November 3, 2004

Adobe flirts with Linux, but not for the desktop

Author: Joe Barr

CNET's News.com and ZDnet ran a news story today about Adobe and Linux. It appears that Adobe is advertising for Linux-related positions: one as director of Linux marketing and another for a senior software architect for an Adobe open source project. NewsForge contacted Adobe for additional information and was given the opportunity to speak with Pam Dezieo, Director of Product Marketing for Acrobat, about those ads and the Adobe view of the Linux market.

Barr: Why in the world is Adobe looking for people with Linux skills?

Dezieo: Well, we in fact have Linux products in the market today. We have a reader version for Linux, and our LiveCycle products, in our Intelligent Document Business Unit, support Red Hat and SUSE Linux as well.

Barr: So I can go to CompUSA next week and pick up a copy of Photoshop for Linux?

Dezieo: No, but I can give you a free Acrobat Reader.

Barr: Thanks, I have several already. I use it quite a bit. PDF is a very handy format for open exchange of documents.

Dezieo: Yes, it's a great bridge between the Linux platform and some of the other systems that you might encounter along the way.

Barr: So the ads are really out there to just support existing Adobe products?

Dezieo: That's right.

Barr: Well, that's disappointing. Do you have any news to tell me about Adobe looking more carefully at the Linux market?

Dezieo: Where we see the commercial opportunity right now is on the server side. And we are planning to update the Linux reader, which is currently at version 5.0, whereas the other platforms are at 6. So we're working on updating the reader to integrate with our server products. Other than that, not a lot of exciting new development.

Barr: For Mac OS X, you do support other products, do you not?

Dezieo: Yes, we have graphics products, our Creative Suite products, digital video products, as well as Acrobat for Mac OS X.

Barr: The reason I ask is that it's not a very far step at all to port from Mac OS X to Linux. And I'm wondering if it's because of IPR (forgive me, Stallman) or other reasons that you're not interested in making that step.

Dezieo: Well, the biggest obstacle at this point is just the commercial business opportunities for the products in that space.

Barr: Do you have any marketing deals with Microsoft that prevent you from doing anything for Linux on the desktop?

Dezieo: We don't have, the only thing that is an obstacle at this point is
the market and business opportunities. It is a market that we do support on the server side and we're keeping our eye on the desktop side, but we don't have anything specific to tell you about at this time.

Conclusion:

So the good news is that there may be a couple of more Linux jobs out there, and Adobe thinks Linux servers might be a profitable place for some of their products. For those who only use Linux on the desktop, we're still waiting our turn.

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