Raspberry Pi Gets its Own App Store
As we've reported on several occasions, the diminutive $25/$35 Linux computer dubbed Raspberry Pi is attracting developers and tinkerers, and showing up in multiple types of use cases. The tiny devices have already drawn interest from educational system and technology industry leaders, and there is even a supercomputer constructed with Lego pieces and multiple Raspberry Pi boards (part of which is shown here). Now, though, the Raspberry Pi has what could really make it relevant to a larger audience: it's own app store.
The Pi Store can be accessed either directly through the Raspbian operating system or through a browser, and will be open to community contributions of applications, videos, games and projects built with Scratch, a popular visual tool for on-the-fly Pi applications.
According to the app store announcement:
"Today, together with our friends at IndieCity and Velocix, we’re launching the Pi Store to make it easier for developers of all ages to share their games, applications, tools and tutorials with the rest of the community...The store runs as an X application under Raspbian, and allows users to download content, and to upload their own content for moderation and release. At launch, we have 23 free titles in the store, ranging from utilities like LibreOffice and Asterisk to classic games like Freeciv and OpenTTD and Raspberry Pi exclusive Iridium Rising. We also have one piece of commercial content: the excellent Storm in a Teacup from Cobra Mobile."
The Raspberry Pi team will begin by encouraging winners of their Summer Programming Contest to upload their entries to the store. If you put a project up on the store, you can choose whether to make it free or paid. The store has a "tip jar" mechanism, so even if you’re not charging you may get some donations. The store's announcement adds: "As well as submitting your own projects (and there are tools in there to help you get started, like free sprite packages for budding games developers), you can help us out by reviewing and rating the stuff you download. The Pi Store has a recommendation engine which is tailored to you and your preferences, so the more you review, the better the recommendations we’ll be able to offer you (and other users) will be."
This looks like a move in the right direction for Raspberry Pi, which emerged as a surprise open source success story this year. To truly succeed, hardware platforms are always dependent on attractive applications, and the Pi store looks poised to offer some.