Idea: Decentralised Free Software Marketplace

I am sure something like this has been suggested before, but hear me out:

Imagine something like F-Droid, OpenBazaar, Itch.io or GOG.com - but for Free Software

Developers sign up and either commit a portion of their sales and/or pay a monthly fee,
This grants them a membership in the Co-op (which includes a profit share),
Developer (members) have access to the source code of all the software in the stores.

Consumers/Users create an account and are now able to search, browse and purchase precompiled binaries / one-click installers of the various Free Software programs available across all the stores,
Users can request developer access to get to the source code of any programs that interest them,
Registered users could potentially have an option to compile the software from sources themselves without having to purchase the program.

It is decentralised and federated, meaning that anyone can self-host a marketplace, and anyone who signs up at one of these can search, browse and purchase software from all the other marketplaces.

Each marketplace is its own co-op (not suggesting that all the devs from these stores are all members in one giant co-op, unless that is actually a better way to go), however the various marketplaces could themselves in turn be members in a larger co-operative organisation, although you would want to avoid the potential for the centralisation of control and power.

Only software which conforms to The Four Freedoms is allowed (not sure how to do this in a federated space, but perhaps users and developers can report software that they feel violates any of these, which could then be examined or audited).

Would probably require some innovative thinking around things like: “Federated Identity”, different national currencies (and payment processing) or digital currencies (the ideal would be to trade without involving banks at all) and possibly even a solution for Federated GIT or some form of federated version control & development (so that devs from different marketplaces can share and collaborate on code).

Just a thought.

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This might be a place to start: https://github.com/redecentralize/alternative-internet

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Hi!

I think it’s a good idea.

At Fiqus we developed something similar: a site to showcase the public repositories of software cooperatives in order to make available the free software solutions created in the sector so that they can be reused by those who need them. In this way, if you are a software development cooperative and you have to develop something from scratch, you can first check if any other cooperative in another part of the world has already built a free solution and you can reuse it.

This is the site: https://coophub.io/

It is very oriented to repositories, so maybe it is necessary to continue working in order to show the solutions in a more friendly way, with some search engine to find what you are looking for (something that we try to solve partially with the use of tags). The site is also free software, so if anyone wants to contribute to improve the usability, is more than welcome.

All the best,

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This is excellent.

This could also be used for hardware designs, and as it’s run by a co-operative, the users won’t have to worry about the behaviour that stopped Thingiverse being usable. :smiley:

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