Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why software vendors want to support Linux

Having taken a look at how hardware vendors may benefit in the near future from adopting GNU/Linux, I will now show why some software vendors should also do this.

Adobe is in the process of buying Macromedia. Some observers have surmised that this is because they can better withstand the pressure that will be put on them by Longhorn's technologies. Specifically, it seems that Microsoft will use the technology shipped with Longhorn to support Metro (an XML-based fixed document format) and Sparkle (Microsoft's answer to Flash; Metro, similarly, is a rival to PDF). Longhorn is thus a less fruitful platform for Adobe/Macromedia to develop for - Mac OS X is much friendlier in this respect. While Adobe and Macromedia stand to benefit from Apple's growing hardware market share, they must compete on the PC platform. The sweet thing about Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is that it ships with sophisticated graphics functions built efficiently into the OS. In this way, Apple has done some of the work for Adobe and Macromedia, and is sharing the secret - Apple thrives on its innovative developer community!

So how can Adobe get the same advantage on the PC? With Linux! Linux gives software vendors the chance to influence OS development - the same functionality that Mac OS X provides with respect to graphics, could be implemented on Linux. In fact, most of the technology is there - it just needs consolidation, something that hackers are prone to neglect, and that can be difficult due to the large number of competing projects with similar objectives. I believe Adobe would be a very welcome directional force.

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