Adobe Launches Linux-Compatible Reader

Adobe Systems today launched its free Adobe Reader 7.0 for the Linux operating system, allowing users to view and print content published in PDF format. Novell and Red Hat applauded the move, but analysts said not to expect heavy Linux investments from Adobe going forward.

Adobe Reader 7.0 joins Adobe LiveCycle software on Linux designed to help organizations extend the reach of their core applications with intelligent documents. The Adobe Intelligent Document Platform gives organizations the ability to create and integrate documents that can be accessed and interacted with through the ubiquitous Adobe Reader.

“The rate of adoption of the Linux operating system among enterprises worldwide — especially among government and financial services organizations — is increasing,” said Eugene Lee, vice president of product marketing, Intelligent Documents Business Unit at Adobe. “Our customers were asking for Adobe Reader 7.0 on Linux as they begin to support core enterprise applications at the desktop.”

The Linux Opportunity

The Linux desktop market is growing steadily, with IDC projecting a 16 percent compound annual growth rate through 2007. That’s still only about 6 percent of the market share, but enough to get Adobe’s attention.

Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg told LinuxInsider that the announcement underscores the notion that Adobe wants PDF documents to be accessible on many different platforms.

“Adobe has released its Reader for Palm, Symbian and Pocket PC devices,” he said. “This is part to the same goal — to extend the reach of the PDF format to as many operating systems as possible.”

Following the Profits

“The money on the Acrobat side of the equation comes from those people that are creating the documents. Providing those people with more platforms where their documents can be read is a good thing for Adobe’s core customer base,” Gartner said.

Nevertheless, analysts don’t expect Linux to become a major focus for Adobe. Investing in Linux-friendly core productivity products is unlikely, Gartenberg said.

We aren’t any more likely to see Adobe release a version of Photoshop for Linux than for Palm because it’s simply not profitable, he concluded.

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