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Comments on: Navigating Palm's App Catalog Approval Process

Well known programmer and DNA lounge dude, jwz, has posted an interesting article on his dealings with Palm and their "Kafka-esque" application submission process. In short, Mr. Zawinski has had an unusual time simply figuring out how to go about listing two of his webOS freeware apps in the Catalog. He begins with an account of how it used to be, and goes into good bit of descriptive detail on all of the "hoops" he's had to navigate in order to legitimately distribute an application.

But taking a page from Apple's play-book, Palm has now decided that they have to be the one and only gate-keeper for all the software on your Palm Pre, in a way they never did on the Treo, Centro, or any of the earlier PDAs.

So if you, a developer, want to get your software into the hands of your customers, you have to beg and plead and wheedle Palm to distribute it for you.

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More like protection from middle men and malware.

CFreymarc @ 9/29/2009 10:35:31 AM # Q
While it is easy to complain about a sole distributor for software. The issue is two fold.

First, like Apple, Palm doesn't want malicious or "adult themed" software getting out on their platform. This could be a justification for not allowing third party native code outside of the inner circle of Sunnyvale and a few select nerd houses in Silicon Valley.

Second some independent, third party, hand-held app distribution houses were fleecing their developers on the early PDA platforms. At times, some distribution houses were taking as much as 65% of the retail price just for running a web server with a shopping cart and an office staff leaving the developer just getting by instead of thriving. All this did was feed a fat cat.

When the Apple app store was launched, Steve Jobs made sure that their 30% take of the retail price was projected on their huge video screen. That was a big slap in the face of these third-party distributors.

Palm, like Apple, is seeing that they need to have a distribution channel that lets the developer flourish and make sure that a middle man doesn't get away with the prize ham.

Overall, it is not just a good move but a survival move just to keep the sociopaths and suppressive middle man from getting in the way of prosperity.

RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
rmhurdman @ 9/29/2009 12:33:22 PM # Q
That may be true. That explains why there's a gatekeeper. But it doesn't explain the "kafka-esque approval process." If Palm wants people to write apps for them to distribute, they ought to make it easy to get it into the app store.

It has felt, ever since the CES preview, that Palm really only wants a few, big-name partners. It feels like they've completely turned their back on their (previously active) independent developer base.

RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
dserodio @ 9/29/2009 3:31:37 PM # Q
CFreymarc wrote:
First, like Apple, Palm doesn't want malicious or "adult themed" software getting out on their platform.

Why wouldn't they? adult content has done wonders for the adoption of lots of then-new technologies (VCR, Internet, broadband, etc.)...

RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Gekko @ 9/29/2009 4:00:19 PM # Q

more like kaka-esque.

tag closing
Tim Carroll @ 9/29/2009 5:45:16 PM # Q
Mind your HTML, people! Ryan gets angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry... :P
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 9/30/2009 12:51:07 AM # Q

Ha ha. Still didn't fix it. :-P

You know, if someone really wants to be irritating, they could make a mess of this place by purposefully leaving a lot of open tags all over.

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
nastebu @ 9/30/2009 3:22:24 AM # Q
dserodio wrote:
CFreymarc wrote:
First, like Apple, Palm doesn't want malicious or "adult themed" software getting out on their platform.


Why wouldn't they? adult content has done wonders for the adoption of lots of then-new technologies (VCR, Internet, broadband, etc.)...

Because if porn became widely available on Web OS it would become part of the brand image, and therefore skew away a big chunk of the buying public. Think of how everyone brings up fart apps when they want to diss the iPhone app store. Fart apps are a tiny percentage of the App Store catalog, but they loom large in the public imagination now. Replace fart apps with porn and the platform would be gravely damaged.

RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
pmjoe @ 9/30/2009 3:53:33 AM # Q
CFreymarc wrote:
First, like Apple, Palm doesn't want malicious or "adult themed" software getting out on their platform.

Oh please. Palm could set up an installation process that would warn people about known malicious software. If Palm wasn't distributing the adult app, who cares?

