I feel ambivalent about this announcement to which The H links. It uncomfortably echoes the approval process exercised by Apple for its mobile distribution channel. I am sure that discomfort is a function of my ignorance of the existing process, though. Even though Jono Bacon highlights the goal of more proven, high quality applications in Ubuntu’s software center, it would be far from the draconian and monolithic system used by Apple. That particular goal is tempered by the stated desire to make the process for getting apps into Ubuntu’s repo easier and more accessible.
To be even more fair, none of this would have any impact on the ability of developers to utilizes services like Launchpad, to manually build their own compatible packages that play nicely with the underlying package manager, or to offer source for compilation. Actually, in looking this over, using a PPA appears to be a pre-requisite anyway. I have a handful of these easy to use, one off software sources in my package manager configuration so I think this leaves, and even encourages, plenty of room for independent distribution.
I think this experiment is more about the default experience of discovering new software most beginning users will see. Exercising some editorial discretion is maybe not such a bad idea, especially given Ubuntu’s focus on the desktop and ease of use. I certainly have seen more than one new Linux user turned off by the bewildering variety of applications and the lack of consistent guidance on which ones might best fit their needs. Heck, I’ve fallen prey to that myself, installing two or three applications in a class I rarely use and sort of banging my way into the most usable, most actively maintained one.