Re: Improving the Linux Ecosystem From Within

19 Jun

Writing this blog post as a reply to this one – it’s worth a read. I’m going to comment specifically on this paragraph:

I think what these reveals is that, When we make the applications on the Linux ecosystem rock. (The Amarok, the Gimp, The Libreoffice etc) More people would find reason to use and stick to Linux on the desktop, when they see a reason to use Linux, The ecosystem would increase to a point where even the big application vendors might take notice and decide that the Linux ecosystem is perhaps worth giving a try. Even if it doesn’t turn out like this. Then at least we would have applications which are comparable (if not better) than the alternatives in other platforms.

This feels like quite the contradiction to me. I’ve always been firmly of the belief that Adobe hasn’t ported Photoshop to Linux because we have our own ecosystem already.

If you’re creating graphics, you likely already have the Gimp and Inkscape installed. If you do a lot of painting, you may also have Krita installed. If Adobe were to move into the Linux market, they would already have to compete against these three and more, other applications to get any real market share or profit, and the applications we have created already have two strong unique selling points that Adobe would have a hard time beating: they’re free, and they integrate very well with the system (meaning not just the toolkit but also the use of the repository system for updates, for example).

A similar story can be told of video editors. Sure, none of the one’s we’ve created are quite finished yet (I personally have my eye on KDenLive), but we have ~3-5 different video editors we can install straight from the Software Centre (or other repository systems/package managers), and any attempt to enter this market would have to compete with these existing video editors.

The reason Adobe is still around to make Photoshop at all is because Photoshop has become the de-facto image editor of the industry, and of the Windows world. The Adobe suite on Windows is their cash cow, and it is the go-to solution for many companies and individuals for image editing, website design and video editing. However, on Linux, Adobe would face pretty fierce competition for a relatively small number of sales. What we have done to attract them to the Linux platform is very little, and what we have done to deter them is a whole lot.

The same can be said of twitter clients, office suites and the like – Ubuntu comes with a Twitter/Facebook client built-in, with pretty notifications and good integration with the system. It also comes with a free Office suite. In terms of software, we have a very, very wide ecosystem, from electronics to Lego, making it difficult for many companies to sell software in a traditional brick-‘n’-mortar style to Linux users. I believe it’s for this reason, most of what you can buy for Linux has been reduced to online services (Dropbox, Ubuntu One) and games (Humble Indie Bundle, mostly Inidie games to be fair). And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t consider that to be an entirely bad thing.

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2 Responses to “Re: Improving the Linux Ecosystem From Within”

  1. Kim Josefsen June 19, 2011 at 13:47 #

    TBH that’s not true. For average consumers GIMP, Scribus and Kdenlive might be fine. If you’re working professionally with anything LibreOffice, GIMP and Scribus lacks functionality. The same applies to krita and InkScape. They are mighty fine for desktop users but for professional users they haven’t got the features they need. Especially The GIMP is limited.

    • the Madman June 19, 2011 at 14:01 #

      Arguing about whether Photoshop is better than the Gimp or what-have-you is missing the point – the point is that their functionality overlaps, and that a lot of users that would install e.g. Microsoft Office or Photoshop will be content to use LibreOffice/The Gimp instead, which will in turn reduce sales.

      And don’t pretend there are no artists (professional or hobbyist) on Linux using the Gimp, Inkscape and Krita in place of Photoshop. There are plenty, and in entering the Linux market Adobe would be competing directly with these free image editing suites whether you, as an individual, think they’re worse or not.

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