back to article Adobe cuddles up to Linux Foundation

Adobe Systems has climbed into bed with the open source developer community by joining the Linux Foundation. The software firm also announced today that it has released a pre-release alpha version of its Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) for rich web apps on Linux. "Adobe's decision to join the Linux Foundation is a natural …


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  1. Rob Beard

    Open Source

    If Adobe are so Open Source friendly now, maybe they could open up the sources of Flash or provide help to the Gnash project.

    Didn't think so.

    Still maybe something good will come out of it.


  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Do the licenses create or restrict freedom?

    Source code can come with a horrible license:

    "You saw it, you cannot un-see it. We will sue you for any software you create in future because we will argue that you could have based it on our software."

    There is a massive difference between open source, and free (as in freedom) software. Adobe are welcome to charge what they like for the software they create. I would only consider buying it if it came with a license that gave me the freedom to use it as I choose.

    I still remember Dmitry Sklyarov, so I am in no great hurry to examine Adobe's offering.

  3. Edward Pearson
    Thumb Up

    Go Adobe.

    This last year has showed us quite how canny an operator Adobe is. This latest move will should put the final nail in the Silverlight coffin.

    Microsofts refusal to nurture innovation, and insistence on using closed, proprietary technologies, is beginning to catch up with them.

    You reap what you sow, and Microsoft, over the years, have planted many a problem.

  4. Grant

    Photoshop for Linux

    "Adobe's decision to join the Linux Foundation is a natural extension of its commitment to open standards and open source, which demonstrates its leadership and foresight in the software industry,"

    So when will we be getting Photoshop for Linux then?

  5. Sean

    Linux support

    This can only be a good thing. Adobe is finally taking Linux seriously. They have always been way behinf in Linux Flash player on Linux but since version 9 have attempted to bring releases in line with Windows and Mac versions.

    They appear to be following suit with AIR.

    I have also come across another related tool - Shu, which I reckon will get lots more adoption of AIR, and if that means on Linux too, can only be a good thing.

  6. Tom Chiverton

    AIR source code

    You can develop AIR apps using the same open source SDK as Flex, but have to use a binary-only compiler to make and sign the special .air files.

  7. sleepy

    please don't pander to the megacorps . . .

    . . . by saying Adobe released a free version of Photoshop online. They offered an online service under the Photoshop brand, bearing little relation to their existing Photoshop product.

  8. Charles Manning

    @Edward Pearson

    From what I've seen, Silverlight is perfectly capable of nailing its own coffin shut from the inside. No help needed, but thanks for the offer.

  9. stizzleswick
    Thumb Up

    @Grant, et al.

    Actually, Photoshop for Windows runs fine on my Linux box through wine, with no noticeable performance impact.

    But I want to throw in my tuppence here.

    Unlike most other really big software vendors, Adobe has to my knowledge always maintained a relatively user-friendly and open-minded attitude -- as opposed to the likes of Mi¢ro$o£t, Macromedia or Quark (or SAP for that matter). I am one of those who still fondly remember using Photoshop 4.0 for Solaris and being awed by its performance (thanks for the SPARC III, Sun!).

    Adobe is the only major software house out there that seems to have hung on to the vision of its founders: to produce superior software for the customer (and, of course, make a lot of money with it. But that's everybody's vision, innit?). They have been rather reluctant during the last decade to develop for anything but Windows (used to be that their Mac releases were the development leaders; by the late 90s the Mac versions of their apps would lag up to half a year behind the Windows releases. By now, they release both simultaneously).

    But after a long delay in getting the next Adobe Reader out for Linux (they left out a few major releases), they seem to have realized that there _are_ Linux customers -- and maybe enough to make it worthwhile to actually develop more software for Linux.

    Don't hold your breath for a version of Photoshop that runs natively. Those who are willing to _pay_ for Photoshop and want to run it on Gnu/Linux are few and far between; my guess is that about 70 % of all installations of Photoshop currently in use are pirated. (Don't look at me; I'm fully registered.)

    Of course, Adobe is only going to consider developing anything commercial for paying customers. For many Linux users, the GIMP is good enough and then some; frankly, in a few places it outdoes Photoshop. For the other Adobe products, the situation is similar; Inkscape is a quite capable vector drawing application that in some places rivals Illustrator, for viewing PDF files I'd use anything _but_ Adobe Reader, web development solutions abound (and the more visual tools tend to write cleaner code than Dreamweaver or GoLive; most serious web developers use non-WYSYWIG editors anyway), and so on. I'd say only InDesign has no direct OpenSource rival, since Scribus is still somewhere in between PageMaker 5 and XPress 3.3.

    So, everything considered, I'd say I am looking forward to more software offers from Adobe for OpenSource OSs -- how about porting some of the Mac versions to BSD? Granted, the GUI bits would need some doing, but the actual back-end should be easy enough to port. And once they've gone that far, hey, POSIX, Linux would not be all that hard to do either.

    Just don't hold your breath, is all. If they're going to do it, it won't be this year or the next. My estimation is that they're doing AIR for Linux because lots of software developers use Linux, so it's a logical thing for Adobe to do at this time.

    Still, coming back to how Adobe is different from the other big ones: they actually do this thing. Don't expect anything like this to come from the company that dropped Minix in the mid-90s, or any of the other semi-monopolists.

    Disclaimer: I am not, have never been, and most likely never will be employed at or otherwise associated with Adobe Systems apart from participating in a few beta test programs in the 1990s.

  10. stizzleswick

    @Grant, et al.

