Based upon these comments, I think I can safely say that tialaramex is not a frequent user of a mobile device with a touch interface.
The _vast_ majority of iPhone apps are basically analogous to web pages, not Debian applications.
Imagine if there were debian packages like view-lwn-kinda-like-a-web-browser.deb and view-phoronix-sorta-like-a-web-browser.deb would you be more impressed and believe Debian was going to explode in popularity? Or would you think its developers had gone crazy? For Debian thousands of worthless packages is a cost, so they’re against it. For Apple every “Hello, world” app is money in the bank.
First of all, he provides no statistics whatsoever. Just how many iOS apps are glorified versions of web pages? There is no doubt that such apps exist, but how many? And what exactly counts as a glorified web page? YouTube has video editing now, so does that make the upcoming iMovie app a glorified web page?
We may not know exactly how many, but it is clear that many iOS applications are indeed web pages. In fact, many of them are literally web pages. They create an app that consists of a full-screen Safari frame that is set to load a specific web page. While these apps may exist, how many downloads do you think they get? You won’t find any such apps featured in the store, and we know that discovery is a huge problem. I highly doubt such apps are purchased frequently.
Now, you may try to suggest that some apps like Facebook, New York Times or ESPN ScoreCenter are the glorified web pages that are installed frequently. Well, those apps are all free of charge. They also all provide significant functionality above and beyond what can be done with a web site, even though they offer the same content.
Yes, they are optimized for a touch interface, which is very important, but their web sites are also optimized for mobile Safari, so the app doesn’t provide a huge benefit there. Where they do provide a huge benefit is in things like caching. The New York Times app will download and cache articles so that you may read them if you lose signal. The ESPN app will give you notifications of the status of your favorite teams, without using costly text messages. These are things that web pages can not do. They are also things you don’t need to do on a PC.
If you’re sitting at a computer with Debian, you likely have a guaranteed reliable and fast Internet connection. You also have a large screen and mouse and keyboard. You don’t need the computer to grab your attention because it isn’t dormant inside of your pocket. You don’t need to radically modify the user interface of a web site because it was built for the interface that you’re already using. The value of facebook.deb is very small compared to facebook.com in Firefox. The value of facebook app on iOS is huge because it has many things that facebook.com in Mobile Safari lacks.
Even if we stick just with the desktop computer, and forget mobile devices, you can see how stupid this argument is. Think of a site like meebo.com. It’s a complete instant messaging suite. I guess Pidgin is just view-meebo-kinda-like-a-web-browser.deb. I guess Debian should remove any and all .debs which duplicate functionality of web pages. Seeing as how people have even written browsers that run in browsers, I wouldn’t go there if I were you. Someone will make the Linux Kernel run in a browser, if they haven’t already, and then where will you be?