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Adobe AIR, Ubuntu Brainstorm and Dream Weekend Hacks

Adobe AIR, Ubuntu Brainstorm and Dream Weekend Hacks

"There has been a general resistance to software on Linux that doesn't come with source code," explained Raven Zachary, senior analyst and open source practice head with the 451 Group. "But if we want Linux to grow as a desktop operating system, we need to encourage software developers who have to pay their mortgage to take part in developing that platform."

By Katherine Noyes
03/03/08 4:00 AM PT

It's the first week of March and Spring is on the horizon -- at least in name, if not in implementation.

So it seems appropriate, given the fresh breezes that are surely coming our way, that Adobe should announce that it is planning to port its AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) to Linux.

The Linux community has long wished Adobe would port many -- if not all -- of its products to the platform, and, coincidentally, the folks at LinuxHow2 just recently made that perfectly clear by drafting an open letter to Adobe on the topic.

By last week only about 10 readers had signed and added their comments to the petition, which will be sent in June; plenty of time left for those who want to add their voice!

'Where's Our Photoshop?'

Meanwhile, news of the upcoming AIR port was quickly picked up on Slashdot, where some 200 comments ensued.

"I've never taken AIR seriously because of the lack of support for developers on Linux," wrote Zarf. "Now, if they were going to enable running and developing AIR based applications on Linux then I might actually bother to take a look."

That Adobe's offerings for Linux would still be far from adequate, however, was also made amply clear.

"Where's our photoshop?" asked feld.

"It will be released as soon as they release 64-bit flash for Linux," quipped Lord Ender.

'A Significant Moment'

Still, "I think this is a significant moment for the Linux desktop," Raven Zachary, senior analyst and open source practice head with the 451 Group, told LinuxInsider.

"There has been a general resistance to software on Linux that doesn't come with source code," Zachary explained. "But if we want Linux to grow as a desktop operating system, we need to encourage software developers who have to pay their mortgage to take part in developing that platform.

"It's important because this is what desktop Linux means -- large vendors who want to release on Linux, but who are unwilling for a bunch of legitimate reasons to release the source code," Zachary added. "If Linux users want companies like Adobe to bring high-end applications to Linux on the desktop, there has to be a willingness to let a shareware and commercial software model thrive in the Linux community."

AIR will also allow for some "really elegant Web-oriented applications to be brought over to Linux," he said. "You'll see a whole bunch of new functionality make it to Linux."

Ubuntu Brainstorm

Perhaps even more exciting than Adobe's news, however, was the launch of Ubuntu Brainstorm, a place for the community to submit and vote on ideas for Ubuntu.

The site, which is based on a premise much like that behind Dell's IdeaStorm, drew a mix of enthusiasm and skepticism on the Linux blogs.

"IdeaStorm has been successful in bringing a number of changes to Dell products, including adding Ubuntu as a preinstalled option, so if it worked that well for a big company, chances are it will work even better for an open-source project," wrote Thomas Teisberg on the Linux Loop.

'Ubuntu 8: HomerCar'

"Kudos to Ubuntu, I wish them all luck with this initiative," agreed m94mni on Slashdot. "Dell's ideastorm has been a success because Dell has actually listened to the community there. Let's hope Canonical etc. has the resources to fulfill some of the wishes of the community."

On the other hand: "The problem is, while a person can be smart, the masses are stupid," wrote TheRealMindChild. "I am willing to bet if you were to follow the most popular ideas on this project, you'll end up with something that feels an awful lot like Windows."

Even more so: "This is superficially a good idea, until you realize that it's the slashdot crowd that will come out and vote on features," wrote inflamed. "Soon enough, Ubuntu will release its latest version and we will reap the harvest we have sown. Ubuntu 8: HomerCar."

'Pleasantly Surprised'

All joking aside, "I'm normally skeptical about public forums eliciting ideas, but I am pleasantly surprised with and hopeful about Ubuntu's latest effort to ask 'us,'" Slashdot blogger yagu told LinuxInsider. "They created a decent, clean, usable, and useful site that allows easy voting and quick context switching (most recent vs. most popular). In my opinion, the users providing suggestions appear to be a well-healed Unix crowd and are asking for things that really need fixing, things that are real thresholds to usability for average computer owners."

What's critical, however, is that Ubuntu designers and engineers follow through, added Monochrome Mentality blogger Kevin Dean.

"Now that Canonical has empowered users to voice their opinion, they've got the burden of acting on the voice of clients or risk losing them," Dean told LinuxInsider. "How well the voice of the non-paying community melds with the 'voices' of Canonical's for-money clients leads to some very interesting speculation indeed. :)"

Speaking of Ubuntu, here's another news flash: It was recently declared the desktop distro of the year in LinuxQuestions.org's 2007 Members Choice Awards. Other winners were Debian (server distro of the year) and KDE (desktop environment of the year). Don't forget to vote in next year's awards!

Dream Weekend Hacks

Finally, we can't resist calling readers' attention to a small poll of sorts that was recently announced by Red Hat's Greg DeKoenigsberg inviting Fedora fans to submit their dream "weekend hacks."

For example: "What would be really cool is a data migration tool that works along with the partition resizing support in Anaconda for Fedora 9 and automatically migrates all potential user data from Windows to Linux," responded rahulsundaram. "Combined with the Windows live image to USB tool, this would be a total killer."

Though Dean is a Debian user, the first "general" hack he'd like to tackle "would be a theme engine for QT that would allow it to render GTK widgets," he explained. "There's already the opposite (qt-gtk-engine) that makes GTK applications render using your current QT theme but nothing the other way around. Because of this, KDE can do a VERY nice integration of Gnome applications but KDE applications look horrifically out of place in Gnome applications."

It may be Monday, dear readers, but it's never too early to start planning your own weekend projects. Food for thought!


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