Ubuntu wants Adobe, even if Apple doesn't

I recently suggested that, given Apple and Adobe's growing war over iPad and iPhone applications, it would make sense for Adobe to move not only its end-user applications, but its Creative Suite development stack, to Linux. While I don't know if Adobe is considering it, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, would welcome Adobe.

Canonical marketing manager Gerry Carr told me that "in a recent survey we did of the Ubuntu User base where we got 32,000 plus responses, Adobe Photoshop as a potential application for Ubuntu got a 3.52 rating out of 5 being the second most popular potential app after Skype."

That doesn't come as any surprise to me. Photoshop has long topped the list of most wanted proprietary programs on Linux users' wish list. You may be wondering why this is so since Linux already has GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program), which is also a very strong image editing program.

There are several reasons. The first is that Photoshop users tend to be Photoshop users first and foremost: the operating system is secondary. Another reason is that there's an entire software eco-system of Photoshop add-on programs that serious Photoshop users expect to have at their beck and call. Last but not least, there are major differences between Photoshop's MDI (Multiple Document Interface) and GIMP's SDI (Single Document Interface). While GIMP will add support for SDI in GIMP 2.8, in the meantime, moving from Photoshop to GIMP as your primary image-editing platform is very difficult.

Carr added, "More interestingly 12000 people gave suggestions for apps we had not suggested. The Adobe family of products featured far and away beyond apps from any other vendor by an enormous margin. So, empirically, there will be a very welcome home for Adobe of they chose to [move to Linux, no matter] whatever individual comments might say.

"We've been very pleased with the quality of Flash on Linux in recent months," Carr said, "and are very happy to make it available direct to users through the partner repositories. Our relationship with Adobe is getting better and broader. Whether what [you're] suggesting makes sense for Adobe though is a question for Adobe. I am sure they will want to support all the platforms that have sufficient users for their products and we think Ubuntu at least is one of those."

Finally, for those who think that Adobe would never ever leave Apple: please read the news. Apple's the one that's trying to keep Adobe software and its developers off Apple's hardware. If Apple would give Adobe some slack, Adobe personnel wouldn't be telling Apple to go screw themselves; Adobe wouldn't be considering suing Apple, and you'd be watching Flash video on your iPad right now.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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