuntu or should I try to get them on a site like dotdeb.com if I want exposure across all distros.

  3. Monte Cristo says:

    Ubuntu will have to distinguish itself by providing a marketplace that hosts high-quality apps, both in design, functionality and presentation.

    “Linux” apps you can find today via the Dash are rich in functionality, but totally lack in design and presentation.
    And, yes, sure, it’s shallow to point the finger at icons of the 8-bit era and GUI tool-kits that go back to X11, but there is an aesthetic aspect to apps that has become very important to most paying customers, in the same way industrial design has become as important as hardware components.

    The day I see the Ubuntu Software Center glitter as I see the Mac App Store glitter, I will know that the promised land has been found…because we will have the perfect combination of open source-based richness of functionality and reliability with appealing UIs.

    • Lestibournes says:

      Ubuntu should move all the “low quality” apps to Univrse and all the “high quality” apps to main. “high quality” means something that looks good and is useful, stable, secure, integrates well with Ubuntu, and follows Ubuntu standards. “low quality” is something that lacks in even just one of those areas. Games that use an old-fashioned style (or old games) can still qualify as “high quality” if the look works for them, but games that look bad would be classified as “low quality” regardless of style.

      Once this is done, Universe should be disabled by default.

      The MyApps portal should only accept “high quality” submissions. Alternatively, it could allow “low quality” apps to be included, but disable them by default. “low quality” apps could still be allowed in the “high quality” listing if they provide “necessary” functionality.

      This would allow the USC to still be the one-stop-shop for all Ubuntu software while maintaining a high standard and by default only presenting the best available software to the user.

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  7. Aaryadev says:

    Great info , i was using windows 7 and tired of its updates , antivirus , hangs etc first i installed to Ubuntu 11.04 then 11.10 now no hanging , no virus , no re installing OS every 2-5 months , more its free no need to pay .

    the main thing is Less Driver issue ( only with my acer aspire one mic), on desk its just runs smooth. with steam i am able to play more Games too :)

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