Must-have Applications

In this forum and on other sites, I am often told that until PhotoShop is on GNU/Linux, GNU/Linux will never amount to much on the desktop. That is a load of tripe. My mother was fond of tripe but it offended me…

From Adobe’s latest annual report we see that Adobe had revenue of just over $3billion from “product”, that is licensing fees for their products which include Photoshop. 350 million PCs shipped in 2010 so this revenue amounts to $9 per PC. Looking at their licensing fees which start at $0 for Air and Flashplayer to $600 for things like CS5. There is a maze of prices in there but PhotoShop shows for $700.

Let’s do some mathematics. The most licences of PhotoShop that they could have sold for $700 in $3billion in revenue is a little over 4 million licences. Even if all Adobe sold were licences for “Elements” for consumers at $70, we are talking about no more than 40 million licences/PCs.

So, cut out the talk of PhotoShop being a determining factor. It might be a determining factor in 10% of purchasing decisions and no more. My brief exposure to PhotoShop was not fun. It did no more for me than I could do with Gimp for $0 and ImageMagick for $0. Debian GNU/Linux has 480 packages containing the “works-with::image” tag and 360 in “Section: graphics“. The value just is not there for most of us for Photoshop and the FLOSS alternatives work.

The same could be said for lots of the other must-have applications. Those who must have them are in a niche. On the other hand almost everyone needs stuff that comes for free in many distributions of GNU/Linux and many of us need no more than that. If you are in such a deep hole that you need multiple must-have applications that prevent you from using FLOSS, perhaps you should quit digging and climb out. In recent years I have met many people who have used nothing beyond the office suite and the browser. FLOSS has several of both.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in technology. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Must-have Applications

  1. It is quite possible to develop an app that runs on all GNU/Linux distros. Somewhere there is a command shell based on BASH, so a simple “Hello World.” thing should run. Of course there could be an exception but I have never met one after using about a dozen distros. There are hundreds…

    Once you get to a GUI all bets are off but even then a high-level language like Java is pretty portable by design.

  2. Ray says:

    Agreed, with one small problem: You can’t develop an app that runs on all Linux Distros. Even if you have a built-in VM in them 🙁

  3. OK. So you have a concept and decide to write some application. Hunting around for libraries takes some time but it is likely similar for FLOSS or non-free libraries. Paying for the the licence with money earned by spending time/effort doing something is time lost. Further, because the licence of FLOSS permits examination/modification, if you find something close to what you need, you can easily make it meet your needs by modification rather than having to reinvent the wheel. Further, “giving back” changes means upstream takes care of the code and distributing it, a great convenience.

    Selling licences is only one way a developer can earn money. FLOSS is often supported by large outfits who find it cheaper to hire developers than to pay licensing fees. It is supply and demand determining the price of licences. Really, if it take $1billion to develop some software the world is far better off to hire a few hundred or a few thousand programmers to create the software and to share it than to pay $billions in licensing fees. It is just more efficient to use FLOSS. If you think your application will have only a few hundred buyers of licences so that you must charge a high price per licence, perhaps the programme is not worth creating. The world does not owe M$ or its partners a living just because they are working together to rip off the world charging $100 per licence when the world can create the equivalent software for perhaps $20 a seat. Monopoly permits the overcharge. Choice eliminates it.

  4. oldman says:

    “FLOSS offers a lot: rapid software development, simpler/easier licensing terms, lower cost, better performance, less malware etc.”

    All of these “values” are extremely subjective Pog.

    “Rapid software development” Bushwah Pog. the tools available in the FOSS environment are so primitive in comparison to what is available commercially as to be laughable.

    “Simpler/Easier Licensing Terms and free” Yess FOSS is free but you get to give up your software and all your hard work in turn. I’ll pay for library licenses and keep my code thank you.

    “less malware” Malware can be dealt with Pog far more easily than the list of functionality can be.

    Microsoft and vendors building on Microsoft OS’s have EARNED my money Pog time and time again. In contrast, I have yet to find a FOSS application (outside of Firefox and Thunderbird) whose limitations I didn’t need to work around.

  5. FLOSS offers a lot: rapid software development, simpler/easier licensing terms, lower cost, better performance, less malware etc.

    Many have chosen to run FLOSS and the community is growing rapidly. I was reading today the IT spending is of the order of $1.53 trillion annually. M$ alone takes about $0.06 trillion, 4% of that. What are they doing to earn that? Printing licences largely. A lot of the $1.53 trillion is totally unnecessary if FLOSS were more widely used: anti-malware, licensing fees, re-re-reboots etc. Lots of folks spend 50% or less on IT because they use FLOSS. Hardware remains useful longer. Fewer visits need to be made to desktops. So, using FLOSS, folks can afford more IT and more people can afford IT. FLOSS is good for people. FLOSS is also good for business. Look at the impact of FLOSS on smart-thingies. That’s huge and FLOSS helped bring things to market much faster at lower cost.

  6. oldman says:

    “If you are in such a deep hole that you need multiple must-have applications that prevent you from using FLOSS, perhaps you should quit digging and climb out.”

    This of course assumes that those of use using commercial software ARE in a deep hole and feel the need to climb out. Nothing you have said does anything near the job of advancing the case that FOSS has something better to offer.

    The simple fact that you seem determined to ignore is that a large number of computer users simply have no interest in running FOSS on a Linux desktop, especially when it runs quite well on windows. and with the advent of virtual machine technology, those who wish to run Linux can do so, as I do, as a virtual machine under windows.

    It actually runs a lot better that way BTW.

  7. nightgoblin says:

    For best results when running Photoshop on Linux use latest stable Wine available and an older version of Photoshop (usually one version older than current).

  8. JairJy says:

    I agree, Linux doesn’t need Photoshop to raise on the desktop.

    But if not is because Photoshop, there must be a reason why Linux hasn’t raised its marketshare. And is Usability. Even if you can use Wine to run Photoshop, even if there are a lot of packages for Linux, that’s doesn’t mean that Linux is easier to use.

    Even people prefer to pay for a Mac instead to using linux… there must be a reason.

  9. Good point. I have used Wine with mixed results but I know a lot of effort has been put into this way of running PS on GNU/Linux. One can also connect to a machine remotely although I don’t know what Adobe’s licence says about that.

  10. Dann says:

    How many times must people mention this FUD? (Not referring to you, Robert)

    Photoshop is ON LINUX ALREADY.

    Disney / Pixar switched from Apple PC’s to GNU/Linux running Photoshop on Crossover Professional TO SAVE MONEY.

    $40 tax for a crossover pro license sure beats a $150 Windows tax for inferior performance, or a $400 dollar Apple tax for a same-spec machine.

    I can run photoshop on Linux. This is a non-issue and has been since Adobe CS2.

  11. Richard Chapman says:

    Good points Robert. For those who use PS in their work and have paid $0 for it, it’s not a MUST have. I’ll be interested in hearing the counter points, if there are any.

  12. Ray says:

    Well GIMP could improve it’s user interface, it’s very inconsistant.

  13. Bender says:

    It is the same as with Windows systems, everyone talks about it, half of them have it pirated. In case of PhotoShop it is used mainly as an attack tool as if people MUST use PhotoShop yet all they do with this tool is fix their photos to post them on facebook 🙂 The same thing can be completed for free with GIMP/Krita/etc. but Photoshop is also used as an excuse for being lazy (lack of willingness to learn new tool) and also one comes up that it is a commercial and non free so it must be good 🙂 Pretty stupid if you think about it 🙂

Leave a Reply