Why popular app developers ignore GNU/Linux

Many of my friends and relatives ask my opinion before they buy computer. Whenever they ask my advice, I usually ask them about their requirements. Most of them just require internet browsing, document preparation, listen to music, watch movies and so on. I suggest them GNU/Linux as the Operating System. I explain them GNU/Linux is FREE, it has in-built military grade security, it is simple and intuitive and so on. However after a day or two they definitely call me up and ask, “Hey, will Photoshop work in that system, Tally…, what about Autocad?” I tell them “Nope. No Photoshop, but GIMP works. Not Tally, but Kmymoney works”.

A common question and very common answer. But the history of this question dates back for decades since GNU/Linux landed to the computing planet. Now Gnu/Linux has evolved. Evolved to a full grown OS. Right now, it’s a feature rich OS. Smart. Secure. Stable. With uncountable distributions worldwide.

However why does most of the popular app developers ignore it still? Why do they hesitate to port their popular products to Gnu / Linux? Adobe Photoshop / Creative Suite is the most popular and industry standard tool for art directors.

Take the example of Adobe. Adobe Creative Suite contains a bunch of power tools for image manipulation, vector editing, html editing and flash content generation and so on. GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Programme) – the free and open source counterpart – is still in its infancy stage. When asked about porting to GNU/Linux, Adobe’s stand always is dubious. Every time their stand is that there is no profit in Linux porting. They always argue that very few Linux users are willing to pay for commercial software. This argument is without any documentary research back up. Photoshop’s codebase has a long history of over two decades. it is written mostly in C++ which is very portable. To justify their stand to do nothing on Linux porting, they tend to usually blame that Linux still lacks standards for color management, fonts, driver issues and so and so 🙂

Another justification is that most Linux users have already paid for Photoshop on a different OS, so they are not willing to purchase another.  If all the potential users have already purchased Adobe products, is everything over? Is their business over? So why do they release patches and updated versions and encourage repeated purchase? Take the case of Ubuntu? It has a built-in software download centre in the OS. Aprox 25 Million users are available at once with the purchase section of the software center in Ubuntu alone. If we take other distros, numbers will be a lot more.  Is Adobe corporation not considering this? Adobe’s stand always is not digestible in a customer care point of view, though few points are valid in a commercial angle, those valid points are of market risk, which is applicable to all products in a competitive market.

Adobe and Tux

Not only Adobe, a line of other app developers are lined up behind. Corel Corporation, Autodesk are some among the corporate giants in the line. These major corporates also repeating the same blah blah what Adobe is arguing against GNU/Linux – all they say is that there is no marketing potential in Linux porting.

It is obvious that Adobe / Autodesk / Corel can easily port their products to any OS at anytime. Market is not an issue. Generating hype, ad campaigns are not a stumbling block for them. Still they do not do anything on Linux porting. Why? The answer to this question is still in debate. Might they have some undisclosed tie-ups with some corporate giants who fear the dominance of Linux? May be not, but their stand always makes us think so!


12 thoughts on “Why popular app developers ignore GNU/Linux

  1. That’s great. saju george got what I meant inside the post beyond the words. Ok. It would have been a conspiracy theory stuff, if I mention about that in the post.

  2. I think there has been many signs within the last year that Linux is finally regarded as a serious platform for commercial software. One big change was the coming of Steam, not just for gaming, but as a symbolic investment in Linux. Another was the Lightworks video editing software. Third was the coming of Tracktion, first commercial port of a digital audio workstation. Another one is coming later this year, Bitwig Studio. But everything’s mainly targeted for Ubuntu. The fragmentation of Linux is still a big problem. But still, I’m finally optimistic about the future of Linux & commercial software!

    I, personally, don’t miss Photoshop, but I guess no graphic designer will never seriously consider Linux before it’s ported, it’s such a de facto standard.

  3. @Heikki. I personally know some techy art-directors. Those guys really want to move on to GNU/Linux platform, but they cannot avoid Adobe CS. They keep on Mac / Windows, only because of Adobe CS. Here is a link from the adobe forum – http://forums.adobe.com/thread/487814 People really want such Applications inside GNU/Linux, unless it is available, they won’t switch to Linux. Additionally pre-installs will likely to be increased if such popular apps ported to GNU/Linux.

  4. My opinion on why this is the case:
    No common installer for all distros.
    Porting native Windows GUIs (i.e. apps that don’t natively use WX/QT/etc.) to X is a pain. Personally I think X itself is a pain, but that’s just me.

    • Also follow this link too: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/487814
      The true reasons may be something else. It may not be the difficulty of porting, this reason or that reason. There are some top level marketing strategies, such as controlling the market, controlling the users and so on. If they wish to port it, they can, it is not a BIG thing as we think.

    • Sean Francis Nierva Ballais, I heard about that recently, somewhere in a mailing list post. That was a very interesting thread. I think, situations will change soon; it should be. GNU/Linux is apparently turn into a favorite platform for the popular app developers in near future. But I think Maya for Gnu/Linux is available now is for educational purpose only – it is not a pro version. (At the same time we should not forget that still OpenSCAD has lots of pro users and admirers.)

      • hackingtom : Things are NOW changing. Leadwerks is creating a Linux port of their 3D engine. Valve has games up and running in Linux. And drivers are streaming in to Linux. For 3D Modelling tools, Blender 3D is enough to compete in the market.

  5. Sean Francis Nierva Ballais, Great news. Change is inevitable. We should appreciate such movements in the market. Let more small / less-popular apps come to the G/L platform. Giant / popular apps will follow their path.

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