Second some independent, third party, hand-held app distribution houses were fleecing their developers on the early PDA platforms. At times, some distribution houses were taking as much as 65% of the retail price just for running a web server with a shopping cart and an office staff leaving the developer just getting by instead of thriving. All this did was feed a fat cat.

When the Apple app store was launched, Steve Jobs made sure that their 30% take of the retail price was projected on their huge video screen. That was a big slap in the face of these third-party distributors.


Get real. When I used to use Palm OS devices, I always made sure I went straight to the author's website to buy an app, to make sure the author got 100%. Last I looked at some 3rd party mobile app sites, they were charging in the low 20's percent-wise.

It costs me virtually nothing as a software developer to post an app (especially a free one) for distribution. I don't need a damn app store. I don't need/want to give anyone $$$ or publicity for MY WORK.


Palm, like Apple, is seeing that they need to have a distribution channel that lets the developer flourish and make sure that a middle man doesn't get away with the prize ham.

Overall, it is not just a good move but a survival move just to keep the sociopaths and suppressive middle man from getting in the way of prosperity.


Complete BS. Maybe it's good for Palm's prosperity. Do you work for Palm???

RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 9/30/2009 7:21:29 AM # Q

(Just curious at this point. Did that work?)

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 9/30/2009 7:22:04 AM # Q
Yep. Do I get brownie points?

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 9/30/2009 7:24:37 AM # Q
And Tim, let this be a warning to you. Now that I know how to turn it off, I know how to turn it on too. Mess with me, and suffer the consequences! :-P

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 9/30/2009 7:34:29 AM # Q
Then again, for the right price I might be willing to let you in on my little secret. Nothing fancy, just an quad shot, low fat, honey orange venti latte. What you say?

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 9/30/2009 7:39:10 AM # Q
DANG! Ryan came back and really fixed it before I got my cup of coffee. What a jerk! He could have let me have a little fun with Tim before ruining everything! ;-)

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Tim Carroll @ 9/30/2009 1:29:10 PM # Q
(cries) I'm not your plaything! (sobs)
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Gekko @ 9/30/2009 2:50:01 PM # Q

do you ever sleep?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Tim Carroll @ 9/30/2009 3:08:22 PM # M Q
not lately......
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Gekko @ 9/30/2009 3:12:27 PM # Q

is that rash still bothering you? have you seen a doctor yet?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Tim Carroll @ 9/30/2009 4:31:33 PM # M Q
you should know, Lizard-man - you gave it to me...
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Gekko @ 9/30/2009 5:39:35 PM # Q

no sir - not even by six degrees of separation. i'm a few time zones away and the last Aussie chick i met out was a little too big for my tastes. she was definitely looking for some action though - but she looked like she had just ate a kangaroo or something.

you probably caught it from one of those homely chicks i saw on your facebook page. put some medicated cream on it hopefully it'll go away.

RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
Tim Carroll @ 9/30/2009 6:47:12 PM # M Q
Facebook? are you stalking me? Do I need to put up the speedo pic again?
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
nastebu @ 10/1/2009 12:17:10 AM # Q
if it's the hot sister in a speedo, let's see that one.
RE: More like protection from middle men and malware.
twrock @ 10/1/2009 3:52:28 AM # Q
Tim Carroll wrote:
Do I need to put up the speedo pic again?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

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YMMV

metaview @ 9/29/2009 12:49:54 PM # Q
For me it was quite a smooth process, but ymmv.
Reply to this comment

To be blunt...

Tim Carroll @ 9/29/2009 1:46:39 PM # Q
...the guy sounds like a bit of a dick. As I posted in another thread...

Ben Galbraith (new developer relations guy) tweets this to the developer:

http://twitter.com/bgalbs/statuses/4455651650

Who then replies:

http://twitter.com/jwz/status/4455819770

How diplomatic of him. With an attitude like that, no wonder he's having trouble.

