AN ENTERPRISING DEVELOPER has brought popular open source Office alternative, LibreOffice to the Windows Store. But buyer beware - it's important to know what you're getting into.
The developer, known only as '.net', has released a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version on a strictly unofficial basis and added in a fee for his/her trouble.
Yes, the free open-source suite costs $2.99 as a UWP. Technically, there's nothing wrong with that - a good lawyer could argue that by porting it, .net is a supporter. He's not charging for the software, he's charging a convenience fee for the port.
Some may buy that argument, but it retains much of the grey-area ethics that will give ambulance chasing lawyers an attack of the vapours.
There's more good news too. The 'free trial' is unlimited. Both in time length and scope/features, simply downloading the free version gives you the complete LibreOffice suite. Turns out that the $2.99 is meant to be a "buy me a coffee" type optional payment and what we're actually seeing is a crafty way of manipulating the App Store to offer a funding model that it doesn't do in the documentation.
So will it stay up? Anyone's guess. It's doubtful that LibreOffice will complain as long as the code of the UWP is the same. Microsoft may have something to say about the charges, but there's no sign of anything like that yet.
And who is .net? We have no idea. At the moment, no one does.
Maybe it's a sign that LibreOffice needs to come up with an official port to UWP. Maybe it's also a sign that Microsoft needs to come up with more diverse ways of funding apps placed in the App Store.
Or maybe it's a weird anomaly that will disappear and we'll forget it ever happened. Point being, get to the App Store sharpish if you want to take advantage before it does… whatever it ends up doing. μ
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