Would Linux help Adobe pummel Microsoft?

Adobe has a chance to create a custom Linux desktop for its users, but the world may not be ready for a single-purpose PC that focuses on creative applications alone.

Tech Culture

Columnist John Dvorak thinks that Adobe Systems has a Microsoft problem and that Linux provides a clear solution:

Adobe could port its Creative Suite...to Linux as a shot across Redmond's bow. Then the company should embrace Linux in-house and develop a complete, optimized Linux OS designed to run a high-performance version of its Creative Suite on Linux optimized for Adobe products, to be sold as a bootable bundle for multicore-workstation hardware.

The idea is to produce a near-dedicated Adobe computer designed to use all the power of the newest chips to run the Adobe software under Linux. Having complete control of a high-powered OS would make all of the performance-demanding Adobe software run rings around any other implementation, if engineered correctly. It would become the viable desktop alternative to both the PC and the Mac.

It's not a bad idea, though I'm not sure the world is ready to move to single-purpose PCs, at least not those that focus on creative applications to the exclusion of e-mail, Web browsing, etc.

Yes, Dvorak notes that all of these applications can be had on the Linux desktop. Applications like Firefox work as well on Linux as on the Mac or Windows. But I think I'd take Dvorak's suggestion one step further: perhaps Adobe should band together with Google (or Yahoo) in a desktop partnership to bring the best of the Web and creativity applications together. Adobe and Google may butt heads in some areas, but they are the respective leaders in their markets and could find compelling reasons to work together to unseat Microsoft.

His vision of an Adobe-centric Linux desktop has potential, but it has a much better chance of succeeding if it managed to marry Adobe to a great Web brand like Google. Google has an equal interest in tying its bits down into a desktop, and Linux provides an ideal, open platform.


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