RE: To be blunt...
dserodio @ 9/29/2009 3:28:01 PM # Q
RE: To be blunt...
Gekko @ 9/29/2009 4:02:25 PM # Q

Chuq treats you like shit?
RE: To be blunt...
Tim Carroll @ 9/29/2009 5:40:05 PM # Q
Heh. That issue was resolved (see http://www.palminfocenter.com/comments/6714/#154768) but even if it hadn't been, I wouldn't refuse to speak on it any further like some two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.

Dealing with any corporation is a slow, painful beaurecratic process. The differences are in how accessible are the people behind the red tape - in this case, he has an invitation to speak directly with someone who probably has the power to make stuff happen, and he refuses it? Crazy.

RE: To be blunt...
Gekko @ 9/29/2009 6:06:46 PM # Q

no i hold a grudge and plot my revenge.
RE: To be blunt...
Tim Carroll @ 9/29/2009 6:46:45 PM # M Q
RE: To be blunt...
Gekko @ 9/29/2009 7:18:20 PM # Q
Reply to this comment

Much ado about not much

bhartman34 @ 9/29/2009 9:05:39 PM # Q

I have mixed emotions about this.

jwz has been great in the homebrew community. I've got a couple of his apps on my Pre myself. But the problem is, it's their App Catalog. They decide how people submit their apps. The good news is they don't seem to be rejecting any apps at the moment. The problems seem to be with apps not getting approved quickly enough.

Some of this also comes down to the old rivalry (of sorts) that's been going on between the device manufacturers and the devs. Both sides seem to want to think it's all about them. Unfortunately for the developers, it's the manufacturers who have the devices. They also have developers on their payrolls.

Bottom line, I think, is that it pays to be polite to the people whose platform you want to host your app.

From what I've seen, though, it's simply untrue (at this point, anyway) that Palm is holding anyone hostage. Plenty of people install homebrew apps. If Palm really wanted to, they could crush that. People talk about "rooting" the Pre, but the process of getting admin control over your device is pretty much built into it. It's not some iPhone jailbreak process. Again, if they didn't want people to do it, they could simply shut the ability down.

My point is this: If you don't want to deal with the App Catalog, distribute through the homebrew community. It's not going to rip a hole in the fabric of space-time or anything.

RE: Much ado about not much
cstamper @ 9/30/2009 5:14:19 AM # Q

Ok, just put a closing /i tag. Hopefully the italics are gone?

Poorly designed website, that what you get for using IIS. ;-)

RE: Much ado about not much
cstamper @ 9/30/2009 5:15:34 AM # Q
Stupid thing... :-(
RE: Much ado about not much
bhartman34 @ 9/30/2009 5:36:59 AM # Q

cstamper wrote:

Ok, just put a closing /i tag. Hopefully the italics are gone?

Poorly designed website, that what you get for using IIS. ;-)

I tried with a closing tag in my post. No such luck! :(

RE: Much ado about not much
Tim Carroll @ 9/30/2009 6:55:06 AM # Q
Heh, I tried one riiiiight above you both. still failed. ryan must be road tripping or something...
RE: Much ado about not much
BaalthazaaR @ 9/30/2009 7:01:05 AM # Q
Yeah IIS sux. Get a real web server.
RE: Much ado about not much
Ryan @ 9/30/2009 7:30:16 AM # Q
yeah no one knows how much IIS server sucks than someone who has had to admin one for 10+ years. I also use apache/centos on other stuff, so I really know. ...

Anywho, that's a story for another day... The unclosed tag issue is started by user error, but there is some odd CSS behavior (go figure) that continues it through the rest of the page.

Reply to this comment

I agree

Dr.Sid @ 10/2/2009 11:34:56 AM # Q
As an author of several older Palm OS applications (www.questions.cz) I say the SDK should be free, and there should be easy way to distribute the software. And it should be unedited.

They could do approval process, but that should only mark applications as approved.

Malicious software will find it's way around there obstructions. Porn is media, not applications (that much) so they would not block it like this. Also the idea that it would harm Palm is funny. Is Windows Mobile porn platform ?

Tell me, who will invest time and money into application with a possibility it will be impossible to sell ? I tell you .. not me.

As for turning their back at developers .. they have turned their back at whole Europe so far, so I'm not surprised.

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