What are we to make of Adobe's Linux dance?
As Stephen Shankland reported early this morning, Adobe has quietly begun seeking a computer scientist to maintain open source projects, and a director of Linux market development.
take time to fill these positions. They could just represent the company hedging its bets on Linux. There has been no major commitment of funds, no announcement of a Linux version of Photoshop being in the works.
But as tech companies grow, reporters have to become Sinologists. We have to read the tea leaves, analyzing small moves for hints of big intentions.
And this could be big news.
Linux' path to the desktop has always been hampered by a shortage of desktop applications. Most standard applications are available, in some form, but the training and file re-formatting needed to make the switch remain daunting. For most shops, thoughts of Linux remain server-based.
But that could change if the applications that businesses use most often began migrating to Linux, even at prices competitive with PC versions. If retraining and re-formatting costs were reduced, the reduction in operating system costs could be borne. If the applications were simply placed on Linux servers, within the corporate network, they might not exist at all. IS departments could actually gain more management control that way, migrating applications to the network center, making clients (with all their hassles) Kate Moss thin.
This won't happen overnight. But no IS department makes changes overnight these days, either, even if to the casual observer everything is PC-based.
The best move, for now, might be to consider Linux graphics programs more closely. It wouldn't take an order to push Adobe in the right direction, just a hint of one.
The dance has begun. By taking the opportunity to poke around, you may find yourself leading it.