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Google funds Photoshop-on-Linux work

The search giant is sponsoring work to help Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, other software run on Linux via the Wine software layer.

Google is funding work to ensure the Windows version of Adobe Systems' Photoshop and other Creative Suite software can run on Linux computers.

For the project, Google is funding programmers at CodeWeavers, a company whose open-source Wine software lets Windows software run on Linux. Wine is a compatibility layer that intercepts a program's Windows commands and converts them to instructions for the Linux kernel and its graphics subsystem.

"We hired CodeWeavers to make Photoshop CS and CS2 work better under Wine," Dan Kegel, of Google's software engineering team and the Wine 1.0 release manager, said on Google's open-source blog. "Photoshop is one of those applications that desktop Linux users are constantly clamoring for, and we're happy to say they work pretty well now...We look forward to further improvements in this area."

Google already uses Wine for the Linux version of its Picasa software for editing, tagging, and uploading photos. Photoshop is a larger and more complicated package, however, not to mention updated to version CS3 for nearly a year, so it's likely the CodeWeavers programmers will have a lot of work on their hands.

A survey by desktop Linux advocate Novell found Photoshop is the top non-Linux application that Linux users would like to have. Although Adobe has dipped its toes into the desktop Linux waters, so far it hasn't made any major moves.

And with current technology trends, maybe Adobe never will see the need for Linux ports. With virtualization software from companies such as Parallels and VMware and improving support from chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices and Intel, it's getting easier to run multiple operating systems on the same computer.

(Via Matthew Aslett of The 451 Group.)