Support for Linux

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-03-03 Print this article Print

You mentioned support for Linux with AIR. Can you expand on the importance of Linux for you guys and where you're headed with it?

The more diversity in operating systems, the better off Adobe is, because we make software that runs across operating systems. Whether that's Reader and PDF or it's Flash Player and AIR, one of the things that people really like about the software we make is that it works really well regardless of which OS you have.

Even going back to the early days of PDF, it was like, which word processor do you have? You used to have to have the same word processor to read a document, but with PDF it worked across them all. That's our expertise as a company.

So Linux adds more diversity; that's good. And I think if you look at how the economics are changing for software, then Linux is free and AIR is free, and the value's really now in the applications and services that are provided on top of those things.

So I think it's perhaps time for Linux to get used by more people. But it's really going to be whether the user experience is going to be good enough to enable that to happen. Part of that's the Linux OS itself and part of that's the applications on top. With the applications on top, I think we can really help with AIR and bring a lot of applications to Linux where people developing those apps will not even expect that they will run on Linux, but it will just work because it's running on AIR.

Who is better at designer/developer workflow, Microsoft or Adobe? Do you concede that to them?

No. I think that the workflow between designers and developers is very important, and we've realized that for a long time. The history of Adobe is about teams working together to create great things. And if you look even at the early days of multimedia or CD-ROM authoring, that was developers and designers working together to create these experiences. And designing tools to enable those groups to work together is tricky and we've been doing it for a long time.

Now with rich Internet applications, we've got the Creative Suite tools, which are the leading design tools in the world. We've got PhotoShop and DreamWeaver and Illustrator and all kinds of great tools in there, and that's what the design community is primarily using right now. And we've got out now Flex and the FlexBuilder tooling and developer tools, and the software already works together.

For example, you can, as a designer, use Illustrator to draw a skin for your application and you can actually import that skin in FlexBuilder as part of your application development process. So we're gluing together these applications in ways already to help these teams work together effectively.

I think it's a really important problem to solve and it's one we've been focused on for a long time and do great at. And we're leveraging the fact that designers already are really attracted to the tools that we currently make. I think it's a hard road to get those folks attracted to something else.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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