    Before I get incinerated by those who know, please disregard my comment about Minix in my next-to-last paragraph; I got my Unices mixed up again -- sorry! I had meant to jab at Xenix and the late 80s...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    PS is the only reason I own Windows

    I've said this on countless photography forums, if Adobe committed themselves to Linux with the same zeal they've embraced Microsoft OS's, the only thing Microsoft would see from me is the vapor trail, abandoning a boat (not ship) of fools, their tin horn dictator and all the holes they need to patch in their latest monstrosity.

    While I don't actually cherish the thought, I would bite the bullet and pay for (again) a Linux based product.

  12. Enormous Cowturd

    "Cuddles up" - in a cynical attempt to suffocate.

    All the spheniscidine faithful want from Adobe is Photoshop for Linux. Can they have it? No chance! ...even though porting from OSX to Linux is probably trivial compared to the move from OS9 to X, or Windose for that matter.

    This is just a ruse to push some hot Air at the expense of Micro$haft's offering.

    Still, with the Gimp devs working to integrate GEGL, Photoshop will soon be obsolete anyway. ;-)

  13. Tim Bell


    "[...]otherwise associated with Adobe Systems apart from participating in a few beta test programs in the 1990s."

    Well said, sir. That beta program was a blessed source of brand new floppies, regularly delivered by mail for years. After a quick format they were ready to go.

  14. joe_bruin

    Halfassed, as always

    Adobe didn't have time for Linux until they saw that Microsoft was out to eat their lunch. Suddenly, the love spreads.

    And by supporting Linux, of course they mean i386 Linux only. Have no dreams of running anything they release on your ARM Linux handheld. Hell, they won't even recompile for AMD64 (still waiting for flash support there...).

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Why there won't be a Linux-native Photoshop in the near future

    There won't be a Linux-native in the near future or probably the mid-term for technical reasons as much as anything. Linux support for colour management is patchy at best. For Adobe to port Photoshop they're going to have to develop a whole load of colour management stuff that comes as standard on Windows or MacOS. @Enormous Cowturd - integrating GEGL in the Gimp still isn't going to fix the lack of colour management support in either the Gimp or Linux.

  16. Grant

    @ stizzleswick

    I was just having a little dig.

    PS runs fine on Crossover office as well but it would be nice to see a version on Linux, it would be nice for media houses to have a Mac alt other than Windows. I just think that it's another of those apps that would make people take a serious look at Linux.

  17. OSBob

    Linux Support

    "And by supporting Linux, of course they mean i386 Linux only. Have no dreams of running anything they release on your ARM Linux handheld. Hell, they won't even recompile for AMD64 (still waiting for flash support there...)."

    Well, pony up the dough and I'm sure they will oblige. Platform support will generally come at the request of big clients who want to use Flash or where there is a demonstrable market. I imagine most of their Linux resource is tied up working on AIR at the moment anyway, hence why the windowless mode bug has not yet been fixed.

    Since there is a workaround to run the 32 bit Flash version on a 64 bit OS (i.e. using a 32 bit browser or running through nspluginwrapper) I doubt it is as high priority as providing some level of support to all three platforms for the new desktop runtime. I expect that once we have AIR and the wysiwyg features in Flex Builder Linux, the Flash Player will get some love.

    Or maybe we'll have to wait for the Flash 10 rewrite before the tiny niggles are worked out, but either way it's pretty good considering that it's only a few shabby freetards who actually want this stuff. Like me.

    (oh, and ARM handheld? you'll be wanting to talk to the manufacturer of the device then.... if not Flash Lite, then a full Flash version can be implemented with the right $$$, a la Flash for MIPS on the PSP).

  18. stizzleswick

    Re:Why there won't be... and @Grant

    "[...]they're going to have to develop a whole load of colour management stuff[...]"

    Actually, all they'd have to do is point a small development team at or, both of which already have small groups working on colour management. They're slow because they lack some expertise, but experience shows that with some experienced specialized programmers added to any open-source project, it begins to move quickly. E.g., when Apple decided to use webkit for their browser, development accelerated quite noticeably after a few initial grumbles by the community development team.

    Heck, point them at KDE, where a few lone rangers try to get in colour management controls that can override or at least control the window server. For those who prefer to use Gnome, just run Gnome with kwm and you're there. Wherever you decide to hook up the colour management APIs, if it can be done on BSD/Mach (aka MacOS X), it can be done on Gnu/Linux, too, without too many hassles.

    @Grant: I agree, and I myself would love to see the complete Creative Suite natively on Linux. The biggest hassle would really be the GUI bits, because Aqua is not your everyday X. The libraries should be easy to port because all OSs involved are POSIX-friendly, and Adobe has a history of porting to Unices (anybody remember Illustrator for SGI Irix? FrameMaker, anybody? Though admittedly Adobe inherited the Unix versions of that when they bought Frame Technology). They've shown time and again that they can do it if they think enough money can be made from it. Maybe the decisions made by both Viva and R.O.M. Logicware to offer their DTP solutions (VivaDesigner and Papyrus, respectively; niche players both) on Linux may yet tickle Adobe into following suit.

  19. Enormous Cowturd

    RE: Why there won't be a Linux-native Photoshop in the near future

    "integrating GEGL in the Gimp still isn't going to fix the lack of colour management support in either the Gimp or Linux"

    What lack of colour management? Perhaps the FUD is a little out of date?

    @AC: Both The Gimp and GEGL already support colour management and there is a wealth of free and open colour management code available for Linux. Some light reading for your edification:

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