Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


Reckoning with new app store changes: Is now our chance?

Recent legal and policy developments around app stores and what they mean for free software

In 2022, we saw growing concerns around app stores as run by Apple, Google, and Microsoft -- and meaningful legislative and regulatory interest. The concerns came from many different directions, including privacy, antitrust, gatekeeping decisions, and platform exclusivity.

I'll discuss this recent activity with a focus on how it all has impacted or may impact user freedom. I'll survey the responses we've seen from free software projects and organizations, and share insights about current app store terms in relation to free software licenses (especially copyleft), and alternative models of distribution like F-Droid.

This will lead to an assessment of what this all means for the future -- are there opportunities for the free software movement to get more involved in influencing ongoing policy conversations that could dramatically impact our future, and our ability to get free software into the hands of users?


Photo of John Sullivan John Sullivan