The Mac App store was launched almost 3 months ago. Outside of it being hacked within the day and allowing for free apps, will users really care? In principle, I like the idea of having a centralized location where I can install my apps. Unfortunately, the immediate failure of the App Store is that it does not recognize the apps already installed on my Mac and its missing a whole bunch of apps that I have on my machine indicating that the list currently is not exhaustive.
Fortunately for Mac users there other viable alternatives such as MacUpdate Desktop, AppFresh and Bodega. I used all 3 applications side-by-side for a few weeks just to try things out. I really liked the UI for Bodega – it was very intuitive and user friendly. AppFresh was the one that I had the most hopes of being successful because I am a huge fan of crowd-sourced information and AppFresh leverages information from IUseThis. Unfortunately for me, I found that there were quite a lot of duplicate entries and it didn’t end up being as useful as I had hoped it would be. MacUpdate is a paid service for long term use but I find myself liking this the most.
On a side note, long before the iPhone app store was the existence of apt-get and the Canonical repositories for Ubuntu. There are a couple of things that I felt that apt-get did right but the biggest one is the ability to point to different repositories. The reason why this is a big win for me is that it allows multiple ways of keeping the repository updated. Commercial App Stores are great for commercial uses – pretty obvious statement, I’m sure. However, there are more and more great open source and free software that are just waiting to be discovered.