There has been a flurry of posts going around Twitter today about an Adobe Engineering asking Linux users to place requests for Creative Suite apps for Linux. While the geek in me thinks “Cool, they totally should!” The businessman in me says that this has no chance of ever getting of the ground.
Of course this sentiment is well challenged, but I just don’t believe that the Linux desktop community at large is willing to pay for software, especially software that costs between $1,300 and $2,600. Of course this is speaking from a sweeping generalization of Linux users, a broad stereotype, but one I think is well deserved and relatively accurate. Of course it’s not without exception, but come on…
Quick, hurry, name a company that has made big money selling desktop applications for Linux! What? You can’t think of one? Me either.
There is a reason for that, the market is as big as the audience is willing to spend and outside of big ticket apps like Massive or Maya (that benefit from big ass clusters that are just cost prohibitive to do with Windows or OS X), creative types live in paid OSes.
There are of course many many reasons:
- Adobe apps aren’t the only apps they need
- Support is important
- You use what the people you work with/for use
- The general population just doesn’t trust or “get” Linux.
I could rattle reasons off all day. The reality is that Linux as a desktop operating system is just not taken seriously. Sure if you rattle the cages of the most vocal 2% of the web you will get thousands of thousands of responses, but that doesn’t make any sort of statistically significant sample of the users that are willing to plunk down their plastic and pay $2,600 for an application.
That’s the thing with a lot of these guys, if you ask a loaded question like “Should Adobe release the Creative Suite for Linux?” you are going to get every Linux gearhead on the planet saying “Hell yea!” But if you were to ask for pre-orders, you’d probably get 100 if that.
I work for a big software company and the hard reality is that developing software is incredibly expensive. Adobe is not going to even consider something like this until there is a proven market for it.
You can talk all you want about being a leader or pioneer, but nobody wants to lead their company into the red.
I have current paid license for Adobe’s Creative Suite, Lightroom, ProTools, Logic Studio, Final Cut, Office, Windows, OS X, iWork… I pay for software. The honest to God truth is that if I could get ALL of that software at half price on Linux, I still wouldn’t do it. I regularly use Fedora, I have used Ubuntu, Debian and a dozen other Linux OSes over the years and they just don’t “feel” right.
I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for.” As much as I love to play with Linux, and wouldn’t look anywhere outside of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) for my Web Development projects, I wouldn’t even consider it on any of my machines as a desktop OS. I keep the latest flavors of Fedora and Ubuntu on a VM so I can see what they are up to and what’s new, but I’d never use it for real work.
Editor’s Note: As much as this probably seems like flame bait, I want Linux to improve and compete, and I think in time it can. The problem that it faces (and one that Ubuntu is uniquely positioned to solve) is that group development can only take you so far. You need a leader, you need to make changes that are for the good of the user, and you need to test against people who aren’t hardcore Linux users to see if you are succeeding or not. They are taking a great step in dumping Gnome. I would start to look even harder at taking out some of the cheesy apps that come bundled, and spend a whole release on polish. The core is there, it just doesn’t feel right.