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March 30, 2017

What Adobe’s Embrace of Linux Could Mean

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

I tolerate computers. I barely tolerate computer companies. Today the choices are rather thin, but I continue to purchase a Macintosh as my design computer and use a PC for writing, programming, and other more traditional computer tasks. That is, until I can run my productivity software under Linux.

Back in the 1980s, I used my PC to write and the Mac for illustrations. The Mac also featured my favorite outlining software, Acta. (This is before outlining became a feature in Word.)

In the late 1980s, I switched from the Mac to the NeXT computer, which hosted Adobe Illustrator. It was my graphics computer. Then, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and NeXT Computer died, I used a (then) beefy PC for graphics. But by the early 2000s, I switched back to the Mac and haven’t left since. But, O, how I’ve wanted to leave!

Apple is now a mobile device company. According to Figure 1, Mac sales have been flat for a decade. They aren’t even the biggest chunk of the pie (or line chart). That honor has been held by the iPhone for a while.

Figure 1. Mac quarter-to-quarter sales as of 2016.
(Click to embiggen.)

Ask any professional Mac user, and you hear disappointment with what was once the best hardware for graphics professionals. Apple lost the video/film production market when they stupidified their popular Final Cut Pro software. And the fact that a new Mac desktop model hasn’t appeared in years is effectively the company telling design professionals that Apple really doesn’t care.

For me, the key is Adobe software. I subscribe to the Creative Cloud, which gives me access to all of Adobe’s software for an annual fee. It ain’t cheap, but it’s commensurate with the upgrade costs over the year. And it’s the only reason I still use a Mac.

I’m not alone in my desire to flee Apple hardware and software. So many design professionals have requested that Adobe port its Creative Cloud to Linux that the support forum for answering that question has closed. For the meantime, the Adobe company line is that they’re working on it.

When Adobe offers Creative Cloud on Linux, then adios Apple. I won’t be the only one to flee, either. My guess is that Apple will lose its entire professional base over time. That probably won’t bother Apple CEO Tim Cook; based on his lackluster performance, I think he’d be happy to eject the Macintosh from Apple’s hardware line up. Great. Let them become a jewelry company instead. That seems to be what they want.

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